Starke round barn continues to amaze

Owners believe a round barn in Webster county is the largest one of its type in the world, and it was built in 1902.

This round barn was built by the Starke family, and it's located about 4 miles east of Red Cloud on highway 136. We visited with Liz Rasser recently about the barn. Her family continues to own it, and her son lives next to it. "The circumference of the building is 400 feet, the diameter is 130 feet, and the height from the bottom of the silo to the top is 65 feet," Rasser said. "It has three levels. Of course the top was for hay, the middle level was for storing grain and machinery, and the bottom level was for horses, mules, cattle and later on, dairy cattle."

The barn is put together with a unique framework of 12 X 12 timbers on each floor. Those timbers are not held together with fasteners, but rather, they are held together by the weight of the building and with balance. "The more you have in the building, for instance, when the loft was full of hay, that made the building more stable," Rasser said.

The Starke family came from Wisconsin, and has some connection to the Rasser family in Nebraska. "The Starke's were doing well for a while with their dairy," Rasser said. "They had the record milk and butter-producing cow in Nebraska in the 1920's. Unfortunately, their herd contracted tuberculosis and that threw them into bankruptcy, and the Rasser family then bought the property." Rasser says now that her family owns the barn, they hope to continue to maintain it. "We use it for it's original purpose. We have cattle on the property."

People can come to see the barn, but Rasser is asking for a little notice before you come. "We are asking that people give us a two-week notice. So if you'd like to see the barn, you can. Just let us know in advance. For more on the barn, check out www.starkeroundbarn.com