Everyday on my way to and from work I pass by an abandoned barn located on the northeast corner of 120th Street (County Road J) and U.S. Hwy 61. It is red, with a gambrel roof and an old metal cupola which I adore. Every weekend when we run errands we pass by it as well and it is well known by any regular traveler of 61 though Hugo and White Bear Township. As 120th Street/County Rd J is the divider between the two towns as well as the Washington and Ramsey county line, I have always considered it the greeter, or rather the landmark that lets me know I am almost home.
There was a farm house that went with it, but it suffered a fire years ago while it was being rented. A sign advertising shops “Coming Soon” has adorned the corner even before the farm house met its fate.
This winter my son and I noticed that the east wall was leaning quite a bit and began to take bets as to whether or not it would be taken down naturally by the wind or bulldozed. My son said it would be the wind and I always figured it would be a bulldozer making way for shops or removing what was maybe considered an eye-sore to many.
As we were coming back from seeing relatives in Bloomington this afternoon I let out a gasp as we crossed the county line and I saw the barn kneeling on one side. My wife thought something, perhaps a deer, was crossing the road in front of us until I said one word, “Barn.” She immediately looked over and was in shock. Our son was sleeping in the back of the car but when I later told him about the fate of the barn his eyes got big and he asked, “Really?”
After supper tonight we made a trip as a family to see it, pulling off to the side of 120th Street. I got out and snapped a few pictures, posting one on Facebook, and took a little video. My wife and son watched from the car.
I found it fitting tonight to look through a few of the pictures I took of the barn through the years. I was amazed to see that some of my first ones were from almost exactly two years ago, June 7, 2010, when I also shot a video of the railroad crossing across the highway. The barn is featured in the last 25 seconds of the video.
I can’t recall if I noticed it standing yesterday or even this morning. Every day kind of blends together and I may have been distracted as we passed. It couldn’t have fallen more than 24 hours before I saw it today. The cause of the fall is unknown to me as of yet. I’ll have to wait until The Citizen publishes the news, which I assume they will.