Dutch barn nears completion

Bring your hammer on April 20 and help side the old Dutch barn behind the Kiersted House. (photo by Robert Ford)

Bring your hammer on April 20 and help side the old Dutch barn behind the Kiersted House. (photo by Robert Ford)

Fundraising to finish the old Dutch barn at the Kiersted House has kicked into high gear. Organizers hope to raise $5,000 to put up walls onto the historic structure in the next few months.

The catalyst was an exhibit of photos from last year’s July 4 parade that a group of local photographers wanted to hold at the barn.

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“The 11 photographers came to me and said they wanted to open a showing of their photos in the old barn,” said village historian Marjorie Block. “I told them, ‘But there are no walls on the barn’ and then took them outside since it’s the sort of thing that you have to see, and said, ‘See, no walls.’”

It could have ended there. No walls, no place to hang photos. But that’s when things got interesting. Block and several of the artists spread the word: they needed walls, could anyone help out?

This being Saugerties, the answer was yes.

On March 11, Sawyer Savings Bank on Market St. will began a fundraising effort, accepting donations and placing the names of donors on a paper replica of the barn.

Lucky Chocolates owner Rae Stang and artist Carol Zaloom are teaming up on another project. Zaloom will create a print of the barn and Stang will use it as a model for chocolate barns to be sold at her shop, with a portion of the proceeds going to the barn restoration project.

Saugerties elementary school teachers will donate the proceeds from their “dress-down Friday fund” to the cause. (Each Friday, teachers who want to dress casually must make a donation to a fund benefiting a local cause.)

Sue’s Restaurant, which is owned by Town Board member Fred Costello and his family, will hold a spaghetti and meatball dinner on April 7 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $12 each and are on sale this week.

And finally, a benefit Penny Social will be held at the Senior Center at noon on March 16.

“I have been so touched by the support from the community,” Block said.

Block has also applied for a grant from the Dutchess County Arts Council to get lights for the interior of the barn, “so we can turn it into an exhibition space.”

“A local electrician will be donating his time to install the wiring when we get the grant,” Block added.

Previous help included materials from Saugerties Lumber and an excellent deal on the foundation from Solid Rock Masonry.

“Our strength is partnering with people,” said Block. “All of these fundraising efforts really shows you what Saugerties is all about.”

Block said anyone with construction experience who wants to donate their time should come to the barn April 20. It’s behind the Kiersted House, 119 Main St.

Begun by the Saugerties Historical Society nine years ago, the barn project will see a fully-restored 18th-century barn on the site that originally had three.

The barn itself was formerly located in Mount Marion. About 10 years ago, the historical society heard the owner of the property was planning on tearing it down. After some negotiating, and a $10,000 state grant, thanks to Dutch barn enthusiast and state Sen. John Bonacic, the society was able to disassemble the barn, carefully numbering all the pieces and storing them for future assembly at the historic Kiersted House, the society’s headquarters.

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