Stone barns are less common than stone houses, and this a huge stone barn. It was built in 1881 on the old Stephen F. Jones ranch north of Strong City, Kansas. It's built of Permian limestone, and the source is easy to see - the barn stands on the Flint Hills prairie of central Kansas, and limestone pokes out from the grass everywhere. In fact, one begins to wonder if the barn wasn't built of stone as a clever way to stack up and store some rock cleared from the land. Stone certainly was one of the few building materials locally available on the prairie - the pine beams inside the barn had to be brought by rail from Colorado.|
The Flint Hills are underlain by Permian-age limestone that is riddled with nodules of chert. (Chert is silica precipitated within limestones after their deposition, and flint is a variety of chert). Chert is a hard material with which to work, and although this series of webpages contains examples of chert houses, any builder would rather use the softer, blockier chunks of limestone that make up the barn's walls, as seen below. Thus, if you come to the Flint Hills to see stone buildings, they'll be built of the host limestone, not of the flint found within those limestones.
The barn stands on land once known as the Z Bar or Spring Hill Ranch. Today it, its accompanying stone house and stone outbuildings, and the surrounding 10,894 acres of land are the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve as the result the land's purchase by the private non-profit National Park Trust
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