Nostalgia keeps owner maintaining barn

CYLINDER – Linus Solberg keeps himself plenty busy farming, selling seed, being a Palo Alto County Supervisor and keeping up three acreages along 510th Avenue near Cylinder – each of which have barns.

It’s a barn on the place just south of where he currently lives that holds the most known history to him. It was constructed in the early 1930s to the best of his knowledge, and is the barn where he spent his childhood years.

“The hay track still works,” he said. “In fact, we still pull bales up off the hay racks with it, and we still use forks in the straw and hay upstairs.”

Solberg said his parents, Irvin and Clarise, milked 10 cows in the barn during the 1940s, and cared for calves and sheep in it.

When he got old enough to show purebred Shorthorn calves as a member of the Fairfield 4-H Club during the 1950s, the calves were kept them in there, and others in a nearby horse barn that sat just east of the livestock barn. All that remains of the horse barn is its foundation.

Solberg said the hay mow saw “a lot of hay and straw over the years,” since much of their land was in hay and pasture.

“We put up enough hay to fill both of the barns here,” he said.

Solberg said the gable-roof barn has been shingled twice – once with wood shingles and then asphalt. The final layer was a steel roof five or six years ago, he said.

Solberg said he has worked to keep the barn in good shape, even though the barn continues to age.

He has placed reinforcement rods and lumber in it to prevent sagging and keep it as strong as possible.

He said the weight of the hay over years caused the sagging.

“We had a lot of hay all those years,” he said, “and we filled up the hay mow every year.”

The barn features a walk door in the center front, with three cement steps that go down to the main floor of the barn.

The floor plan is divided into three large, long pens, with a feed storage room and small work area just to the right inside the walk door.

Solberg remembered keeping the bulls, calves, Holsteins and young stock in certain areas of the barn as he grew up.

It features clay block construction from the foundation to the roof line.

Solberg said that during the 1930s, the people who lived there before his family, saw their house burn down.

While the new house was being built (the house that exists today), the family lived in the barn. While they were living there, a baby girl was born.

Solberg has his own childhood memories of the barn.

“When I was 3 or 4 years old, I had a new baby calf that I wanted to see,” Solberg said. “I must have scared him because I remember that he butted me pretty good – gave me a pretty good toss.”

Solberg has maintained the three acreages, including the barns, he said, more for sentimental reasons than anything.

“I know that if I have them they will be taken care of,” he said, adding that the cost of keeping it all up is beginning to be cost prohibitive.

Solberg, who once sold boars for a living, now keeps a few sheep and a good crop of cats in that barn.