Volunteers continue to come forward to help complete the Historical Society’s barn project at the Kiersted House on Main St. A workday is planned for Saturday, April 27 starting at 7 a.m. The plan is to have the barn sided by sundown.
It’s taken about 10 years for the historical society to get to this point, from the time the barn was donated by the Solite Company on Kings Highway, said Marjorie Block, Village of Saugerties historian. The barn had been left to deteriorate on the Solite property. The barn had been slated for demolition. The Historical Society, with help from State Senator John Bonacic and a $10,000 grant, was able to buy the barn, which was then carefully disassembled. The parts were labeled for reassembly. Bonacic was a participant in the framing work, and was able to secure authentic beams for the framing, Block said.
The barn was built in 1760. The Kiersted House was built in 1727.
“It was of the era and would have been the type of barn that would have been there,” Block said.
Most recent to volunteer are members of the Blue Kats, a local men’s service club, and former Town Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel, who will be supplying food for the workers.
Block said local builder and carpenter Howard Post will be bringing his crew to assist the volunteers with the siding efforts.
“We plan on having four teams of four members each so that all the sides can be put up at the same time,” Block said.
Efforts to get the barn completed picked up speed last month after members of the local artist studio tour said they wanted to hold a photo exhibit there.
Speaking to Helsmoortel’s volunteering to supply the food, Block said it’s not a political move, even though Helsmoortel has declared his intent to run for town supervisor, a post he held for 12 years before being defeated in 2011 by Kelly Myers.
“He’s always been a strong supporter of the Historical Society,” Block said. “His parents were original members of the Historical Society, and he is a member of the Blue Kats and has worked to get them involved in the project as well.”
Also donating food will be Matt Gleason, owner of Brine Barrel Pickles.
Originally Block had been looking for volunteers to cook the food, but now she is asking anyone who might like to volunteer to contact Helsmoortel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone wishing to help with the artist tour’s volunteers should contact Michael Nelson, who is head of the tour at his email at email@example.com. Those who would like to volunteer with the barn should call Block at 246-0784.
Block says a barn on the property will make the Kiersted House more historically accurate. Over the years, the Historical Society has conducted a number of archeological studies on the property and discovered the remains of three foundations, one of which was a barn. The others are believed to have been a hothouse and some other type of outbuilding, Block said.
Before the project could move forward, the Historical Society needed state and federal approval since the Kiersted House is on the National Register of state and national historic sites.
“We had to show that when putting up the barn there would be zero impact on the site,” Block said. “Also a number of the beams that had deteriorated into a bad condition needed to be repaired before we could put the barn up. It’s been a long and costly process.”
The total cost is estimated to be a little more than $5,000. Thanks to an anonymous donor, who put up $2,000 last week, and other donations made at Sawyer Savings Bank, the $5,000 has been reduced to less than $3,000.
Another fundraiser, a spaghetti dinner, will be held on April 7 at Sue’s Restaurant. Tickets are $12.