History + Info

A Little History

Nestled on the hillside along U.S. Hwy. 71 just south of Spirit Lake is a barn sitting on a 14-acre tract that once was home to a thriving dairy operation.

Brothers August and Albert Resch put up the barn around 1919. It stands 42 feet wide by 90 feet long by 42 feet high. It’s believed there is 6,663 square foot of roof area. The lumber came from the Lloyd-Smith Lumber Yard in Spirit Lake, and its cost alone exceeded $3,000. The beams were made of Douglas Fir.

The barn’s contractor, Henry Boein, used only a hand saw, hand drill and a square to lay out the barn and prepare beams and A-frame work for its construction. The A-frame supports were made from 2x12s that were 18 or 20 feet long. Raymond Resch of Cherokee, nephew of August and Albert Resch, said Boein’s work was so precise that no re-drilling of holes had to be done.

The barn is now owned by Des Moines-based developer Martin Benskin, who has been restoring this Okoboji landmark since he purchased it around 2005. Benskin said the barn has been well maintained and is the perfect venue for a wedding, party, reunion, corporate event and a host of other events.  In addition to events, this barn has a full service bar, the 1919 Bar, on the main level.  Open throughout the week.  “This barn that sits atop the hillside, as you drive along hwy 71 is not only breathtaking, but, a part of the history here in the lakes region,” said Mr. Benskin.

Things You Need To Know

1. We are an authentic barn. We have rolling grassy areas. Inside the barn is wood floors.

2. The Okoboji Barn houses receptions and weddings.  (Inside or Outside)

3.  We have designated smoking areas in and around the barn.

4. We do have indoor “real” restrooms.

5. The venue is handicapped accessible.   Typically  “assistance” is the best approach since much of the terrain is natural and not concreted, yet we do have an elevator and ramps to our new Farm House (est. 2017).

6.  The Okoboji Barn is generally kid friendly, yet we are not a playground.  Children must be attended.

7. We welcome you to the Rolling Oaks Barn in Okoboji.  There is nothing else like it in the area.  The venue is meant to be a bit more relaxing and unique over a typical wedding venue.  By looking at our website you can get a sense of what you are in store for, yet additions and improvements are occurring daily here on our farm.  Come and celebrate this special day and be prepared to make some amazing memories!

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