Kansas Scholar’s Stone

After a morning with K-State students I took a drive southeast to Alma, KS with Andy Badeker to search for a “Scholar’s Stone” in the Flint Hills.  The erosion pock-marked boulder will be a focal point in the sculpture at the Beach Art Museum.
While in Alma I was shown two unusual examples of stone masonry.  The corn silage silo was built by two men over the course of a winter during the Great Depression.  The stone vault is the basement ceiling of a homestead built by Swiss emigrants in 1864.  They intended to age cheese there but the commercial venture failed due to warm weather and high humidity.

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2 Responses to Kansas Scholar’s Stone

  1. Dan Snow October 8, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    I would guess the stone silo interior is about 16′ in diameter. There wasn’t much mortar in the construction and the interior stone surface was plastered smooth with a coat of cement, to make the silage slip out easily. The farmer was sold on the idea of a stone silo because the builders assured him it would cost less than poured cement. The finished price, not surprisingly, was the same as the estimate for concrete.

  2. Dean McLellan September 30, 2009 at 8:16 pm #

    Hello there, I find the picture of the stone silo very intriguing. I have long wanted to try it out in dry stone. It appears this one is mortared but has still managed to last fairly well. Would you have the dimensions roughly of this one? Did the back retaining section last as well? I am assuming that they would have put the corn in via a ramp at the back? A silo with this layout would be tremendous to build.

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