Those Super Structures

March 10, 2020
drewnorton's picture

“Those Super Structures” is just one section of the book: Our State Fair – Iowa’s Blue Ribbon Story. This history book describes the Iowa State Fair from the very beginning in 1854 through 2000 (The year the book was published). Each time I flip through the pages, I learn something new. Today’s lesson: the Livestock Pavilion.

Originally, livestock was housed primarily in temporary sheds and pens. In 1885 - 10 horse barns, 10 cattle barns, roofless swine pens and sheepcotes were built. There were also 50 wells, which supplied enough water for both stock and visitors. The frame barns were on the south end of the Fairgrounds, close to the railroad lines, which is how animals got to the Fair.

The barns were built in a circle, with each being equally distant from the show ring in the center. The structures were hastily built on a tight budget and maintenance became more and more common. In 1902, a massive building campaign included new barns that were built in phases, from 1902-1936.

One of those newly constructed buildings was the Livestock Pavilion. The Pavilion was the first masonry building on the Fairgrounds. It was used for 101 years and just like described in the book, repairs were needed. Renovations to the dilapidated building were completed in time for the 2003 Iowa State Fair thanks to an $800,000 donation by Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino. In 2007, Bob and Marilyn Schlutz gave a $125,000 to add air-conditioning to the building. 

Fast forward 13 more years, there are two restrooms inside the Pavilion that need attention. The Blue Ribbon Foundation has already secured a $30,000 grant from Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino. The Foundation is asking you to join the T.A.G. Team to make this project happen. Through the support of corporate and individual donors, together we can make improvements that all Iowa State Fairgoers can enjoy.

For a $250 donation, the first 100 donors will be accepted into this unique group. Your name will be listed as a key player to the renovation project and you will receive a commemorative pin to denote your membership for 2020. Donate now to join the Blue Ribbon Foundation as a member of the T.A.G. Team.




Interested in learning more about the Iowa State Fair's history? Pick up your copy of "Our State Fair - Iowa's Blue Ribbon Story".