Dam Store demolished from Rapidan Dam riverbank, couldn't be saved

The Dam Store was demolished on Friday after more than a week of erosion along the riverbank where it previously sat. (FOX 9)

Blue Earth County took possession of the Dam Store building on Friday, demolishing the structure from the riverbank at the Rapidan Dam. 

The store was left standing, but threatened by rapid erosion, after the Hruska family house fell into the Blue Earth River this week. Ultimately, a deal was reached with the family, and the store was demolished.

On Thursday, June 27, Blue Earth County employees worked with the Hruska family and their friends to remove the bar, chairs, tables, booths, kitchen appliances, and memorabilia from the building.

Significant erosion continued overnight Thursday into Friday, putting the Dam Store building at a greater risk to be lost to the river. In an effort to protect other properties downstream and lessen environmental impact, Blue Earth County presented a purchase agreement to the Hruska family so the building could be removed.

Why couldn't the Dam Store be saved?

Erosion worsened on the west bank of the Blue Earth River in recent days, claiming trees, parts of the campground roadway and several feet of ground. A contractor was brought onsite to explore options to move the Rapidan Dam Store building, but they determined a relocation project would be too dangerous to attempt.

"The Dam Store was an integral part of the community and remains embedded in the memories of many residents," county officials said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the Hruska family and everyone close to them."

How to help

The house and the dam store stood along the river for more than 100 years.

The business and the pies have been synonymous with the Hruska family since the 1970s.

"It feels like a death to our family and we’re waiting for the last piece to die off," said Shannon Whittet earlier this week when the river claimed the house.

They have started a GoFundMe page to do that and to rebuild the family home. 

Timeline of Rapidan Dam emergency

On Sunday evening, June 23, the dam exhibited high flows and additional debris, but still displayed adequate capacity. 

Around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, June 24, notice was issued that there was water overlapping the dam. Around 3 a.m., notifications were sent to regulatory agencies per requirements of the dam Emergency Action Plan.

On Tuesday, June 23 at 9:45 a.m., the county reported the Dam House fell into the river.

On Wednesday, June 26, the county was able to remove a structure from the property on the west side of the dam to prevent additional debris entering into the river. On Thursday morning, June 27, the county pavilion was removed for the same reasons. 

On Friday, June 28, the county took possession of the Dam Store an removed the structure from the riverbank.

Blue Earth County Public Works, Emergency Management and Sheriff’s Office continue to monitor the Rapidan Dam situation.