Out with the old, in with the new

The “log building” is no more. 2017-03-09 1.JPG

We have had several people ask why we had to tear it down, so I thought I’d give a little history.

Newspaper articleIn the fall of 1983, the 40′ x 80′ Norway Pine log building was constructed on site to house antique agricultural equipment and other large items. It was celebrated with a grand opening event in October of 1983. There were some issue with the logs early on, requiring some immediate repair.

In 2006, the historical society re-shingled the roof. Problems quickly became apparent


Rotten logs by door frame. The doorway was cut in 2006.

when we cut a door on the north side of the building. The logs had clearly rotted from the inside.

We brought in engineers to examine the building and make recommendations. The north and south walls were 1 foot off plumb and there was excessive rot in many logs throughout the building. The contractor had installed inferior logs from the start.

According to the engineer’s report: “Our assessment is that the building as existing is not structurally sound and measures should be taken to ensure the public is safe when entering the building.” All of the repair options given were extremely costly, so we made the decision to close the building to the public in 2006.

2017-9-16 5

Interior rotting required the beveled edges of the logs to be cut off shortly after construction.

2017-9-16 2

The logs rotted from the inside and began to collapse.

2017-9-16 3

Rotten and collapsing logs no longer lined up with doorways and windows. In this image you can see that the log that was originally attached to the hinge has dropped several inches.


The effect of the collapsing, rotten logs was very visible inside the building.

Since then, we have been exploring options for repair or replacement. Fundraising for the log building and improvements to other buildings on our campus was just getting underway when a huge storm damaged the roof of the main building in 2011. Priories shifted. Now that the main building roof has been replaced and other historic buildings have received some needed TLC, the time has come to deal with the log building.

After lengthy discussion and consideration, the board decided that the building should be replaced. Replacement is more cost-effective than repair.

The building was emptied and the artifacts stored away safely in preparation for demolition.

2018-03-07 09.JPG

TKI quickly and safely removed the building in one day.

We are eager to have a safe building that we can actually open to the public. The new building will again be used to hold agricultural equipment. Staff is already planning exhibits to illustrate not only the changes in Pope County agriculture through the years, but also exhibits that show how the products grown on local farms come into our lives, in our vehicles, in our clothing, and to our plates – often in surprising ways.

Please check back regularly to read about the construction progress and exhibit development.  I will also be highlighting artifacts from our agricultural collection over the next few months.




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