It’s up, and it’s good!

Pete Seeger at last weekend’s barn-raising. (Photo by Phyllis McCabe)

It takes a whole village to raise a barn. On Saturday, it took a whole village, plus Pete Seeger, to frame a 4,600-square-foot, two-story barn which will serve as the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater’s Kingston Home Port and Education Center.

By the end of the day’s events, performances from the Ulster Ancient Order of Hibernians’ bagpipe and drum corps, the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston (POOK), Clearwater’s Power of Song and guest musicians — and of course, Pete Seeger — the barn was entirely framed and a new era for Kingston’s downtown began in earnest.

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The barn is a collaboration between Rondout mainstay Hudson River Maritime Museum and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater to house the famed sloop for the winter months and serve as space for the museum’s programming in the summer months. The sloop, launched in 1966 by Seeger and others to bring awareness to the need to clean up the befouled Hudson River, had previously wintered in Saugerties.

The project, announced at last year’s River Day celebration, comes in at a cool $1.2 million with $900,000 already secured through grants and donations. Architect Allan Shope, president of the Clearwater board of directors, said the 64 foot by 36 foot timber frame structure with natural cedar siding and dark green trim and doors was designed to reflect the general architecture seen along the Rondout creek, including the Cornell building and the Steel House.  He referred to it, tongue-in-cheek, as “Late Kingston Industrial Style.”

According to Clearwater Executive Director Jeff Rumpf, the barn was constructed from wood reclaimed from specially milled Iroko and Red Oak, collected and donated by volunteers from trees felled by Hurricane Irene. Starting at 5 a.m. numerous hard-hatted workers, bee-like in their intensity, put up the barn frame with impressive efficiency. Later in the day, those on hand, led by Seeger, pitched in for a ceremonial carrying of joists over to the barn site.

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