TWIN FALLS • Over the past several years, folks driving on Pole Line Road West have watched a century-old dairy barn slowly collapse under the heavy weight of neglect.
Strong winds Saturday night finally brought an end to the old Tegan barn on 2300 East, west of town.
“This is terrible, just terrible,” barn enthusiast Tom Gilbertson said in disbelief as he stood in front of the pile of rubble.
Painted white with striking red details, the Tegan barn was a prominent landmark. With its roof and eaves warped into waves, it was a favorite subject of photographers for the last year or so.
Gilbertson, founder of the Historic Barn Society of Magic Valley and who had once hoped the barn could be restored, raced to photograph it Sunday as soon as he heard the news.
“It’s a tragic thing,” he told the Times-News.
The owner, who lives out of town, won’t make any decisions about the barn until her insurance company reviews the claim, property manager Mindi Werner said Monday.
The barn was built in about 1915 by David Detweiler, a Pennsylvania Dutch sheep man.
“I remember hearing they made beer in the basement of the barn,” said Detweiler’s granddaughter Jonnie Webb, 86, of Carmel, Calif.
Webb and her brother Stan, 79, of Twin Falls, never got a chance to play in the barn.
“Grandpa lost it in the Crash,” she said.
In the late 1940s, Howard Tegan and his wife, Arlee, bought the Detweiler property and ran cattle on the ranch.
“The barn was built to milk cows, but we raised feeder cattle,” said Arlee Tegan, 97. Tegan sold the barn in 2004.
The barn had sagged against a large cattle scale that the Tegans installed. The scale appeared to be all that held it up — until Saturday night.
The news of its collapse “was pretty devastating to her,” said Tegan’s daughter Sandy Vickers.
Neighbor Duane Ramseyer had driven by the barn all his life.
“I noticed it really started to lean more in the last weeks,” Ramseyer said. He’d kept a close eye on the barn since it started to list to the south.
“It was the prettiest barn around.”