Former Gophers, brothers give new life to barn in Jordan, Minn.

- They've wrapped up successful football careers at the University of Minnesota and in the NFL, and now brothers Jeff and Nick Tow-Arnett are looking for what’s next. They recently bought some land just outside Jordan, and it's what they're doing on that land that has everybody talking.

'The big white barn'

For nearly 90 years, the barn on their newly purchased land has been the talk of the town. Everyone knows about "the big white barn."

"We'd drive by it and we'd always comment on how neat it was,” Viola said.

Its claim to fame is mainly that it's big, even for a barn. The 140-foot long barn is so distinct that people can't help but do a double take.

“We just kept driving past it every day,” Jeff said.

Then one day, one of those double takes turned into a taker. And now, Jeff Tow-Arnett is the proud new owner of the talk of the town.

Life after football

Jeff and his brother Nick recently bought the big white barn with big plans to give it new life, which is fitting considering the two are in need of their own fresh starts after exhaustive football careers in college and the NFL.

"With everything happening, I realize there's a lot more to life than just football,” Jeff said.

And that’s exactly what drew them to the big white barn. Right away, they could see it. There was more to this barn than meets the eye.

"You'd hear everything from 'the state shut it down because they were bootlegging out of here' to neighbors saying their grandma and grandpa used to come up here and they used to have dances up here,” Jeff said.

Thrilled with their investment, the brothers couldn't wait to renovate the barn and start building their future home. But there was one catch; the deal didn't come kit and caboodle. The boys had bought themselves a kit, but they'd have to move it onto their caboodle.

Barn moved a half-mile across land

"We found a mover and their slogan was ‘if they say it's too big to move it, call us, we'll move it,’” Jeff said.

So, mover Matt Thein and his crew literally drove the 145-ton barn a half-mile across an open field.

"There's no truck or anything that pushes or pulls the building,” Thein said. “It's all controlled by a hydrostatic drive motor on the rear of the building which is controlled by Tim. So it steers it, drives it."

People showed up from all over to watch the massive barn travel across an open field with a remote control. The highway was lined with cars on both sides.

"To see the big barn moving on its own more or less was really a once in a lifetime thing to see,” Viola Hennes said.

But the folks in Jordan aren't ready to stop talking about it just yet, they’re eager to see how it’s fixed up.

"I think more people are going to be watching to see it develop, you know,” Kim said.

Jeff's brother Nick and his wife are overseas and will see the barn when they come home in a few months. In addition to turning the barn into their dream homes, the brothers are also planning on building a public horse stable on their land.


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