Brookline Historical Society to host barn’s open house
Friday, March 22, 2013
BROOKLINE – The Brookline Historical Society is outgrowing its current space and they’ve been doing something about it.
They have raised a barn and plan to have an Open House for the public from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday March 30, to show it off. The barn will be open for viewing and there will be displays, refreshments and a presentation by Scott Grzyb, an active Brookline Historical Society member, on the barn’s past and plans for its future use as an educational focal point for the town.
Raising the barn required the Historical Society to develop a business plan and then raise the $60,000 needed for costs. It is estimated that an additional $60,000-$70,000 will be needed to complete the project.
The building has its own interesting history. Grzyb donated the frame from a barn that his business did not need. The original frame had come from New Hampshire, but it had been dismantled and stored for 10 years. Funds were raised to get the frame to Brookline where it was raised by a building company with the use of large cranes.
“It was a big event,” Grzyb said of the barn’s construction. “Not being Amish, it took about us about a week and one half to get the frame up, and once it was fully erected we then worked to close it in.”
The barn raising is a community event with many people pitching in. Locals have donated time, resources and talent to get things going. Area residents have even donated trees from their properties to be used in the barn’s construction. The trees are processed by Brookline lumber mill, Bingham Lumber, and have been used in the siding. But even more trees are still needed.
“We’re specifically looking for red pine for the flooring” said Marcia Farwell, Brookline Historical Society member.
Situated behind the Society’s current location on Meetinghouse Road, the barn measures 32 feet by 48 feet. Once completed, the building will serve as a display and educational facility for the town’s overflowing collection of artifacts, including those from “The World’s Largest Ice House Under One Roof,” a local Brookline company that boasted it was the world’s largest ice house under one roof. Also included in the displays will be the town’s valuable collection of vintage memorabilia and hundreds of other items. The barn would also serve as a public meeting place for town clubs and organizations.
Many of the ice house artifacts have been found and restored by Joe King, a Brookline resident who is a master scuba diver instructor. King helps train local fire and police departments on diving and has more than 200 ice dives under his belt.
Farwell had read an article about King and contacted him, wondering if he’d be interested in diving in Fresh Pond where the ice house business had been located. King walked around the pond and when he saw that railroad tracks ran directly into the water he said he was hooked on the idea. He put his diving gear on and has been recovering and mapping the location of artifacts ever since. Many of these artifacts include the tools used to cut and haul large chunks of ice and are currently on display at the Historical Society building.
Stressing its own place in history, the barn houses an original slaughter wheel, a device used to raise animals for slaughtering. While there are no plans to use the wheel in slaughtering livestock, it has been kept in the barn as an important reminder of how things used to be.
There are opportunities for people to donate time and resources every Saturday morning from 9 a.m.-noon.
There are also jobs open to volunteers, including sorting lumber, shoveling snow and helping with the landscaping.
“We’ll keep them busy,” said David Fessenden, president of the Historical Society.
The barn is framed and has a foundation. There are plans to install the insulation by late spring and then the windows needed for the design.
“The plan is to have the barn completely finished before 2019, which is the 250th anniversary of Brookline,” said Fessenden, who then left to fetch a shovel from his home so that they could dig up a spot.
The Brookline Historical Society is looking for barn-raising sponsors. Visit the Barn Raising Project page at www.brooklinehistory.org and download the Donation Form or contact David Fessenden through the website.