Mayview Barn Bites the Dust

Demolition starts on an Upper St. Clair landmark.

The curious, the nostalgic and the heavy-hearted gathered Thursday afternoon to watch the spectacle.

Like a couple of angry land-bound birds silhouetted against the sun, two mammoth backhoes feasted on a piece of Upper St. Clair history, consigning it to nothing more than memory.

Demolition of the Mayview Barn started pretty much as advertised, right after the outdoor pool at the nearby Community and Recreation Center closed for the season. Heavy equipment brought by contractor Dom Folino Construction lumbered along the barn’s wings on Thursday, tearing asunder the roofs, façades and everything in between.

“It’s been tough on Preston,” said observer Annette Shimer, referring to her husband, who led an effort to save the structure. Unfortunately for him, one of Preston Shimer’s final acts in office was voting against the barn’s destruction while his colleagues authorized it.

When discussion started on a master plan for Boyce Mayview Park, the building served as a potential centerpiece for whatever might transpire. Eventually, the multimillion-dollar CRC rose in the barn’s shadow, and the cost of preserving it was deemed to be prohibitive.

Perhaps the barn, which once served the agricultural needs of Mayview State Hospital and similar facilities in western Pennsylvania, had become an anachronism in the midst of the 21st-century recreational grandeur that has sprung up around it. But perhaps a bit more appreciation of history and a bit less for state-of-the-art amenities might have saved the venerable edifice.

As it stands, the contractor is ending any speculation for the bargain price of just under $80,000, well under what the township budgeted and a small fraction of the estimated cost to reuse the barn.

So if you’re in the area during the next few days, take a look while you still can.

Sure, plenty of photos and reminders of the Mayview Barn will survive. But that’s never quite the same as the real thing.

The writer is a 21-year resident of Upper St. Clair.

Jacqueline Dowden September 07, 2012 at 10:57 PM
a beautiful structure that should have been saved at any cost. Wish I could have had a vote!
Roger September 08, 2012 at 12:58 AM
What was the cost to restore, $5M? I seem to recall that amount being during the discussions about the future. Yes, lots of people like Jacqueline, Mary Ann, and Nancy, but words of sadness never produced one dime to do the restoration.
B September 08, 2012 at 11:11 AM
Roger is right. Te cost to restore was astronomically high and would probably still be near what a new structure would bring. If the barn were worthwhile to be restored, it would have happened. It it were a true lank mark then it would have been designated so. With that said, it 'would' have been cool if they stayed green like the London olympics did when tearing down old buildings and re-use as much of the brick as possible rather than dispose of it.
crystal September 08, 2012 at 06:15 PM
How was the asbestos abated during demolition?
Larry Burke September 10, 2012 at 12:52 AM
One of the reasons for demolition is to make room for an olympic pool. The barn area will be filled in to shift the road road over and make room for the new pool. Included in the 2014 is a tentative $3 million for project. The last time USC wanted to bild a pool, it was put to a referendum, (not counting the CRC set of pools). Considering the cost, I think it should be put to a referendum this time also


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