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April 25, 2013
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Owner of historic Peter Weaver barn in Days Creek asks to tear it down

DAYS CREEK — The owner of a barn listed on the National Register of Historic Places wants permission to tear down the structure.

In a petition to the Douglas County Historic Resource Review Committee, Trudy Wentland says the Peter Weaver barn on the east side of Days Creek Cutoff Road has deteriorated to the point it poses a danger to workers on the 619-acre ranch two miles west of Days Creek.

The section of roof has collapsed, allowing water to enter the barn. The cost of repairing the barn would be prohibitive, and the risk of the structure collapsing makes it impractical to leave it standing, Wentland said.

“I fear that someone could get hurt,” she said.

The committee will take up the matter at 3 p.m. Friday during a meeting at the Canyonville Fire Department, 400 N. Main St.

The Douglas County Planning Department has recommended approving Wentland’s application, based upon the potential safety hazard and the costs of repairing the structure.

“I can’t imagine they won’t allow me to do it,” Wentland said Wednesday.

She said she has talked with a company that would take down the barn, reusing as much salvaged wood as possible to make furniture.

The barn was designed and built by architects Narcissus Jungereau and Dave Dumont, with construction completed in 1888, according to the 1984 historic register application submitted by Wentland’s father, Willis Campbell. The barn was designed in the English style, which features two large sliding doors in the center of the structure.

The barn’s timbers, beams and braces were hand hewn and fitted without nails. The only nails used in the barn’s construction — handcrafted by a Canyonville blacksmith — were used to secure roof shingles, hang the sliding doors and attach one-inch vertical cedar strips to the timbers.

The barn was used to store hay, feed and grain and to stable horses. In the 1940s, then-owner Wade Worthington converted the horse stalls into a milking parlor. He also added a lean-to and crude concrete slab to the north side of the barn to provide shelter for dairy cows.

At the time of the 1984 application, the barn was described as in “very sound structural condition.” However, some of the floor boards were damaged after the sliding doors were removed and rain came into the barn.

Campbell, who bought the property in 1982 and left it to his children, had planned to refurbish the barn, but that work was never undertaken.

Peter Weaver bought the property in 1879. His parents had come to the United States from Germany and settled in Ohio. Sometime before 1863, one of Weaver’s brothers, John, came west on the Oregon Trail and settled in Canyonville. Peter Weaver and several siblings later followed and pooled their money to buy the property. At one time, the family owned much of the land on the south side of the South Umpqua River between Canyonville and Days Creek.

The ranch also includes a Victorian house built in 1897 that is also on the national register.

• You can reach reporter John Sowell at 541-957-4209 or by email at jsowell@nrtoday.com.


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The News-Review Updated Apr 25, 2013 02:59PM Published Apr 26, 2013 05:44PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.