The ongoing saga of the Dr. Pierce Barn drew to a close this fall with the demolition of the hundred-year old structure by its owner, Doug Stout of Creswell. The future of the barn, which had advertised “Dr. Pierce’s Pleasant Pellets” since 1910, had been in doubt since the expiration of a 20-year maintenance easement held by the Cottage Grove Historical Society in the spring of 2010.
Stout, who argued that the barn was unsafe and detracted from his ability to use the land it occupied, was eventually able to receive a permit to demolish the structure after a local engineer agreed about its condition. The Historical Society attempted to purchase the barn but eventually decided otherwise, deeming Stout’s asking price too high.
Delays to the barn’s demolition were subsequently granted by Cottage Grove’s Historic Landmark Commission, Planning Commission and City Council, which attempted to apply another 210-day delay but was rebuffed when Stout’s attorney pointed out that the delay would start from the day of the demolition permit application. Stout was thus granted a demolition permit good for one year through Oct. 15, 2012, which he made good on beginning Sept. 8, dismantling the barn board-by-board, a move decried by historically minded citizens in the community. For his part, Stout said the barn’s demolition was “a sad day for Cottage Grove.”
“At one juncture, I may have been easier to get along with, but I’ve been screwed over and vilified,” he said. “But those days are over. It’s a bad deal, but it is what it is. What people think doesn’t matter any more.”
For the complete article see the 01-02-2013 issue.
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