• Last modified 614 days ago (Sept. 14, 2022)


Farm livin': Rental is a different kind of high-rise

Staff writer

Common themes emerge in comments visitors leave about Gerald and Jan Wiens’s rustic cabin a few miles inside Chase County.

The first is how quiet it is. The second is how dark it is.

For people hoping to “get away from it all,” Paw Print Cabin outside Elmdale fits the bill.

Soon, people looking for an escape will have a second option on the land. The family is turning a concrete stave silo into a second property for short-term rental.

They likely won’t rent the cabin and silo at the same time, wanting to give guests privacy. However, people may choose to rent both properties.

A kitchen and utility area has been added outside the entrance to the silo. Past that will be a combination living/dining room with a small bathroom.

“The room is a 19-sided polygon,” Gerald Wiens said.

The second floor will be a bedroom.

The third floor will be the main bathroom with a walk-in shower, and the fourth floor will be the main bedroom with a king bed.

Wiens and his grandsons spent a week getting three flights of spiral stairs roughed in.

The silo, which Wiens estimates is 100 years old, didn’t have a roof.

They built one on the ground and hired a crane to place it atop the 45-foot silo.

Several trees nestle up tightly against the silo. They will remain. A small patio and a fire pit will be added as outdoor amenities.

The family still needs to get walls insulated and finish out each room. Electrical and plumbing work is finished.

Wiens had hoped to be finished with the silo this year, but it probably won’t be done until next year.

They rented out the cabin for the first time in the spring of 2019. It’s been steadily booked since with two-night minimum stays.

The cabin was booked for 180 to 200 nights in 2020, its first full year of rentals.

“People were looking for a place to just unwind,” Wiens said, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bookings increased last year with more than 200 nights rented.

Guests have been from all over, he said.

“I’ve had people from Nebraska, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wichita, Kansas City, Topeka and Lawrence,” he said. “One family during the pandemic was visiting all 50 states and stayed.”

The silo and cabin are on land that has been in Jan Wiens’s family for three generations. Her grandfather, Bill Ward, a state senator, owned three farms. When he died in 1974, a farm went to each child.

“One of those kids was my wife’s mother,” Wiens explained. “Her mother then gave it to the two girls — my wife and her sister — about 25 years ago.”

Wiens has been documenting progress on the silo on a blog he writes. That website is

Last modified Sept. 14, 2022