Old Barn Rehabilitation Project
An Old Barn in Need of Rescue
Of the many structures at Nettle Meadow Farm, one towers over all. A well-known barn in Thurman since its construction by Edmund Barber, this turn-of-the-century gem boasts a gambrel roof, atypical of barns in our area. It was Meadowbrook Stock Farm’s horse barn, in an era when good horses were the currency of farming.
Today that barn sags dangerously. Kids in some bygone era fired bullets through the roof, creating innumerable leaks. Until that damage is repaired, all other barn rescue efforts are futile. Years of invading weather, neglect and misuse have taken their toll. Local builder Ed Carpenter was engaged to do considerable shoring up, and today those efforts are continued by the farm manager. “Still,” says Sheila Flanagan, co-owner, “when the wind blows hard, we expect to wake up and see that barn in a heap on the ground.” She and Lorraine have sought grants for historical barn restoration to help them bring this barn back to the condition it enjoyed in the heyday of the Stock Farm, but in these economic times, those sorts of funds simply are not available. Initially it seemed to need just some bracing, a little new siding, paint and windows on the west side. However, the weather has continued to rot boards and timbers, and this summer the tremendous inverted hull that is the barn’s roof developed alarming ripples. Nettle Meadow is now working with Adirondack Architectural Heritage, a nonprofit historic preservation organization, to construct a year-by-year rehabilitation schedule for this beautiful landmark. Hurricane Irene has recently added more insult to the dilapidated structure with wind and rain removing more siding from the old structure and further separation of the historic metal roof connecting the center peak to the main roof.
Once the home of prize livestock, that old barn is now home to Flanagan and Lambiase’s Joseph F. Kemp Memorial Animal Sanctuary, housing animals too disabled or old to be productive. The cast of rescue animals who have lived there parade through Sheila’s memory.
There were Izabella and Draco, geriatric donkeys that had been found wandering in Brooklyn. They were delivered to Nettle Meadow and lived out their final years among friends, Draco celebrating each morning with exuberant braying. Now picture Floyd, a frail juvenile Alpine buck brought to the farm in a declining state, He was adopted by their young Jersey bull calf, Henry, who slept with smiling Floyd curled up in the protective circle of his husky frame. And then came Blinky and Kinky, injured turkeys who became fast friends despite her blindness and his lameness. All these—and more—have been nurtured and housed beneath the compromised gambrel roof at Nettle Meadow.
Ironically the barn that has faithfully served rescue animals for years itself now needs rescuing. The job of saving this barn is huge, and money is limited. A fundraising effort has been launched to save this structure from collapse so the remaining restoration can be accomplished over time.
Reprinted with permission from Perky Granger and the John Thurman Historical Society.
Those wishing to donate to this project may contact the farm at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Happily, we have found a barn restoration wizard in Andy Leblanc and Barnworks from Indian Lake and the barn is well on its way to a healthier posture as Andy has straightened its lines and smoothed its ripples. We hope to have the restoration completed during the summer of 2013, after which the second story will be available for public and private events.