Plans for restoring The
Smiley Barn have been submitted to the city of Delafield
by Summit businesswoman Maria Luther.
DELAFIELD — The May 30th Plan Commission meeting is
likely to be unusual and possibly controversial.
Summit businesswoman Maria Luther says she will be
handing out “Smiley Barn” T-shirts and there will be
citizens supporting her efforts to put the smile back on
the iconic Smiley Barn building near the northwest
corner of the Hwy 83/Interstate-94 interchange.
decades, The Smiley Barn was a regional landmark for
both residents and travelers because of the big smile
painted on the barn-shaped building adjacent to the
the early 2000s, new owners of the building removed the
Luther recently purchased the building and has asked the
city’s permission to restore the big smile.
has a filed permit application that depicts a large pair
of eyes above a giant smile on the eastern and western
ends of the building that will be painted yellow.
thin aluminum eyes and smile will be painted a black
texture with white trim.
Next to the smile on the barn’s silo is a mural
depicting a giant candy jar. Luther is planning to open
a toy and candy store that will appropriately be called
“The Smiley Barn.”
“There is no point in naming it anything else because
everyone is going to be referring to it as The Smiley
Barn,” she told The Freeman.
However, city officials have to wrestle with some legal
issues before determining whether to allow the smile to
be restored to the building.
city code restricts the size of advertising based on the
square footage of the building upon which the sign is
giant smile is considered advertising signage and is
larger than the code permits, according to City Planner
Dupler said the Common Council will have to grant an
exemption to the code to permit the smile’s restoration.
Plan Commission will have an opportunity to make a
recommendation since it reviews controversial signage
proposals. For the past month, Luther has mounted a
social media and petition campaign soliciting support
from city residents to have the smile restored to The
Past and present city officials cannot explain how the
original smile was approved although there is some
speculation that the sign was erected before the city
imposed existing signage regulations.
city enforces its zoning and building codes based on
complaints and no one apparently ever complained about
the cheerful sign.
Plan Commission and Common Council will be considering
whether to grant an exemption for the smile at about the
same time they are considering whether to waive city
regulations on new downtown buildings.
Hendricks Commercial Properties wants to build two
four-and-a-half story buildings on the northwest corner
of Main and Genesee streets.
the city adopts the proposed plans, the council will
have to waive code restrictions on the height of the
buildings, the number of floors and the distance the
buildings are set back from sidewalks.
Similar code exemptions were granted for the
construction of Delafield Square in 2006, which is on
the southwest corner of the intersection.