Effort underway to save historic barn

A last-ditch effort to save the barn formerly owned by Dr. E.E. Novak is being organized, with a relatively new resident leading the campaign.

Gail Hunt, who moved to New Prague about a year ago, is organizing an effort to find people interested in preserving the historic barn, which is scheduled to be torn down next month. The barn has been for sale for several years, and while several groups have expressed interest in saving the structure, no one has come forward.

The barn, south of Classic Grille & Bar on First Street SE, was built in the early 1900s by Dr. Novak, and housed his award-winning herd of Red Poll cattle. Novak was a physician who practiced in New Prague for nearly 60 years until his death in the mid-1960s.

Hunt said she saw the barn with a for sale sign last year and talked with owners LeRoy and Jean Geiger. She got the idea to form a group to save the structure based on an experience she had while living in Georgia. Her community established a railroad park, saving a historic train depot from possible demolition.

A meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at the New Prague City Hall Council Chambers. There will be an informational/brainstorming session to make a last-ditch effort to save the barn. Hunt lists a history/community/art center as one possible use.

Jelle DeBoef of Pine Island, a member of Friends of Minnesota Barns, a non-profit organization working to preserve and reuse historical barns, will speak.

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