Parks Recreation and Fair

Posted on: February 8, 2017

Fairgrounds Horse Barn: Seeking Photographs and Memories

Fairgrounds Barn _ Boyd Pratt

Seeking Photographs and Memories.

The San Juan County Parks and Fair Department has received a health and safety grant from the WSDA to deconstruct the fairgrounds horse barn and purchase portable stalls for horse events at the fairgrounds.  The Fair Board and staff are currently seeking historic mementos to memorialize the barn; and contribute to the Historic Barns of the San Juan Islands website,  under the ghost barn section.  Please contribute stories and pictures that can help patch together the history of the barn.

What we currently know about the fairgrounds horse barn is limited. Originally built in 1924 this barn has housed many horses and their riders.  It consists of two sections: an older, 30′-wide, 110′ long, 17’8″ high section to the north and a newer, 36′ wide by 82′ long, 18′ high section to the south. Each barn section has frame walls on top of concrete stem walls with wood truss roof systems. Stalls line both sides of a central aisle on the inside, and there are additional stalls in sheds added to the east side of the building. The building is located in the northeast corner of the fairgrounds where there are additional separate horse stalls.

The project timeline has been divided up into multiple phases.  The first phase for 2017 involves the deconstruction of the existing barn, the purchase of mobile stalls to accommodate overnight equine activities, site work creating an even surface for stall placement, and water and electrical access.  As the second phase of this project begins the Fairgrounds will simultaneously begin updating the Fairgrounds Master Plan which is the guiding document that will help direct the future development of the fairgrounds.

It is always a difficult decision to deconstruct objects of heritage/history; however, the time has come to say our goodbyes to the Fairgrounds horse barn.  The many years of temporary repairs, fluctuating horse program participation, changing demographics of the islands and minimal usage throughout the year has compiled into health and safety issues for participants, their animals, and general day park users.  The grant funding awarded by the WSDA-Fairs Health and Safety grant program has a matching component; this means additional funding is needed through donations, alternative funding sources and volunteer work.  Stay updated on projects and events by subscribing to the San Juan County newsflash

The San Juan County Parks and Fair department appreciates the community support as the Fairgrounds transitions into the future.    

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