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Landmark Recycled

The barn stood at the southern end of Pearrygin Lake since the very early 1900’s. Photo by Karen West.
Historic barn boards
headed for Shafer

A barn from the very beginning of the 1900’s has given up its boards for the Shafer Museum in Winthrop. What was known as ‘the Graves Barn’ or ‘the Al Hill Place’ at the southern end of Pearrygin Lake is now leveled. The old barn boards are in Winthrop, waiting to sheath a new Shafer Museum barn.

The new building will be constructed by modern standards, but the weathered barn boards will make it look right for the museum grounds as it holds old agricultural equipment and an office.

photo of men on lifts dismantling old barnPalm Construction brought two lifts to help tear down. Photo by Roxie Miller

The last piece of the high roof stood for a while against the summer sky before big equipment pulled it over. Photo by Roxie Miller

The barn was torn down in two days. Photo by Roxie Miller


The weathered exterior boards came off the old barn first. Then the workers “got to the bigger beams and rafters and the hand-hewn stuff,” said Roxie Miller. “Jerry Palm and his (contract) crew did all the high work,” using two lifts. The barn stood 38 feet high.

Monday, April 23, a Palm crew of three worked, aided by six volunteers for the museum, Miller said. On Tuesday, 10 volunteers helped. By Wednesday, the last of five loads of barn boards and timbers were headed for their new home across the street from Guy Waring’s log ‘palace’ in Winthrop.

A few boards have been set aside for possible display: they are branded. Presumably cowboys were practicing their branding on the barn before they turned to the cattle.

Final cleaning up took the big equipment as well as volunteers’ sweat. “The remains are all in a big pile in the center,” of the barn’s footprint, Miller said. She expects it to be burned.

One section of the barn was kept to be re-constructed—eventually--as a display at the museum. “We set that part aside,” Miller said. Right now the new building is plenty of work for Roxie, her husband Carl Miller and the other volunteers.

Local contractor Darold Brandenburg has already started constructing the footings for the new barn structure.

Winthrop man Tom Graves was raised on the family ranch where the demolished barn stood. Tom’s grandfather, Charles Graves, and his wife Clara came to the Methow Valley in 1899 from the Yakima area and took up a homestead at the south end of Pearrygin Lake, according to family history compiled by Dale Dibble for his book Methow Valley Pioneers. Members of Clara’s family had adjoining property on the east and west sides, which Charles Graves later purchased.

The couple had three children, including Charles “Josh” Graves, Jr., who moved to the ranch about 1925, the same year he married Emma Yockey. They expanded his dad’s original 160 acre homestead to 340 acres plus leased another 300 acres and raised cattle and hay. At one time he was named Farmer of the Year for his good range management.

The barn, last owned by Al Hill, stood on what is now Pearrygin Lake State Park lands.

Tearing down the old barn and raising the new is funded for the Shafer Museum by a bequest from the Rose Miller family.


Have a comment? >>

I loved the article. Nice work Sheela and especially Roxie & her "Crew".
Love the history articles. Thanks.

Don Ashford