The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 25, 2010

Storm damages local landmark

By Debbie Robinson

news@joplinglobe.com

A century-old landmark south of Joplin that has caught the eye of many a Sunday driver over the years may soon be coming down.

A large, round barn that had been weakened by years of weather and use was further damaged after last weekend’s snowstorm caused the roof to collapse.

“It was just too much for the old structure,” said DeAnn Kolkmeyer. The barn on Saginaw Road was passed down through family on the side of her husband, David Kolkmeyer.

The round barn sits on land originally owned by John C. Cox, who was one of the earliest settlers in the region and who is known as the father of Joplin, according to DeAnn Kolkmeyer.

“We’re looking at it coming down,” David Kolkmeyer said. “Basically, the whole south side of the barn is gone. Unless some organization wants to rebuild it totally. I can’t fix it.”

The couple still raise cattle on the farm, with their children Dalton and Dane, but the barn has not been used for years, David Kolkmeyer said, and the family has no current use for it. The barn originally was used for storing loose hay on the second floor. Horses were kept on the ground floor. A pulley system, still visible today, was used to drop hay to the horses.

But today’s farmers prefer their hay in round bales the size of small cars, and the round barn also is too small to store tractors.

“It really has been obsolete for years,” DeAnn Kolkmeyer said.

She recalls stories of the barn told by her father-in-law, Alfred Kolkmeyer, a great-grandson of Cox.

Construction of the barn began around 1909 or 1910 and took three years to complete, she said. James Cox, son of John C. Cox, built the barn after obtaining the land from his father.

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