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Murray County raising funds to restore cattle barn

Ongoing restoration work on the cattle barn on the Murray County Fairgrounds in Slayton includes new exterior siding, a new roof, straightening, electrical work and new cement flooring. Submitted photo1 / 3
The interior of the cattle barn on the Murray County Fairgrounds in Slayton is getting a new look this spring as work continues to repair the century-old building. Submitted photo2 / 3
This photo, taken during the Murray County Fair in 2012, shows the condition of the livestock barn on the fairgrounds. The barn is undergoing a restoration project. Submitted photo3 / 3

SLAYTON — A 100-year-old cattle barn on the Murray County Fairgrounds in Slayton is undergoing a major facelift, thanks to generous donations from several local 4-H clubs, businesses, organizations and individuals.

The barn, believed to have been constructed in 1914, served as Murray County’s first livestock building on the fairgrounds. Located in the center of the grounds, the building has housed general livestock for many years during the fair, according to Murray County Community Relations Coordinator Christy Riley.

After a century of use, the barn had some structural problems, said Murray County Fair Board President Stan Larson.

“A lot of the exterior walls were rotted away … and the beams in the middle were rotted and causing the roof to sag,” Larson explained on Monday. “Now, it’s all been straightened up and the lines are square.”

The Barn Doctors, a barn restoration company from Slayton, is doing the work.

Larson said there was never a question about whether to restore the barn or build new. The fairgrounds has other historical features, including a round barn.

“I think, all along, people wanted to keep it,” he said. “One thing about old buildings, they’re very nice to look at. It’s also one of the best buildings to have livestock in.”

With the wood frame structure acting as an insulator, Larson said the cattle stay cooler inside, as opposed to a metal pole building that radiates heat.

Now that the barn straightening has been completed and new siding installed on the exterior, Larson said contractors have the cement work to complete inside the barn, while handicap-accessible sidewalks will be poured to connect the cattle barn with the blue commercial building on the fairgrounds.

Once the cement floor is completed inside the barn, tongue-in-groove planks will be used to create divider walls. Electrical work, installation of the doors and some exterior siding work has yet to be completed as well.

Meanwhile, the fair board continues to accept donations to help defray the cost of the restoration. Larson said the fundraising goal is $40,000.

“The fair has already received generous donations from the community members and businesses. However, there is still more to do,” said Justin Hoffmann, Murray County Fairgrounds director, in a press release.

As of April 1, more than $30,000 had been donated to the Murray County Cattle Barn Restoration Project. Donors who give more than $100 toward the restoration will be recognized on a banner to be revealed during the Murray County Fair 4-H Cattle Show this summer.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the restoration project may send a check (write “cattle barn project” in the memo) to the Murray County Fair, P.O. Box 96, Slayton, MN. 56172.

Larson expressed appreciation to those who have already donated and those who plan to contribute. He anticipates donations will continue to come in during the Murray County Fair in August.

The fundraising goal covers about one-fourth to one-third of the restoration costs, Larson said, adding that the work completed thus far “looks wonderful.”

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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