Purchase photos

Set in stone

10/21/2012

1"Lucky's waiting for the barn mice to move in," Terry Gottschalk said, letting out a smile.

It's been a bit of a wait for Lucky since Gottschalk began the process of building the limestone barn. Hauling 15 semi loads of limestone from demolished structures at Schoenchen, Liebenthal and the Cedar Bluff area, Gottschalk and his sons, Trent and Clint, have been working on the barn for more than a year.

"I get up about four in the morning and lay rock," Terry Gottschalk said. "And when they (Trent and Clint) get here about seven, they help me finish up and we try to go to work.

"It was something I wanted to do by myself, and now I question my insanity or sanity."

The bank barn, when complete, will have a lean-to on each side. A 1904 wooden barn from a farm 5 miles down the road will be placed on the 25-inch thick limestone walls.

Gottschalk pointed out where one day the arched doorways and wooden beams will be positioned as he surveyed the work he and his sons had done.

"When I started this, the guy that helped me get started said, 'You could cover up more mistakes by using this design,' " Gottschalk said. "They call it a weaving grapevine design.

"And I said, 'Well, I'm going to need to cover up a lot of mistakes.' "

Although this is Gottschalk's first venture into stone construction, other than building stone post fences, his family's connection to limestone construction reaches back generations. His grandfather helped build stone churches and schools in the Schoenchen area, and his father, John H. Gottschalk, quarried limestone posts when Gottschalk was a child.

"I put up that half mile of stone post fence there all along the road," Gottschalk said pointing down the hill from his farmstead. "It's kind of a memorial to my dad."

A member of the Kansas Barn Alliance, Gottschalk long has been fascinated with historic barns and limestone.

It's a fascination that's resulted in a lot of hard work for Gottschalk and his sons. Each stone weighs approximately 250 to 300 pounds, so the building process has been labor-intensive.

When asked if he shares his dad's love of limestone, Trent shrugged.

"Used to," he said.

Terry Gottschalk, who moved to the Logan area 42 years ago, runs a fencing and water well business with his sons. His farm, just a couple miles south of Logan, is set on a hillside dotted with sunflowers. A windmill and an old wagon near the barn are evidence of Gottschalk's strong connection to the past.

"I like the old stuff and preserving history," he said. "The barn (historically) was the heart of the farm.

"They had the machinery in there. ... Their cattle in there. Their seed in there. ... Feed for cattle and horses. The barn and the windmill was the lifeblood."

Pausing to envision what it must have been like two generations ago, when settlers built limestone buildings and towering churches without benefit of modern tools, Gottschalk was in awe.

"They chiseled it or cut it by hand," he said. "They just worked so hard.

"I bring it on pallets. ... All I have to do is move it from the pallet to the footing, and that's terrible hard work."

He remembered his dad telling stories of barn dances and hopes one day to have one in his "new" historic barn.

"When this is done, I'm going to be glad," he said. "I can say this is going to be here for a long time."