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Wickfield Pavilion

Cantril, IA 52542

National Historic Register - 1986

Perhaps no barn in Iowa has as colorful a history as Cantril's famed round barn. At one time or another it was a sales pavilion, a packing plant, dormitory and, believe it or not, was raided as a "speakeasy" during prohibition days.

Built in 1918 on the Wickfield farm at a cost of $20,000, it became known as the largest Hampshire hog farm in the world with some 1500 hogs being fed at once.

The barn had 8 dormers on the lower part of the roof and 4 on the second part. The basement complex was beautifully equipped for humans with a dining room and kitchen . . also a furnace room, an electric lighting plant, and a fruit cellar. The ground floor was a sales pavilion and the loft contained eight dormitory rooms for workers and for overnight guests. The crow's nest was a card room and social parlor.

Fifty two feet in diameter, the structure is 65 feet tall.

Wickfield Farms usually held two auctions each year, some lasting up to three months. Steep bidding was part of the spectacle. One animal sold for a whopping $5,000. Many hogs were displayed at shows in the Midwest, and in 1923 their record included 6 grand champions, 12 champions and 59 firsts. Cash winnings topped $2,300. Two famous hogs were Lookout Lad and Lieutenant Wickware.

The final curtain fell in the mid 20's when the farm economy turned sour, the farm finally sold to individuals outside the family. The barn was later used for recreation, and later storage.



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