HVVA NEWSLETTER, November 2004
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HVVA Newsletters


Wednesday, October 13 with Alvin Sheffer, we drove to Sand Lake, Rensselaer County, to see a barn for which the owner on August 31, was given notice of code violations, stating the barn is unsafe, and the town of Sand Lake demands it be torn down by the end of December. The owner is working to find someone who will take the frame down for parts or restoration.

A report dated September 21 by a structural engineer, Donald W Montgomery, from nearby RPI, describes the frame accurately and believes it is not a danger on private land and that the town's order is illegal.

We agreed with the owner, his lawyer and the engineer, that the town was not legally correct in its order of demolition, and that despite its condition the barn is on private property and not endangering the public. We saw another barn nearby that was in worse condition and the town had not sent it a notice. The owner of the condemned barn, Earl Karl, grew up on this large hilly farm that his family bought in the late 19th century. He maintains the small frame house across the road.

This 3-bay side-entrance full basement bank barn, approximately 40 by 50-feet, is a modification of the Dutch 3-aisle barn frame with raising holes and columns supporting purlins. Its main floor, above the basement, has a side entrance from a stone bank onto the threshing floor. Its side bays originally served as two story hay mows. The barn was later converted to a dairy operation. Its pole rafters butt at the peak and the hewn frame is of pine and hemlock. It would seem to date circa 1850.

The barn has a standing seam metal roof that has saved most of the frame till now and will likely help it survive the winter. One corner post is missing and the end wall columns are without support. This end is being held primarily by one corner post, the purlin of the missing column, and the original unpainted 8-inch weatherboard siding.

The building certainly looks salvageable. It would be a good thing if someone took an interest in it. We suggested a number of names of local people who might be. Some names Earl already had.
Contact Earl H. Karl (518) 456-4331 <smozzi@allmerica.com>

Friday, October 29 I went to Pine Plains to visit the Brush House. (see: HWA Newsletter July 1999, page 4.) This log house is thought to have been built about 1775. It was acquired in 1999, by the Little Nine Partners Historical Society, Soon after, it suffered a fire that damaged its loft. Work by Bob Hedges and John Coppell have begun the restoration of this two room center hall house that may represent the first house in Pine Plaines and certainly of a type of pioneer dwelling of which almost none survive. It was later sided with weather boards, but on the interior, its log structure, hardware and many features are unaltered. One immediate task is to restore the original jambed fireplaces. This is being done by pushing the sagging, mud mortared masonry back in shape.

FROM THE EDITOR: Chris Lindner and his crew from Bard College have begun the archaeology of the back wall of the Palatine Farmstead house in Rhinebeck. This will be followed by rebuilding the stone foundation and repairing the framework above it. It has helped confirm the 1750 date of the frame that may originally have served as the cordwainer's (leatherworker's) workshop. The restoration is being sponsored by a $25,000 matching grant from the State. Last weekend, the Palatine Farmstead Committee raised $3,000 of this at a fundraiser with a talk by Sung Bok Kim, Distinguished Service Professor of History SUNY at Albany, in the nearby stone church. This was followed by,a high tea in the village. Dr. Kim spoke about landlord and tenant relations in Colonial New York.

The Annual Meeting of the Dutch Barn Preservation Society will be held at 2:00 PM Saturday, November 20 at the Bevier House in Marbletown, home of the Ulster County Historical Society at 2682 Route 209, what some called "The Old Mine Road." or the "Minnisink Road" We will assemble at the Bevier House at 9:30 AM and we will visit, the large Dutch barn nearby on the Andreas DeWitt farm, which like the Bevier farm, was established early in the development of the Esopus colony, what would be named "Wiltwyck" (wild place) by the Dutch and renamed "Kingston," by the English.

Peter Sinclair, Editor
West Hurley, Ulster County, NY

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