||Save Our Heritage|
Protecting the Birthplace of the American Revolution,
the cradle of the Environmental Movement,
and the Home of the American Literary Renaissance
walls, restored, will talk
walls, restored, will talk
In the 300
years the Colonel James Barrett farmhouse in
weather was getting in, so it wasn't a second too soon," said James
Cunningham, the Barrett Farm project manager for the preservation group
Save Our Heritage.
is complete, the home will provide visitors a glimpse at how people
lived at the start of the American Revolution in 1775, said Anna Winter,
the group's executive director.
house is a wonderful way to let us know more about these incredible,
diligent, hard-working and inspirational people who were responsible for
forging our independence as a nation," she said.
built in 1705, has historical significance because so much of the
original work remains, she said. It also played a role in the American
Revolution, serving as a home base for Barrett, a leader of the
Middlesex Militia who was also responsible for overseeing provisions
such as food and weapons for the army.
Barrett family lived there until 1904, when the house was sold to the
Heritage has been eyeing the property for years, Winter said. The group
bought 3 1/2 acres of land surrounding the farmhouse for $800,000 in
December 2003 and last year acquired the house and the surrounding acre
of land from the McGraths for $790,000. The farm is listed on the
National Register of Historic Places and is certified as a nationally
McGrath moved out of the house in November 2005 and now lives in a house
that Save Our Heritage built for him in an adjacent lot.
property he left behind, the yard had been overtaken by brush and weeds.
Windows were broken, and vines were growing up the house and inside the
windows. The back wall was hanging from the attic, and each room was
filled with piles of belongings that had accumulated over the years.
of maintenance, however, has turned out to be a blessing, said Winter.
gives you a remarkable window into the past," she said. "The
two families that lived here did very little to alter it."
house is empty as workers tend to the repairs and historians pore
through its contents looking for clues to the past.
is cut by hand because the appearance is critical," he said.
Heritage also hired Frederic Detwiller, an architect and preservation
planner, to conduct a historic analysis.
amazing is how much original work is left," said Detwiller.
there have been so few alterations, Winter said, there is an opportunity
to re-create how the house looked at the time of the Revolution. Figuring
out how each room was used and how it was furnished will require much
detective work, she added.
will remove wallpaper and analyze the plaster, the woodwork, and the
already found one clue about the beds because an old bedrail was used as
a stud in another part of the house. Also, there are holes in the
ceiling of the master bedroom showing where a bed canopy was placed.
hoping to find enough fragments to put it back together," Winter
said the group is checking with museums, auction houses, and family
members to track down as many original furnishings as possible.
Save Our Heritage hopes to turn over the Barrett house to the
meantime, Winter said, the group is hoping for more money from Congress
and private donors.
Heritage recently received a $220,000 federal grant and preliminary
approval for $200,000 in Community Preservation Act funds from the town.
But it still needs to raise between $1 million and $1.5 million for
renovations and to show the federal government that the entire community
is behind the project, she said.
walls can talk here," Winter said, "and we need an opportunity
for them to be heard."
about the project available at saveourheritage.com.
© Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company