History of the Old Commercial Building
The “Old Commercial Building” as we know it was constructed right around WWII with used lumber and materials. It was built entirely by volunteers and has undergone several minor renovations over the years since. It was originally two lean-to structures that faced one another with tarps that covered the center. Fair board members and volunteers constructed the center gabled section in the 1940’s and covered it this corrugated tin. The walls were cedar and redwood planks. At some point the walls were covered over with metal sheeting which greatly reduced the drafty winds blowing through the building. Concrete was poured which replaced the wood shavings brought in each year to cover the bare ground. Gallons of paint have given the old building a cleaner look and the wood trusses and purlins have been patched to keep the building upright.
The Old Commercial Building has served the fair well over the years. Many fair attendees first mention the food when describing the fair and the row of food booths one sees when walking through the front gates are a welcoming site. Looking past the food booths, you can’t help but notice the large old barn structure that we call the Old Commercial Building. It’s old and impressive. It has the look and feel of a country barn that has seen more than its share of fair patrons strolling through. For virtually all us, the barn has always been there. We love it for its character and charm and the memories it holds over most of the 86 years of the fairs existence.
The Old Commercial Building is the iconic old barn that is the Caruthers Fair. It has personality and warmth. It reminds us of all the good things about a country fair and it looks and feels like an old barn should.
Time to Rebuild
It is important that we rebuild the Old Commercial Building.
It has withstood years of use with limited structural maintenance. Many of the posts, rafters and structural supports are 70 years old and some of this same structural wood was “previously used” when the barn was built. The barn has served us well but it is now time to replace the grand old structure. Bids for a new building have been sought and it is estimated that to replace the old building with one having the same character will cost in the neighborhood of $400,000.
The Caruthers Fair is proud of the fact that it has never received any sort of public assistance from the state or county in order to keep its gates open and admission free. All the buildings on the grounds are maintained by volunteers. Money earned by Queen Contestants and the Fair itself go back into the operation and maintenance of the grounds and facilities. If the Old Commercial Building is to be replaced, we will have to raise the money ourselves.
If you have enjoyed the fair over the years and treasure the old building, please help us in our ‘Barn Raising” efforts.
Your donation is tax deductible.