Long before I moved to Cottage Grove, and even before I knew much about Cottage Grove, I had seen pictures of “Dr. Pierce’s Barn,” a local icon. Dr. Pierce’s barn was originally just a barn, built around 1900. In 1912, Dr. Pierce paid to have advertising for his pleasant pellets added, taking advantage of the barn’s location next the major north-south road through the valley.
At the time — the beginning of the automobile age — such advertisements were common. Now, given the decay of wood buildings and the 1960s Highway Beautification Act which, for a while, encouraged owners to paint over such signage, these types of historical treasures are rare. Today, they are even rarer, as in mid-September the owner of the Dr. Pierce Barn decided to remove the signage from the barn.
Personally, I find it unfortunate that someone who cared so little for a town’s history and community-identity would purchase such an important local landmark. But the fact remains that it is gone, and as I write this the rest of the barn is being dismantled as well.
Incidently, after a little Google research, I found mention of three other Dr. Pierce Barns in the local vicinity — all three in north Douglas County (two in Yoncalla — here and here — and one near Southerlin). These barns are now gone as well, but it leaves me to wonder how their histories were intertwined with the history of our own local structure.
The Dr. Pierce barn was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, and was the first barn to be listed there. To read the registration for the Barn and surrounding homestead, click here.