Big red barn travels to a new home
By Lindsey Corell

On the corner of Prestien Drive and Mills Street in Denver, the original house that belonged to the Prestien family still stands. For around 70 years or longer, a red barn has stood next to it to remind the town of Denver of the farm that once was so prominent to the community. In mid-June, the barn was relocated to a new home in Iowa to be a part of a new history.

In 1908, the Prestien homestead was built. Many generations of the Prestien family had called the house home. The house was originally on the Southwest corner of Prestien Drive and Mills Street and faced north, but was moved to the Northwest corner in the late summer of 1968 by James Prestien and his wife Donna. They moved the house to face towards the east side of town. They had lived in the house since 1957. In 1969, Alton and Sharon Midthus purchased the home, moving from Waterloo. As children, they both grew up on farms.

“When Sharon and I moved to Denver, we were reminded that we weren’t in the big city anymore,” said Alton. “It felt like we were back out on the farm. When we came to look at the house, it was sitting on a new basement, mud everywhere and no sidewalks. We painted the house a dark red to match the barn next to it.”

Alton believes the barn, located north of the house, was built around 1950 due to the modern lumber that it was built with. The Midthus family used the barn mainly for storage purposes. They lived in the house until 1990.

From 1990 to 1998 the house and barn were owned by two different families.

In 1998, the property was sold to Dave and Wendy Mohlis. Since then, it has been home to them and their two grown sons, Nick and Mitchell. Over the years, they made many improvements to the house. The barn, besides touching up the paint and replacing windows, remained the same.

“I grew up on a farm,” said Wendy. “I had a barn growing up and it burned down by a strike of lightning. I finally had a barn again when we moved here.”

Like the Midthus family, the Mohlis family used the barn mainly for storage.

For nostalgic reasons, Wendy wanted to keep the barn. Dave, however, for years was ready for a modern building. Wendy finally decided that Dave could get his wish and they decided to sell the barn.

Wendy put an ad on Facebook Marketplace about the barn. She had several inquiries, but many of them did not know how they were going to be able to move it.

After seeing the ad on Facebook Marketplace, Matt Hoversten from Alden, Iowa contacted Wendy about the barn. Hoversten came to Denver to look over the barn and decided that he wanted to purchase it. Hoversten once moved houses for a living and had the equipment needed to move the barn.

Before moving day, Hoversten traveled the one-hour and 15 minute drive from Alden to Denver several times to find a route that would be best to move the barn. He had to measure under bridges and power lines to make sure the barn could fit underneath when passing under them. Holversten also had to get county permits to be able to travel on county roads.
On Saturday, June 13, Holversten, along with many helpers, started taking the barn down. The barn was cut around three to four feet from the bottom so it would be easier to move. The panels from the barn were stacked and placed on a trailer.

The next day, on June 14, Holversten left Denver at 5 AM to take the barn to its new location in Hardin county. He will be using the barn to house a cow and other animals.

The Mohlis family plans to keep in touch with Holversten so they can see what the barn looks like in its new location.

“The barn always took me back to my childhood,” said Wendy. “It brought out the farm-girl that is still in me.”

Although the barn is no longer in its original location, it will always have ties to Denver and the story of the Prestien farm will continue for a new family and community.
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