CHIPPEWA FALLS — A 100-year-old red barn on the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds was being razed Tuesday, after wind damage made the structure too dangerous to remain in place, said fair director Rusty Volk.
“This is a very sad day,” Volk said. “While we have plans in the future to replace the barn, we wanted to do it in a structured way.”
The damage to the barn, located on the east side of the grounds, became apparent in the past two days, he said. During the middle of the day Tuesday, the entire roof shifted and moved. The walls immediately began to show signs of buckling.
“We had a lot of wind up here, and it just gave way,” Volk said. “We had some rafters that broke. We had board members up here and looked at it, and there is no way we can save it. The whole building has to come down.”
He added: “I’m sure the snow weight (over the winter) had a lot to do with it.”
Demolition work began Tuesday night and will continue today. Volk is requesting that the public stay away while the building is razed.
“We want to safeguard it,” he said. “We will try to salvage as much wood as possible.”
Volk brought in the demolition crew immediately because he doesn’t want the building to collapse on its own and possibly damage other nearby structures.
The red barn is the site of the big auction at the fair every year. Volk said with it already being mid-April, it is too late to have a new building erected in time for the fair, which takes place July 10-14.
“There is no way we could replace that in that time frame,” he said. “It wouldn’t meet our needs. We can expect tents during the fair.”
Volk said he now will turn to thinking of fundraising efforts to generate money to pay for replacing it.
“We will be looking for options and benefactors of what we can do, to make something happens,” Volk said.