At this point in his life, Richard Kramer, 75, doesn’t need to set an alarm clock; his body reliably wakes him at 7 a.m. So he was startled when he woke to a loud boom at 4 a.m. on Thursday, which he mistook for a car crash.
For 20 years, Kramer’s view across the street has been an abandoned building on Broadway Avenue, between Laurel Street and Aspen Street in Reardan, Washington. The loud boom was the building’s roof finally collapsing to time and disrepair, Kramer said.
“Everything down in this area years ago had flat roofs,” Kramer said. “You gotta check the roof style, and I think what happened is them rafters in the roof got wet, and maybe dry-rotted, and away it came down.”
Owners have come and gone, but nobody has done anything with the property. According to Lincoln County MapSifter, the owner of the building is DeSpain Land & Cattle Co. The company could not be reached by press time.
As of the 2010 census, Reardan’s population was 571. Incorporated in 1903, Reardan was named for Central Washington Railroad engineer C.F. Reardan, and is the hometown of Native American author Sherman Alexie.
Dean’s Drive-In, to the left of the collapsed building, wasn’t open when the building collapsed. Around 8 a.m., some farmers who are regulars at the establishment came in for breakfast. Someone outside yelled that the building had collapsed, and they all ran outside to check it out, waitress Jaydn Landreth said.
Landreth’s mom has owned Dean’s for 23 years, but the restaurant has been around since the 1950s. The customers are mostly local farmers, but in the summer the huckleberry milkshakes draw people from out of town.
Landreth said most people work as farmers for HighLine Grain Growers, Inc., a grain company based out of Waterville, Washington. HighLine was a merging of five grain companies, including Reardan Grain Growers, where Kramer worked for 37 years.
“I’m just retired now,” Kramer said. “Well, I am tired.”
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