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Monday, April 30, 2012

Hollis Heritage Commission continues work to rebuild gambrel barn

HOLLIS – The local Heritage Commission raised money last week for ongoing efforts to rebuild a gambrel barn that once stood at Woodmont West Orchards.

Efforts to rebuild the barn and other buildings that were in the orchard began more than two years ago after the buildings were deemed unsafe and demolished.

In addition to the barn, a farmhouse, blacksmith’s shop and a cider press were torn down.

Heritage Commission Chairman David Sullivan said Friday that while he is not yet sure how much money the group was able to raise through a fundraiser at Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse in Nashua, he hopes the money will help jump-start the barn rebuilding project after delays last year.

The money raised will go toward installing a concrete floor for the barn.

Sullivan said that while the commission received a $20,000 donation from the Marie LeDoux Foundation two years ago, this money will be used primarily to reconstruct the barn itself and donations will be used to fund the installation of the floor.

Any money left over will be put toward future rebuilding and restoration projects, like that of a cooper shed that once stood in the orchards and was put into storage a few years back. The building was likely once used for making barrels and furniture and blacksmithing.

Sullivan said the buildings are all important to the history of the town.

“We felt it was important to preserve the history feel and scenescape of that location,” he said Friday.

Heritage Committee Vice Chairwoman Honi Glover, a longtime resident, agreed.

The buildings were all once part of a farm that was built along Route 122 in the late 1930s, she said, and the area functioned as a farm for many years. The buildings continued to be utilized for various activities until fairly recently.

Glover said that while the commission would like to rebuild all of the historic structures, the gambrel barn was a good choice because its original fieldstone foundation remained in place.

This past fall, that foundation was refurbished and rebuilt using existing material.

Sullivan said the commission now hopes the concrete floor can be installed quickly and the reconstruction of the building can be completed by fall.

The reconstruction will be handled by David Tremblay, a Nashua contractor who rebuilt the Ice House at the orchards a few years ago.

Sullivan said the floor is expected to cost about $2,000 to install, and said the commission is hoping the public will help with not only monetary donations, but donations of work and materials as well.

Glover said donations to the project and future rebuilding efforts will benefit the entire town, as the barn and the cooper shop will be used as a museum. Farm artifacts and anything else “to do with our town heritage” could be put on display in the gambrel barn, she said.

The cooper shop could house demonstrations on the traditional arts that were once practiced under its roof.

Sullivan said the commission hopes to one day hold a Heritage Day event in town to celebrate these historic structures.

Donations toward the Heritage Commission’s restoration projects can be sent to the Hollis Heritage Commission at Town Hall, 7 Monument Square, Hollis, NH 03049.

Danielle Curtis can be reached at 594-6557 or dcurtis@nashuatelegraph.com.