Town receives grant to help Bolton Heritage Farm barn
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Bolton - posted Tue., Jun. 14, 2011
The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation recently awarded the town of Bolton a grant for stabilization work on the barn at the Bolton Heritage Farm, located at 186 Bolton Center Road. The grant of $5,000 will be matched by town funds, which were authorized previously through a town-wide vote. The barn grants were initiated in 2008 and can be used to fund condition assessment surveys, exploration of adaptive re-use options, feasibility studies, repairs or nominations to the state or national registers of historic places.
This is Bolton’s second grant award from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. In 2009, the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation gave the town its first grant for the barn, which was used to fund a condition survey. The work projects for stabilizing the barn have been based on that survey.
The barn’s foundation was stabilized on its north side. That work was completed by Charles Zeppa at the end of 2010. While building the new brick foundation, it became apparent that the sill and carrier beams needed attention, which will be done this summer or fall with the new barn grant funds.
Last year, the town also received $55,000 from the Connecticut Council on Culture and Tourism for the roof repair on the main barn and the cow barn, which was also matched by town funds. According to Sandy Pierog, chair of the Bolton Heritage Farm Commission, the town may need to chip in more than an equal share in order to completely fund the roofing project. The roof work will be done this summer, utilizing architectural shingles to replace the original wooden shingles.
On Sunday, June 12, state Rep. Pam Sawyer (R-55th District), First Selectman Bob Morra, Bolton Historical Society President John Toomey, Jeanne Webb and Pierog met at the farm for the presentation of the grant funds. Toomey and Webb are the Bolton representatives on the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.
Sawyer also presented a citation from the state’s General Assembly to the members of the Heritage Farm Commission for their hard work and steady leadership. “It’s that kind of long-term commitment that makes these things happen,” said Sawyer.
“On the town side,” said Morra, “it’s organizations like [the Heritage Farm Commission] that get projects done. This is really a great step forward. The Commission has done a great job.”
Speaking on behalf of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Webb said, “Our barn grant program is meant to preserve that unique village atmosphere.” In addition, she noted, “We are also trying to quantify the economic development opportunities of preserving these buildings.” Where possible, local businesses are hired for the preservation work, although it was noted that certain work is rather specialized and only a limited number of craftsmen are certified to work on historic buildings.
“The farm is very prominent real estate in the center of town, with significance archeologically and historically,” noted Pierog. The farm is the former home of the Rev. Jonathon Colton, Bolton’s founder. It is a state-designated archeological preserve and is virtually unchanged since the time of the Revolutionary War. It is also on the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, with Rochambeau’s troops camping on the property more than once. “One of the great things about the farm,” added Pierog, “is that it’s been in continual agricultural use since the 1700s,” and the town still leases out the hayfields.
The Heritage Farm Commission has also hosted a “Pennies for the Porch” campaign that raised $1,300 as matching funds for the repair of the porch on the farmhouse. Supplies for this campaign were purchased through a grant from the Rockville Bank.
The town acquired this property in 2000 and has slowly been working to stabilize the barn. The Rose Trail is situated on the property, both as a loop trail and with a leg that extends to the Hop River State Park Linear Trail (East Coast Greenway). A map of the trail can be downloaded from the Heritage Farm Commission’s page on the town’s website at bolton.govoffice.com.
During the week of Aug. 21 through 28, the town will celebrate Barn Heritage Week, which will feature a variety of activities at the Bolton Heritage Farm. Details will be available the beginning of July.