A Barn Razing

For 100 years, this barn looked over a field in Kent, Washington.

The barn.jpg

It was a proud barn, a working barn, for much of its life. Before its retirement, it was home to two horses, lovingly referred to as “Mr. Ed” and “Mr. Red”, along with a crazy four-horned Jacob Sheep (“Jake”), a small goat named “Billy”, and an aggressive goat called “Beavis” (because “Butt-Head” seemed too rude.) The barn kept them warm, and sheltered them from storms.

Jake.jpg

And then, one day, just like that, the farmer and his animals went away. The land was sold to the city with the stipulation that it remain an undeveloped public park, and the barn stood alone and abandoned for the next 9 years. But its neighbors still loved it, despite the meter-high mounds of pigeon poop that had accumulated inside over time.

Inside barn.jpg

The city was not nearly as in love with the barn as its residents. They feared squatters and arsonists. They feared liability if anyone were to break in and get hurt. So they scheduled it for demolition.

As the clock wound down toward its demise, someone removed the upper barn door. For many months the barn looked as if it was cold, wounded and crying out. Save me. I don’t want to go.

Barn Door Missing.jpg

Winter barn with no door

Soon, some of the wood on the side was stolen, and graffiti artists moved in. It was an undignified end for such a grand structure. Some people have no respect, and no sense of history.

Barn graffiti

And then, on the thirteenth day of March, 2019, it happened. The barn was torn down, piece by piece. Here’s a time lapse of it.

20190313_224711-ANIMATION.gif

It was a sad day. It was strange to see how quickly it all ended after such a long-standing legacy. Things fall apart. The center does not hold.

The one bright light in all of this is that the wood and the rusty metal roof were salvaged and will be used to build yet another barn somewhere in Eastern Washington. So in a way, our beloved barn lives on. There will be animals for it to shelter once again.

Some day, years from now, people will walk their dogs across this field and not even realize what came before. But some of us will always see this as the place where a beautiful barn once proudly stood. And, oh, it will be missed.

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6 thoughts on “A Barn Razing

  1. Pingback: Building a 5 Star Bug House – The View from a Drawbridge

    1. Cris Abelhauser

      Barb asked me to share some additional information about the history of this property and Clark Lake Park – Cris

      Clark Lake Park was created by King County and was about 30 acres in size. In 1996 the City of Kent annexed the area and the park was transferred from the County to the City. Recognizing the unique opportunity to preserve a “central park” in the rapidly developing East Hill region of Kent, the City set the goal of preserving as much land as possible in a natural state. Property owners were contacted and the city offered market value prices for the opportunity to acquire the land in this half mile by half mile region. A citizen advisory board was created to determine how citizens would like this land to be used and the consensus was to preserve as a natural and undeveloped park for passive use, with trails and parking, but not improvements for organized activities. The desire I was to enjoy it now while preserving it for future generations. In the decades since the City took over, they have purchased most of those properties through grant funds that are dedicated to the preservation of open space. The park is now about 133 acres and there are two remaining land owners that the City is in discussions with.

      The barn that was razed in 2019 had been built early in the 20th Century. It was the part of a parcel that included a 1913 farm house which has been built in what was a rural region. Occupants had used only the side stalls on the barn for horses, sheep and goats, and the central part of that building has been vacant for more than 25 years. The house was razed in 2012 and the barn remained standing but the City was concerned (rightly so) about squatters, vandals and the potential liability of having an empty building on the park property. In 2019 the City hired demolition contractors to remove two other houses along with the barn. Foundations were removed from all of the buildings and the land leveled, backfilled and restored to fields. The park is enjoyed by the local community and provides a wonderful setting for walks (dogs on-leash), lots of photographers and the local junior high uses it for their cross country track team.

      You can see more information at these sites

      https://www.mountaineers.org/activities/routes-places/clark-lake-park-kent
      https://wildliferecreation.org/projects/clark-lake-park-expansion-00/

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