Barn Preservation in Mount Holly
Mount Holly Barn Preservation Association
P.O. Box 129
Belmont, VT 05730 (802) 259 2344
The Mount Holly Barn Preservation Association may appear to have just "growed like Topsy"; but its roots go back to early 2002, when the Mount Holly Planning Commission, responding to community concern about rapid, disruptive development, surveyed residents about their vision for the future of the Town. Leading the list of what people prized and wanted to preserve was the "rural and historic" character of the Town.
The Planning Commission appointed a Working Group that began documenting and photographing the scenic and historic beauties of the Town. In the Fall of 2004, the Working Group led a well-attended Bus Tour of scenic and historic Mount Holly.
In the course of these activities, the Working Group was introduced to Randy Hawkins and his magnificent barn, farm house (former stagecoach inn), farm fields that encircle the historic Packer Cemetery, and the splendid views throughout his property.
The Working Group learned of the family’s deep connection with the farm, their determination to continue farming as long as possible, and their ongoing struggle to maintain and to preserve the buildings on their land.
One member of the Working Group, familiar with the barn preservation grant program of the State of Vermont, suggested that Mr. Hawkins apply for a grant. With only 7 days to the deadline for submission of grant requests the Working Group and Mr. Hawkins went into overdrive – wrote the grant proposal, took photos of the inside and outside of the barn, and asked a builder with historic preservation experience to assess the required work and to give an estimate of the costs involved.
The builder, Steven Melanson, described the barn:
"A 7-bay, eaves front, late nineteenth century dairy barn. The construction is traditional mortise and tenon timber frame. I am of the opinion that this structure is one of the best examples of this particular genre in the region and perhaps the state. The joinery, while it has been "tinkered with", is superb. Modifications made perhaps soon after its construction were done well and have not compromised the structural integrity to any serious degree. The barn is the centerpiece of what had been a magnificent farm."
Before the result of the grant application was known, Randy Hawkins decided that all Mount Holly barn owners should be able to receive the type of assistance the Working Group had provided to him. Further, he expressed the view that the sight of barns collapsing because of the inability of owners to afford essential maintenance should become a thing of the past in Mount Holly.
Mr. Hawkins and the Working Group talked about forming a barn preservation group and started collecting data on historic barns in town.
- Over 50 historic barns were identified, photographed, and the photos were placed in a loose leaf binder - The Mount Holly Barn Book.
- Small photos of each barn were mapped on a large display map of the town
- Using the example of the New Hampshire barn preservation program, a survey form was drafted so that Mount Holly barn owners can document the status of their barns.
- A database was created of names and addresses of the identified barns and their owners.
- The members of the Working Group have attended meetings on barn preservation and have started a collection of relevant materials and books
- A draft of the mission and proposed activities of a Mount Holly Barn Preservation Association was written.
- A meeting was held on March 18, 2005 in the Belmont Community Association Library. Ten very enthusiastic people – most owners of historic barns – attended. After discussion of barn maintenance problems, conversion of barns to other uses, and the need for resources, the group endorsed the plan to form a Barn Preservation Association and discussed the next steps in the process
MOUNT HOLLY HISTORIC BARN
Dedicated to the repair, maintenance, and
preservation of the historic barns of Mount Holly
The Association is an organization of those who own and admire Mount Holly’s historic barns. We know that the preservation of historic barns is an essential element in sustaining the rural and historical character of the Town of Mount Holly, Vermont and we believe that group action is more powerful than individual effort in order to mobilize community action and to raise funds for barn preservation.
To preserve the barns of Mount Holly the Association will:
- Figure out what needs to be done
- Do it
- Let others know what we do and have done
1. To assess what needs to be done to preserve Mount Holly’s Historic Barns, we will:
- Keep a Register of the Historic Barns of Mount Holly (defined as barns over 50 years of age) including photos, maps, architectural drawings, historical details, farm equipment and machinery, and items of archaeological interest.
- Maintain and update owners’ assessments of the preservation needs of their barns.
- Obtain professional evaluations of the preservation status of individual barns.
- Every two years prepare a Report of the Preservation Status of Mount Holly’s Historic Barns and make it available to Association members, to the officials of the Town of Mount Holly, and to the Mount Holly Community Historical Museum, and the community at large.
2. To repair, maintain, and preserve the Historic Barns of Mount Holly, we will:
- Identify sources of funds for the repair, maintenance, and preservation of individual historic barns
- Identify sources of funds to implement a town plan for the preservation of its historic barns
- Identify sources of funds for activities that can be linked to historic preservation, such as farming conservation, land conservation, alternative agriculture, commercial ventures, business incubators, affordable housing, cultural activities, education, alternative energy use, recreation, and farm tourism
- Develop relationships with barn preservation departments of state and federal governments, with state and national non-profit barn preservation organizations, with local, state and national historic associations, and with foundations interested in activities such as historic preservation, agricultural heritage, and rural development
- Apply for grants to improve the preservation status of Mount Holly’s barns
- Assist barn owners to apply for barn preservation grants
- Raise matching funds if stipulated by grant requirements
- Use the work of volunteers as in-kind contribution to matching funds for grants;
- Recruit volunteers to perform direct repair and maintenance work on barns
- Organize work crews from individual volunteers, or in conjunction with volunteer organizations such as summer camps, AmeriCorps, RSVP, or service organizations
- Raise funds for materials, supplies, and equipment needed for repair, maintenance and preservation work done by volunteers.
3. To inform the community of the preservation status of Mount Holly’s Historic Barns, we will:
- Enhance the community’s knowledge of historic barns by activities such as guided tours; presentations by barn experts; historic exhibits such as photos, displays of farm equipment and machinery; demonstrations of barn building repair and maintenance activities; on-site explanations of repair and maintenance; volunteer work in historic preservation activities; demonstrations of farm equipment and machinery repair and blacksmithing; volunteer archaeological activities in and around barns
- Include historic barn visits in historic tours conducted by the Mount Holly Community Historical Museum
- Share the content of meetings, plans, reports, grant applications, fund raising, and publicity to promote appreciation of the beauty, architecture, and history of Mount Holly’s Historic Barns.
For More Information About the Mt. Holly Barn Preservation Association, please contact:
Randy Hawkins, 1-802-259-2413
Annette Lynch, 1-802-259-2596
Marcy Tanger, 1-802-259-2344
Mount Holly Barn Preservation Association
P.O. Box 129
Belmont, VT 05730