Salem, situated on the open prairie southwest of the Skunk River in Henry County, was the first Quaker community in Iowa, founded in 1835. In town half a block south of route J20 is the Henderson Lewelling house (1840–1845). This is a two-story stone house with a gable roof. The chimneys are in the end gable walls, and a porch runs across the first-floor front of the house. In style the house is late Federal, with a balanced composition of windows and doors.
East of Salem 2.2 miles on route J20, on the north side of the road, is a handsome two-story house of finely cut limestone (c. 1860). Its principal facade presents a central entrance with side lights and transom, balanced by one window to each side. The upper floor is similar, except that the central door is without side lights or transom. This door, one assumes, led to the roof of a porch that no longer exists. The roof of the house is hipped, with a small flat section at the top; the overhang of the roof is supported by paired brackets. The design represents the late Federal style taking on the proportions and some details of the Italianate.
Southeast of Salem is the True-Round Barn (1918) of Bernard J. Holtkamp, built from plans provided by the Permanent Building Society of Des Moines.
The diameter of the barn is 50 feet; its roof, with its central aerator, is of the double-pitch gambrel type. The walls of the barn are of terracotta brick. The upper, main floor of the barn is reached by an inclined earthen ramp. To reach the Holtkamp barn travel east on route J20 3.2 miles to US 218; turn right (south) on US 218; at 2.1 miles is a gravel road leading to the west; the barn will be visible at this point.
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