Huge Round Barn near Red Cloud, Nebraska

Yesterday I got an email from Cheryl Long, editor of The Mother Earth News. She’d seen my photo of the round barn in Vermont (posting of Aug. 6) and wrote:

“Speaking of round barns, here’s the one my sister owns and is trying to raise money for a new roof. We think it is the largest round barn in the world! It has this unusual framing system that we don’t know what to call it–big beams just held together by the weight of the building–3 stories high–almost no braces or pegs, no mortise/tenons. Do you know what it’s called? Seems pretty rare.”

“The Starke Round Barn is a historic and engineering marvel. More than one hundred years old, the barn is massive in size but is held together without nails or pegs of any kind. Measuring 130 feet in diameter and three stories in height, the structure is constructed with balloon framing and heavy timber supports. The Starke Brothers, Conrad, Ernest, William and Chris, who came to Nebraska from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, built the Starke Barn in 1902-1903. The top level of the structure was used for hay storage, the main level of the barn was for machinery storage, and grain bins were eventually added around the silo. The lower level was used for livestock — the southern end for cows and the northern end for horses. The Starke Round Barn is the state’s largest and one of the largest in the nation. This extraordinary barn was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in April 1972. The Barn now holds numerous special events throughout the year and is the site of the annual Barnfest celebration.”

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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