Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Town’s Loss

Good morning! Today I am joining Susan over at A Southern Daydreamer for her “Outdoor Wednesday” post.  Feel free to join us as each of us share the wonder, beauty, and awe of both Mother Nature and man.

One week ago today, horrific storms blew through the Kansas City metro area.  Around 11:30 PM on the evening of May 12, Mother Nature unleashed her fury.  While the jury is still out (waiting on The National Weather Center’s final confirmation) as to whether damage was caused by a microburst, straight line winds, or a tornado the end result was the same…


utter destruction of this historic, preserved barn.



As the local media descended upon our little one-stoplight town on the outskirts of Kansas City, the pain and loss of this historic landmark was evident in the owner’s eyes.  (Those blue skies can hold such power and fury!)

Lucia's Birthday Party 015

Lucia's Birthday Party 017

Lucia's Birthday Party 031

A little over one year ago (April of 2009) I shot the above three photos showing the beauty and effort of this piece of Kansas history and Americana preserved.  Mary had been invited to a birthday party and had the time of her life.

According to the  De Soto, Kansas Chamber of Commerce,

“Kill Creek Farm is a place where families and friends come every October to the traditional Harvest Festival with basket-weavers, blacksmiths, food vendors along with thousands of locally-grown pumpkins.  All taking place on what continues to be a working farm with the livestock and buildings associated with agriculture 50-100 years ago.  Open year-round by appointments, the farm specializes in offering children's guided tours covering everything from bee keeping to hand-milking a cow.”

In addition, Erin, a long-time De Soto resident, close friend, neighbor, and fellow blogger had this to add about the history of Zimmerman’s Barn,

“.......The unique 1880 timber-framed barn was originally built on the White farm in rural Johnson County, now owned by Ernest Waitzmann. Daryl Zimmerman and a group of volunteers dismantled and moved the barn to Kill Creek Farm, about 7 miles away. The farm, owned by Zimmerman, is dedicated to "Maintaining the Rural Heritage of Johnson County" and plays host to more than 6,000 visitors annually.” 

Erin is an incredible photographer and to see more of her pictures of the destruction, feel free to visit her blog, The Little Things in Life.

Although not locals, my husband and I have come to love being a part of the fabric of our tiny town over the past eight years and have participated in many of the events held at Zimmerman’s Barn.

Each year, Chris and I take our little ones out to Zimmerman’s for the annual Fall Harvest Festival. Even though this pumpkin patch isn’t as elaborate of activity-filled as other area patches, there’s just something about supporting your local economy that makes one feel good inside!

The following pictures were taken in October of 2006.

Pumpkin Patch 2006 008

Pumpkin Patch 2006 015

Pumpkin Patch 2006 018

Pumpkin Patch 2006 020

On the grounds of the Zimmerman Barn/Farm for the De Soto Blues and BBQ Festival, June 2007.Blues and BBQ DeSoto 2007 011 Blues and BBQ DeSoto 2007 001

In April of 2009, I took Mary and Benjamin to the English Rose Lawn & Garden Show on the grounds of Zimmerman’s Barn.  Inside the barn were the most beautiful wares…French soaps, handmade quilts, English pottery, etc.  On the grounds behind the barn, local farmers and gardeners sold their spring plantings.  I remember letting the little ones each pick out a Gerbera Daisy for purchase.

Kill Creek Park 038

Kill Creek Park 039

As you can see, this barn holds a special place in my family’s life.  This summer, we had planned to hold Mary’s 6th Birthday Party at the farm…it was to be her first party with “friends”.  Needless to say, Mary was quite upset when she learned of the destruction.  Unfortunately, even though we drove by the barn to photograph the damage, she doesn’t quite grasp the magnitude of the destruction. 

The local media has reported that the town wishes to help Mr. Zimmerman rebuild the town’s gathering spot, but in Mary’s mind, she thinks this will be done by August.  :(  It is my hope that whatever fundraising and barn-raising activities take place, my husband, children, and I can be a part of them so that we may leave our mark on restoring a piece of Americana/Kansas history.

P.S.  If you notice on my blog header, I have a couple of pictures of the Zimmerman Barn.  One is of the barn and windmill and the other of the Emerald City sign I discovered tacked up inside the barn!  I thought these were appropriate pictures since my Kansas-born daughter is such a Wizard of Oz fan!


  1. Ohh that is so sad! What a horrible loss, reading about it brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful place it was and great piece of history. I hope it can be rebuilt though it will never be the same. Thanks for sharing!

    And thanks for your lovely comments! It is so nice to meet you =) Congrats on your pregnancy as well, how neat we are only 4 weeks apart! I hope your glucose test went well, will say a prayer for you. Have a great 2nd half of the week!

  2. Oh how sad! Mother Nature is no respecter of history or sentiments. I wish the owner and your town GOOD LUCK in rebuilding this landmark. Hopefully some of the original components can be saved and reused.

    Best wishes, Cass

  3. I thought of you when I saw this on the news. Such a waste. Itwas such a beautiful piece of history.
    I saw Mr. Zimmerman on the news and felt so bad or him.
    Hopefully the barn can be raised and be as spectacular as the previous one.
    I didn't know about this place before the news piece--sounds like a lot of fun activities took place there.

    Best wishes to The Zimmermans and the the town.


  4. what sadness. a lovely tribute to your little town and the Zimmerman barn.

  5. To bad what has happened! When weather turns bad on Your continent it really gets bad! We might have one or two real strong storms in ten years, but they are still nothing compared to Yours.
    Have a great day now!

  6. That is so sad to have lost such a piece of history within your town. But How neat that people have risen to the occasion to have it rebuilt!

  7. Oh this makes me so sad. I absolutely love old red barns. To see it turned to ruins after sitting there since 1880 is unbelievable. Mother Nature is not something we can control but oh how sad we are after she leaves.

  8. Hi Valire, I do agree with Bonnie. Mother nature is both beautiful and she can be destructive. Hopefully the barn can be rebulit using some of the salvaged wood. Thank You for stopping by today...Julian

  9. That is so sad that a beautiful barn like that is now gone..Your photos are super! Thanks for visiting!

  10. Hi Valerie
    thanks for visiting me today. i am glad you enjoyed my walk through the woods.
    I am so sorry to hear that this beautiful barn has been lost in your storms. I hope it can be re-built for your community to enjoy once again. That's so sad. I enjoyed seeing the old pictures of it and hearing about all the fun and interesting events that have taken place there.
    I loved visiting your blog today. You have a beautiful family and a lovely home. Your 3rd story room looks gorgeous.
    Best Wishes from England.

  11. Thanks for stopping by my place! I am so sad that this beautiful barn is no longer standing. Hopefully, they will be able to rebuild it. ~Marcy

  12. It is a sad day --- indeed! the pain and loss of this historic landmark suffered by the owner and the towns folk must be pretty devastating to all. Mother Nature plays no favorites.

    Enjoy the day for the Lord made it.

    Happy Out door Wednesday,


  13. Thank you so much for stopping by my site and especially thank you for leaving a comment. Making new blogging buddies is always fun and always welcomed!

    What a pretty part of the country you live in, so green and beautiful. I'm so sorry to hear about the old barn in your town. It's such a shame and so sad when mother nature creates such havoc.

  14. Oh man, that made me sick to my stomach. I HATE to see a barn come down... I have nightmares about my Grampas barn being destroyed.
    It would be cool if some of the wood could be salvaged for the barn or for other use, perhaps by people like you who loved it so.
    (For example: I am going to put salvaged wood down on my kitchen floors from an old log cabin in Wis.)
    At least get a plank and make frames for your favorite pics from family outings at the barn...
    So sorry for your community.

  15. Sorry to hear about the devastation.
    Wonderful photos of your town.
    Great outdoor post.
    Have a lovely day.

  16. So sorry to hear this! My husband was in a tornado when he was 8 in Alabama, it changed his life in many, many ways. Lost his grandmother and almost died from a head injury resulting in numerous surgeries and loss of part of his brain. He's truly a miracle!

    I am a HUGE Wizard of Oz fan, by the way. That's the planned "theme" for our one-day little girl's nursery. :)

  17. Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry about the destruction. Mother Nature certainly does have a mind of her own. I'm so glad you haven't canceled your reservations to the Gulf Coast. At a meeting tonight, a rep from BP told us that they hope to have the oil stopped by this weekend. Keeping our fingers crossed for "the world's most beautiful beaches".

  18. How sad. At least you have pictures to help keep the memories alive. It sounds like it was such a neat place! Mother Nature is fierce, isn't she.

  19. What a wonderful place! And to think that it is now gone, so, so sad. I guess you can't rebuild and still be considered "historic". That is a great loss for your community.
    Hugs, Cindy S

  20. Valerie,
    What a tremendous loss to your family and to your town. The pictures are lovely and seems a lot of activity revolved around this barn. Although, it will never be the same, hopefully it will be rebuilt.


  21. Being a farm girl, I hate to see old barns destroyed! What is so amazing to me is how that big barn was destroyed and yet the little trees next to it seem untouched?
    Thanks for your Outdoor Wednesday post and for coming over to visit me!
    Be Blessed!

  22. What a sorry sight to see that historic barn in ruins. I've been lucky enough to travel to USA, (I have a sister in Arkansas) and I love those old barns. Thank you for visiting my blog on Outdoor Wednesday, Kathleen.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your kind words are appreciated! As Mother Teresa said, "Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."