DOUGHERTY | Four years ago Judy and Ted Pitzenberger put a new roof on their vintage 1936 barn, hoping to generate some tourism to their farm, Tyden Farm No. 6, near Dougherty.
The intervening years have been busy ones with three more new roofs added to buildings on the farmstead. The old hog house has been reconstructed and equipped to serve as a farm family museum.
At the center of it all, the Pitzenbergers want to share the farming lifestyle with visitors.
The barn provides storage for antique farm machinery. The front portion now being used as museum space will be cleaned up and be available for rent for meetings or retreats.
Col. Emil Tyden built eight farms in North Iowa, all during the Great Depression. Farm No. 6 was established around 1936 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Pitzenbergers purchased the farm in 1994 from descendants of Emil Tyden.
"We want to share the history," Ted said. "There's so much history here of a man that was not known across the United States. A man that had 200 patents and what his contribution was to the U.S. economy.
"He came in here in the Depression and built eight of these farms and employed hundreds of people. We just felt compelled to tell his story," he said.
Judy and an assistant attended a tourism event in Des Moines in November, speaking with about 60 people about visiting the farmstead in Dougherty.
"They really seemed enthused," Judy said. "They are looking for a new place and nobody knows about us."
The Pitzenbergers have investigated conducting tours related to the architecture on the Tyden farm, as well as working with the Historic Park Inn to provide itineraries combining stays at the Frank Lloyd Wright hotel in Mason City with a farm tour.
“The stories of farming need to be preserved and this one is so unique," Judy said. "The more we get into it, the more we learn about him (Tyden)."
The biggest tour they have conducted so far involved members of the 1964 graduating class of Ames High School.
The Pitzenbergers have produced a nearly hour-long documentary about the farm that they hope will be shown on public television in Iowa or Minnesota.
They smiled when asked what Emil Tyden might think of their big plans.
"He was a pretty humble man," Ted said. "He might think this is a little over the top."
The Pitzenbergers have kept in touch with the Tyden family and have their blessing as they move forward with documenting Emil Tyden's life and legacy in Dougherty.
Judy said Emil's motto, "Build it to last 50 years," has become their guiding principle as they move forward.
"We want to be able to share and preserve it and try to figure out how to pass it to our kids," she said.