Stone sanctuary | Living the Country Life

Stone sanctuary

Looking for a weird and wonderful country property unlike any other? This family sure found one.
The keystone on the arch over thefront entrance is engraved with theyear the barn was built.
The unusual series of buttressesalong the length of the barneliminates the need for interior rafters.

A place for family

The Berberiches bought the acreage and barn, which had an indoor basketball court on the second floor, and moved to Stone City in 2001. The large barn, with its surrounding acres, provides an ideal location and setting for family events, casual get-togethers and, of course, impromptu basketball games.

"We wanted a home where our adult children could bring their friends and families," says Debra.

Family, faith, friends, and hospitality are important factors in Debra and Stan's lives. Stan, a molecular geneticist, and Debra, an art major, take great joy in caring for their children and grandchildren. Debra has a natural ability to greet people with warmth, instantly putting all at ease.

Stan recalls the first time he and Debra went to see the barn. "My impression when driving up was, 'Why would they have poured so much concrete around this building?' Then I found out the barn was actually built on the bed of an old quarry floor."

The Berberich acreage and barn were once part of an estate created during the 1880s by John Green, one of Stone City's early entrepreneurs. Green moved to the area about 1850 to quarry the local dolomite limestone. He built the stone barn in 1889. The road to the Berberich acreage winds through land that was also once part of the old Green estate.

Just as it once provided a hard, easy-to-clean surface for stablemen to care for the quarry's draft horses, the limestone bedrock works well today as a parking lot, picnic areas, and playground for the Berberich grandchildren.

Soon after moving in, Stan and Debra learned that the area around their new home was the site for an annual Stone City event.

"I don't think we hardly had any boxes unpacked when a little pickup arrived at our door, and we were informed that the Grant Wood Art Festival is held on our front yard, which we knew nothing about," says Debra.

"They started out by asking us how we felt about having 6,000 people on our front yard, but assured us it would only be for one day," she adds with a chuckle.


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