A PHOTO TOUR OF|
NEBRASKA'S STRAW-BALE BUILDINGS
This may not be an all inclusive listing of straw-bale structures in Nebraska. If you know of any other historic bale buildings or new straw-bale structures, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
THE BURKE HOUSE, Alliance
This is the oldest known bale building still in existence in Nebraska.
STURTZ RANCH, Stapleton
This Nebraska-style bale ranch house was built in 1905 by local craftsmen. It has been occupied continuously by the Sturtz family until 1998. The bale walls were covered with paneling except for the north bedroom where you can see the curvature of the bales beneath the stucco. This home consists of living, kitchen/dining, bath and two bedroom spaces. A back porch was added a number of years after the original building was completed.
FAWN LAKE RANCH, Hyannis
Fawn Lake Ranch, north of Hyannis, Nebraska, is known for its two historic bale buildings - the headquarters and bunkhouse. Built sometime between 1899 and 1914, the buildings are still in use and maintained. An addition to the ranch house was constructed using hay bales.
THE BILL ADAM RANCH, Ashby
This ranch house on the Adam Ranch near Ashby, Nebraska, is occupied. The one-story building was constructed between 1915 and 1920 of hay bales. It sits on footings and the exterior is stuccoed.
THE SCOTT HOUSE, Gordon
One story over full basement Nebraska-style, load-bearing with hay bale infill. Hip roof, steel rods through bales. Baseboard heating Living, dining, kitchen, bedroom, bath living space in basement. Built in 1936.
FRONTIER VILLAGE HOUSE, Alliance
Created as part of Dobby Lee's Frontier Village at the northeast corner of Alliance, Nebraska, this load-bearing straw bale building is similar in size and design to straw bale homes built by Nebraska's pioneers. The house is a simple two-room structure. Materials were salvaged or purchased at auctions, from antique dealers, or donated. The Frontier Village includes other buildings of the past, antiques and collectibles of all types. Built by Kenneth "Dobby" and Coralee Lee over a 10-year period with the help of young people and others in the community, the Frontier Village is a learning center for young and old.
TYSON RETROFIT & ADDITION, Lemoyne
This project was started in 1996 as a pay-as-you-go effort by Brent and Kathleen Tyson. A mobile home used as a weekend retreat on the north side of Lake McConaughy was wrapped with straw bales and a 600-sf addition was constructed using modified post-and-beam construction. The mobile home will remain inside the finished structure and the existing space is being remodeled as kitchen, dining, sleeping and bath spaces. The new addition houses an office/study, living and dining space which is highlighted by hanging bookshelves. A loft space is included in the new addition.
COONEY SHOP, Gothenburg
Chad Cooney built a metal building to house his construction business, workshop and storage, then stacked bales around the interior walls and covered them with fiber board. Windows on the southwest side provide some passive solar heat gain. A small oil heater keeps the building warm on the coldest winter days.
CLASSROOM AT HERITAGE PARK, Gothenburg
The Living History Classroom on the grounds of the Gothenburg Elementary School was designed and built by Stephanie Block, 2nd grade teacher. The Nebraska-style, load bearing bale wall building is 14 foot x 18 foot. Built on a prairie plot south of the school amid a Conestoga wagon, tipi and fire pit, and windmill in a patch of recreated prairie, the classroom provides year-round space for teachers to share information with students about prairie life, Nebraska history, Native American culture.
ANGELS BAR & BAIT SHOP, Spencer
Approximately 2000-sf story and a half, post-and-beam with straw bale infill walls. Exposed cedar support posts, wood staking. Radiant thermal heating in slab. Construction began 1997. Estimated Cost: $15 sf. Directions: south of Spencer on Hwy 281, just south of Spencer Dam (west side of Hwy 281), approximately 25 miles north of O'Neill.
HUTCHINSON HOME, Rose Approximately 2500-sf, one story with basement, greenhouse, office, root cellar. Modified post-and-beam, organic straw bale infill walls; posts and beams exposed, open cathedral ceiling. Double roof system with bales as ceiling insulation. Construction began 1998.
LIBBY CREEK FARM, York
Libby Creek Farm is a certified organic sustainable ag operation. Produce is marketed through farmers' markets, delivery routes, restaurants and grocery stores in the area. A corn crib salvaged from a nearby farm was placed on an enlarged slab, covered by a corrugated metal roof with overhangs to cover the bale walls. The building serves as a year-round farm store. Bales of short foxtail grass, straws from crops grown on the farm are combined with salvaged barn wood, rods and metal to create this building. Passive solar heat gain and radiant thermal floor heat. Natural ventilation assisted by fans and roof vents for cooling.
RESTAURANT BUILDING, Emerald
Part of the attraction of this building for people in Lincoln and Emerald and surrounding communities is the stories told by those who visited this restaurant building in its many lives over the years. Known by many as Lone Oak and by others as The Elms and by its last name, El Ranchito, the building is described as Art Moderne in its architectural style. It's definitely Nebraska-style bale construction - a joining of structural members, concrete and bales. Constructed in the late 1940s, the second story of this building was used as a dance floor for many years - proving that load-bearing bale walls can support live loads. The first floor housed the restaurant and kitchen. The building fell into disrepair after the late 1970s or 80s. Listed on the Lancaster County historical record, the building is currently undergoing a less-than-historical renovation, preparing it for yet another incarnation.
McINTYRE HOUSE, Lincoln
Approximately 1,000-sf, story and a half; post-and-beam with straw bale infill walls combined with concrete block and wood framing. Passive solar, wood stove for supplemental heating. Bermed on two sides of first level. Standing seam metal roof; living roof. Natural materials and finishes. Code approved, insured, appraised. Living, dining, kitchen, family room, bath/laundry, sleeping loft.
CARLSON HOME, Where?
Construction began on this 950-sf straw bale house in July 1999. Code-approved with architect's stamp, Josh Shear and Jen Carlson designed and built their home with a little help from their friends and lots of long weekend hours. Heated by passive solar gain and backup radiant thermal floor, the living/dining and kitchen space occupies the main level, with bath and laundry on the windowless north wall. Two lofts add sleeping, storage and office space above. Designed for future expansion.
SCENIC PARK CAMPGROUND, South Sioux City
The City of South Sioux City constructed this building in 1999 to serve as a center for the Scenic Park RV Campground along the Missouri River. The City's Parks & Recreation Department now occupies the space as well. 1,000-sf modified post-and-beam; foreground corner is FEMA-design storm shelter. City, state and federal funding was used for this project and Buy-a-Bale donor program brought community contributions and involvement. The park is located east of the Marina Inn along the Missouri River.