Recognition Award Winner
Year of Award: 2000
Original Use: Other
Current Use: Calving, Cattle, Hay
Most late 19th century barns were built to house livestock and hay, but the big stone barn on Curtis and Kim Stahel's farm in Carbondale, Kansas, has its roots in the entertainment business. In 1877, Colonel George Bronson from St. Louis, Missouri, settled in Carbondale and built the large stone barn to house his circus animals. According to the recollections of neighbors, the barn was built with a basement at one end to house the circus snakes during the winter.
In the 1930s the farm was purchased by Curtis Stahel's grandparents, Wilson and Maxine Karnes, and the 80 x 50-foot barn was converted to the more traditional use of milking cows, stabling horses and storing hay and grain. Curtis and Kim took over the farm in 1992, and raise cattle, corn and beans. They spent less than $5,000 to fix up the old circus barn for their farming operation. "The barn was in such good condition, it was definitely worth investing in," says Kim. "We haven't even needed to re-grout the stone." Their biggest expense was adding electricity to the building so that they could work in the barn at all times of the day. New doors, a shed roof, painting and some minor haymow repairs completed the project.
They use the barn for hay and grain storage, and cow/calf pens, as well as wintering their show calves. "Around this area, everybody knows this barn," says Kim. "It's a unique barn because of its size and construction, and its history."