COLLEGE WARD -- Evan Stevenson can pull the flaking paint right off the letters plastered on the side of his weathered 107-year-old barn.
Just like that, "Dr. Pierce's Favorite Prescription" could peel away and vanish.
But never fear, this iconic sign won't be left to fade into obscurity. After all, quips caretaker Stevenson, "I don't believe in being hung."
Travelers and locals alike, you see, are pretty attached to this piece of barn art.
"Not only that, I love it, " Stevenson adds. "I think it's great."
What would Cache Valley be, after all, without its famed Dr. Pierce barn? It's a landmark for drivers heading to and from Logan on U.S. 89-91 who pull over daily to point and shoot "The Woman's Tonic -- Dr. Pierce's Favorite Prescription."
"Most people are quite respectful and stick to the roadside," says Matt, who didn't want to give his last name but lives on the farm with his wife, Michelle, who is Stevenson's granddaughter.
A few visitors do tromp through the field to get a closer look, or ask to see the inside of the 1904 structure.
And pretty much everyone wants to know about the "tonic" and the story of this Dr. Pierce.
The tonic -- "Dr. Pierce's Favorite Prescription" -- was a late 19th and early 20th century cure-all for any and all ailments of women, Matt says.
Stevenson holds out an old, empty green glass bottle of the elixir and adds, "They say 'A baby in every bottle,' so if you take a shot of this you've got to be pretty careful."
Dr. Pierce was Ray Vaughn Pierce, owner of a huge Buffalo, N.Y., mail-order company offering medicines ranging from "Dr. Pierce's Pleasant Pellets" for liver problems, to "Dr. Pierce's Golden Medical Discovery," for everything from upset stomachs to tuberculosis.
Think of the old traveling salesman, standing at the back of a wagon, peddling his wares, says Stevenson. "I think he probably fit the time," says the Logan man.
Pierce, a state senator and congressman, founded a sanitarium in Buffalo where the Sundance Kid was once a patient in the early 1900s.
The good doctor advertised his products in newspapers nationwide -- and then, on the sides of barns.
"They used to dot the country from what I understand; they used to be a very common thing to see on a barn," Matt says.
Stevenson says he doesn't know the exact date the sign was painted on the College Ward barn, built by Swiss farmers Lovenus and Mary Olsen. They received a $25 initial payment and then $10 a year afterward for the use of their barn as a "billboard."
There are Dr. Pierce barns in Oregon, California, Washington and New York, but there's also another one in Cache Valley, on U.S. 89-91 in Richmond, north of Logan.
The Richmond barn is harder to see from the road, Stevenson says, whereas the College Ward barn is a "natural" in terms of its location.
When Stevenson's son Gary purchased the 15-acre property in 1997, the barn was in poor condition.
"A good, stiff breeze would take that barn down," says Stevenson, adding that the structure was 3 1/2 feet out of plumb.
Residents of College Ward volunteered to help straighten and stabilize the landmark structure.
"They're all a part of this. It's not just us because we own it; they're in the community and it's part of them," Stevenson says.
For decades, residents of the valley have used the barn to navigate -- "Turn a block past the Dr. Pierce barn" -- and travelers have marked their way by the roadside attraction.
The barn is good to stand another 100 years, but is due for repainting next year. And Stevenson says he needs to find just the right person to do that job.
"We have to get somebody who knows how to paint it old," he says, because, "you don't paint an old barn new, you paint an old barn old."