Slow down on horse barn removal | Editorial

The San Juan Fairgrounds horse barn is scheduled to be torn down. We agree with the islanders who say, let’s slow down and talk about this.

Once the barn is demolished we won’t be able to rebuild it, and it will lose its historical significance forever.

Historical buildings are a valuable gateway to our past and can tell us stories about our culture.

Our islands have a background that involves agriculture, as many early settlers were drawn to the San Juans’ temperate weather and rich soil.

The 100 Friends of Old Island Barns and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation summed it up best on their website: “The barns of San Juan County are a visual testimony to the rich history of island farming.”

You can see stunning photos and information about the barns in our islands at

According to the Historic Barns of San Juan Island, the horse barn was built to be part of the fairgrounds in 1924 while a southern addition was added later.

We strongly agree with a citizens’ request to have a preservationist create a report on the barn and its history for record keeping and a plan to retain useable wood. Read more about this story on page 1.

We also support the creation of a permanent barn memorial – not just to remember this one building, but to pay homage to San Juan pioneers.

Chuck Palahniuk wrote, “We’ll be remembered more for what we destroy than what we create.”

As we build more and as more people come to the islands, we have to take into account what we are losing as we move forward.

It’s not just structures built by men but our natural resources and the flora and the fauna. We may not have the power to save endangered species or end climate change, but we can take a bit longer to ponder the significance of this barn.