Some Amish have a neat thing they do when they need to move a structure like a pole barn. They marshall the community’s arms and legs and, deploying a bit of sweat and maybe a few tears, they simply pick up the structure in unison and carry it to wherever it needs to be. We’ve seen this in video versions on several occasions.
Now, columnist Randy Evans describes how such a barn move went down in the community at Bloomfield, Iowa (Davis County). What I really liked about this account is that Randy gives us the hard numbers, more-or-less, involved in the move (many of which I’ve already given away in the title of this post). Here’s a nice excerpt on the move via nwestiowa.com:
Traveling by horse-and-buggy may not be your cup of tea. Forgoing electricity might not ring your bell. But the Amish people of Davis County taught all of us a wonderful lesson this month when it came time to move a large barn on a farm west of Bloomfield.
The lessons were not the finer points of building construction or engineering, although the barn-moving project was fascinating. The barn is 40 feet wide, 80 feet long and stands 18 feet tall at the sidewalls.
Owner Freeman Beachy estimates the structure weighs 10 tons. He has a new house and wanted the barn closer to the new location to shelter his horses, buggies and hay.
That new location is about 900 feet from where the barn had been standing. That distance is the length of three football fields.
Amish ingenuity was put to the test when the mover Beachy lined up was not going to be able to get to the job as quickly as the Davis County farmer wanted. So, Beachy put the word out to families in a dozen Amish churches across southern Iowa that he needed help.
About 300 volunteers were lined up, literally and figuratively, to lift the barn in unison and walk it about one-fifth of a mile to the waiting foundation.
The herculean task took about 20 minutes. Then, with the barn securely in place, the sweaty laborers gathered inside to offer a song of thanks the project had gone safely. The song this 300-voice Amish choir chose for their impromptu thanksgiving was in the spirit of the event — the German song, “Gott ist die Liebe,” or “God is Love.”
He then goes on to describe the meal waiting for the movers – comprising “500 hot sandwiches and 32 gallons of cold dessert”, thanks to the hard work of women in the community. It turns out a few English were among the movers as well.
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of these sorts of stories. Unfortunately there is no footage of the move (there is one photo), but in lieu of that, you can check out this barn move from 2020 which took place in Wisconsin: