Last spring the Barkhamsted Historical Society was the recipient of a $150,000, Small Town Economic Assistance Program, or STEAP Grant. The grant is specifically geared toward capital improvements and expansion. Several projects had been earmarked for these funds and have either been completed or are well underway. As was mentioned in the Sept 2008 Quarterly, the floors in the front kitchen have been re-finished and now look very nice. This fall volunteers Dave Ravsio and Michael Ream did a wonderful job fabricating an old fashion sliding barn door to conceal the archival storage unit. Additionally, Dave and Michael worked to prepare the Tavern for the new landing stoop off of the rear door, which will connect to a ramp and allow wheelchair access.
The stoop and ramp are part of a much larger project consisting of grading the yard and construction of a brick walkway. Former First Selectmen and BHS volunteer Michael Fox has headed up the landscape and walkway project. Michael has done a great job in planning and coordinating a new brick walkway which encompasses three sides of Squires Tavern. Mike and other volunteers have spent many hours planning the layout, choosing the materials and hiring the contractors.
The walkway is designed to direct visitors to the front door, the main entrance, of the Tavern. While the old walkway did led to the front door, visitors were more inclined to enter through a side door. The walkway will also run parallel to the side of the building allowing easy access to the informational kiosk and ultimately connecting to the ramp at the rear of the building.
In preparation for grading of the yard, local resident Michael O'Connor was hired to grind several old stumps down. Local excavating contractor Eugene Allen was hired to do the grading and prepare the walkway paths.
Eugene dug a trench, following the walkway outline, then filled and compacted the base with processed stone. Local stone mason Michael Hoffnagle will be laying the brick walkway and is scheduled to begin the final phase of this project the third week of November.
Other major projects which are underway include the installation of a lightning protection system by Northeast Lightning Protection, LLC, who are headquartered in Bloomfield. After a lighting strike took out all of the electronic, heating, cooling and alarm systems last year the board decided to protect the building from future strikes and future potential for damage, including fire.
BHS also hired local painting contractor Jim Parrott to scrap down and paint the Center School house, the historic one room school house which was moved from its original Barkhamsted Center location to its present location on Route 181. Jim did a nice job and the schoolhouse looks great with its fresh coat of paint.
BHS has also hired Canton roofing contractor Greg Erisoty to replace the cedar shake roof on the schoolhouse. Greg is scheduled to begin work on the schoolhouse roof in late November.
Several other projects are under consideration for next year, including possibly the construction of a working multi-purpose blacksmith shop and pottery shed. Also being considered is an interpretive trail through the grounds of Squires Tavern.