Twelve miles out from Perry at 14524 210th St., Jim and Mava Burchfield live in the farmhouse they’ve called home for their entire 56 years of marriage. But even more remarkable, in November Jim will celebrate his 80th birthday in the house where he was born.
“It’s not old for some people…” Jim says, speaking of his upcoming birthday. “But it’s old for us,” Mava quickly adds.
Jim’s parents, Margaret and Vic Burchfield, bought the white farmhouse in 1923 where they raised Jim and his older brother, Lowell. Jim does not know how old the house is, but guesses it was built in the early 1900s.
“There was another house here at one time because I remember we used it for a chicken house,” Jim says.
Jim says the house hasn’t changed much during the years except for the addition of modern day conveniences — electricity in the early 1940s and running water in the 1950s. The Burchfields converted the bedroom where Jim was born into a bathroom in the mid-1960s.
“At the time, I said it was the prettiest bathroom in Dallas County,” Mava says. “It was avocado with gold fixtures.”
Jim and Mava agree the biggest changes they’ve seen during the past 50 years have occurred in the landscape around them. Many farms have simply disappeared as neighbors retired, and the remaining farm buildings were bulldozed or left to ruin. Jim says of the surrounding farmland, “It’s returning back to prairie.”
“We don’t have the neighbors like we used to,” Mava says. “Right now we’re the only ones who live in this whole square mile.”
From the twin silos flanking the house to the century-old trees in the front, the Burchfield farm has many unique features, but Mava and Jim offer a different perspective. They point out the house has a Perry address, a Dawson telephone, and resides in the Adel school district.
“We are unique in that we are 12 miles from any town,” Jim says.