||Save Our Heritage|
Protecting the Birthplace of the American Revolution,
the cradle of the Environmental Movement,
and the Home of the American Literary Renaissance
Barrett’s house gets facelift
“If Mrs. Barrett hadn’t held [the
British] at the house [over breakfast] they could have ambushed the
militia,” said Anna Winter, executive director of Save Our Heritage.
As such, Barrett’s Farm represents
another pivotal turning point between Paul Revere’s ride and the shot
heard ’round the world.
Save Our Heritage is hoping to preserve
that important twist of fate in early American history.
Barrett’s Farm remains structurally
unchanged since the American Revolution, though the present condition of
the house presents both challenges and historical findings, said Winter.
The basic 18th-century construction is
still much intact and features original flooring, doors and hardware,
fireplaces and stairways.
Since Col. Barrett’s time, only one
other family has inhabited the house, but one of the Barrett family
members wants to speed the process to pay for the farm’s restoration. Save
Our Heritage plans to acquire almost all of the $1.5 million necessary
to renovate Barrett’s Farm and turn the site into a living museum, and
the project received a $50,000 challenge grant from a descendent of the
Barrett’s family. To receive the funding, however, the money will need
to be matched through public donations. Those contributions must be
received by Dec. 31, but so far, the organization has received $11,000.
The organization also received a
federal grant from Save America’s Treasure for $220,000.
With an anticipated shortfall of
$450,000, project organizers are hoping that future private citizen’s
support will be matched by federal dollars.
Save Our Heritage gained possession of
the house in November 2005. The rehabilitation crew quickly began
clearing away the plant overgrowth while working on landscaping and
The house has provided many clues to
historical architects and enthusiasts.
The position and length of the bed in
Col. Barrett’s bed chamber, for example, can be determined by
remaining canopy hooks. Unlike other historical homes, the house is
comparatively undisturbed, very close to its original state, said
With the assistance of Rick Detwiller,
an architect and preservation planner, the restoration crew has been
able to uncover original wood paneling, paint and hiding spots for
A large granite slab at a front entry
way was used by the Colonel himself, said Detwiller.
When searching for ammunition in the
home, the British climbed narrow interior stairs which remain intact. A
popular colonial color, “Indian red,” was found under layers of
peeling paint and wallpaper in Barrett’s bed chamber.
Fireplaces throughout the house are
still blackened with centuries-old creosote.
Until the restoration crew replaces
most of the back wall, braces have been installed to hold the back wall
upright as it “hangs from the attic,” said Cunningham.
A restoration company, Traditional
Framers, is hand-hewing white oak logs to replace the sills and joints
in the framework. The “lost art” of hand sawing in an “English
scribe style” will respect the tradition and integrity of the home,
Cunningham said the total renovation
will take almost three years. At the end of all their efforts, Save Our
Heritage would like the farmhouse to become a part of the
Kerri Roche can be reached at (978)
371-5796 or KRoche@cnc.com.