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Stone sanctuary

Looking for a weird and wonderful country property unlike any other? This family sure found one.
Hay wagons once drove throughthe oversized door of the Berberichstone barn and then out a matching door at the other end. The limestonefor the barn was quarried in nearbyStone City, Iowa.
Ruins of an old depot made fromlocal dolomite limestone sit on theBerberich acreage.

Ideal attributes

Stan and Debra Berberich did not plan to buy a new home and definitely not an 11-acre site with a historic 12,000-square-foot stone barn. But they did. Now the large barn, originally built as a stable to house draft horses, fits the family that includes seven adult children and 11 grandchildren.

Before buying the stone acreage near Stone City, Iowa, the Berberiches lived in an Arts and Crafts-era home in Cedar Rapids. On a lark, the family drew up an unrestricted list of ideal attributes in a home. When they showed it to a pesky realtor, they thought it "would get rid of him fast," says Debra.

You must be kidding

The list included Debra's wish for an indoor basketball court, Stan's statement that he never wanted to own another wood-frame home that had to be painted, and youngest daughter Sarah's desire for a creek where she could catch "funny" things.

After the realtor read the list, he told Debra she had to be kidding, but she assured him she was not. Much to her surprise, the realtor returned to their doorstep early the following morning with a brand-new listing and a photo of the stone barn clutched in his hand.

When Debra opened the front door, he told her, "I don't know what there is about you lady, but there you go -- indoor basketball!"

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