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Dows Iowa Raft Project

The Floating and Buoyant Neutrinos stumbled upon the unique town of Dows, Iowa, during a snow storm, by following the signs for their welcome center off of highway I-35. We were immediately befriended by Jim White, president of the Dows Historical Society, who gave us a very enjoyable and informative tour of the local historical sites, including a fascinating blacksmith shop with all kinds of historical and antique tools and equipment. He graciously invited us to lunch at the Mercantile Store, a restored 19th century commercial building, now an antiques and craft store and coffee shop, where our conversation led to a scheme for a joint project in the Dows blacksmith shop to build parts and machinery for the Vilma B.    This idea gradually evolved into the building of a pushboat/floating sawmill/raft as a joint project together with the Dows Historical Society and local volunteers of Dows. Initially this was to be called the "Dows Iowa,"  but was renamed "June's Barn," in honor of June Hanson, whose barn supplied  most of the lumber for the vessel, and to emphasize the recycled nature of the raft.

We would like to thank June Hanson, Roy and Jerry Johnson, Mitch Nichols, Lyon Anderson, and everyone else in Dows who took part in this effort; and especially Jim White and Gordon Wordon, without whose help this raft would not have been built.

On August 18, thanks to Smithway Motor Xpress, who trucked the June's Barn all the way from Dows to Grafton, Illinois, just above St. Louis, the June's Barn finally was launched, and took its place as part of the growing raft flotilla. The next step will be to install a  motor and drive unit, so that the raft can do its intended work of pushing the rafts. See the photos below.

Please also check the log of the Vilma B for more information about this ongoing project.

Click on the small thumbnail images in order to see them full size

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Here is June Hanson's barn, before it was knocked down for salvage.

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May 2, 2000. Roy and Jerry Johnson of Dows brought their crane over to collapse the barn.   see log entry for this date

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Down she goes, in a huge cloud of dust.

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The dust clears, and we can see our salvage work cut out for us.

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In the background, barely visible,  a tractor is preparing a field for planting. As we began to do the salvage work, farmers all around were busy putting in their crops.

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Jim White and Poppa Neutrino take a shovel to clear the hay, straw, dust and manure from the boards they are about to begin removing. 

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Poppa Neutrino sings in the evening at a local nightspot in Dows.

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Here's the Vilma B at Grafton, Illinois, right where the Illinois River meets the Mississippi, waiting for the truck to bring June's Barn.

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The folks at Smithway Motor Xpress donated the transportation of June's Barn, after Jim White contacted them and told them about our project.

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June's Barn on the truck, just before the launching.

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The raked bow of June's Barn cuts through the water beautifully as we head downriver.

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Last revised December 15, 2008