MOODY LAKE PARK
Moody Lake Park with its Big Blue Round Barn is located off the intersection of 244th Street and Lofton Avenue in southern Chisago Lake township. Moody Lake is a fun lake to canoe or kayat and has excellent shoreline fishing. Ice fishing is not recommended this year as the local watershed district has installed an aeration system to help improve water quality in the lake. The park has a picnic shelter with four tables/benches. In the summer months, a portable toliet is available for use on site. The park is home to the Moody Round Barn which was built in 1915. For information about the barn see the write-up below. Tours of the barn can be scheduled by calling 651-257-6906. Please make your reservations at least a week ahead of the requested tour date.
Moody Lake Park and the Round Barn
History is about documenting changes. It is about saving and retelling stories. Our stories about our past are derived from the traditions, artifacts, buildings and landscapes that survive. Preserving pieces of our past is vital to connecting the things that were said and done in the past with defining who we are today and how we got where we are.
This farm site, known today as Moody Lake Park, was originally settled in 1871 by Elof and Eva Modig from Sweden. They purchased land to become their farm on both sides of the roadway for $1.25 an acre. Their first house and barn no longer exist. Their original rectangular log barn stood just to the west of the picnic shelter (where the gate is today). Their first house was located in the groove of trees across Lofton Avenue. They changed their surname to Peterson and finally to Moody in late 1800’s.
The big blue round barn was built in 1915 by Charles A. Moody as the local area was transitioning from wheat to dairy (cheese & butter) farming. It was one of many round barns that were built in Chisago County and Minnesota at that time. Today it is the only remaining round barn in Chisago County and one of about a dozen in the state of Minnesota. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The barn is 56 feet high and 56 feet in diameter. There is a 42 foot high cedar silo inside. The silo is off-set from the center to allow light from the cupola windows into the hay loft area. The main floor was used for milking and housing livestock. The loft area was used for storing hay. It has always been blue-gray in color (officially Valspar Prince Edward Grey).
The work crew that built the barn consisted of seven men who were paid $1 per day plus their meals. Much of the lumber was harvested locally. The sill timbers on top of the concrete/stone foundation were soaked in the lake so that they could be bent to fit the contour. (The same process was used when the sill timbers were repaired in 2005 and the barn lifted and leveled in preparation for a new roof. ) The total cost of the barn was $3,200.
The second farm house was built in the 1920’s using a catalog Arts and Crafts pattern. It was built across the road and moved to its location north of the park when the housing development came through. It is now privately owned. It retains its leaded stain-glass windows and rich dark wood work and built in buffet. The main floor includes a farmhand bedroom downstairs and back porch entry with a pass-through window for the morning mile and eggs.
The Moody Farmstead was a Century Farm until it was sold for development in early 2000’s. In 2004, Chisago Lake Township purchased the site where the big blue barn was located using park acquisition funds paid by developers when subdividing real estate under MN 394.25. The township then signed an agreement with the Chisago County Historical Society to allow them to use the site as a living history museum.
In 2013, the county historical society halted all activities and restoration work on the site. In 2014, a public hearing was held concerning the partnership agreement that the township had with the historical society. Following that hearing, the agreement was terminated. The township split off five acres on the north end of the park containing the farmhouse and sold the property into private ownership.