A number of agencies in the State of Vermont, including the Division for Historic Preservation, the University of Vermont and the Preservation Trust, are coordinating a statewide effort to survey all barns in Vermont that were built at least 50 years ago. The Weston Historical Society is organizing the survey in that town, under the direction of Society members Mimi Neff and Doris Ingram.
Two person teams will be contacting barn owners to learn the age and history of their barns and to gain permission to enter the property. The survey itself consists of photographs and measurements of the barns, as well as a detailed description of its architectural characteristics, present usage and an assessment of its condition.
The information collected will, of course, be of interest to local and State historical societies. But it is also of great value to those agencies which make available grants to assist with the restoration and preservation of historic barns. Funds for this purpose are very limited and it is important that they be directed toward the structures of greatest historic importance and in most immediate need of restoration. The data collected by the census will assist these agencies in establishing priorities.
The image of a weathered barn, standing in a meadow, against the backdrop of the Green Mountains is a Vermont icon, the subject of countless drawings, paintings and photographs. But many such barns, built many years ago for agrarian purposes, now stand unused and are being allowed to deteriorate. There are an estimated12,000 historic barns in Vermont (approximately 40 of them in Weston) and it is guessed that 100 of these are lost every year.
Involvement on the part of barn owners is considered essential, and many are not full time residents. Anyone wishing to contact the Historical Society to discuss their barn and to schedule a visit by a survey team (or to volunteer as a member of a survey team) should call Bob Brandt at 824-5486.
There is additional information on the Vermont Barn Census on the Internet at www.savevermontbarns.org and www.uvm.edu/~barn/.
In photo, one of Weston's beautiful, historic barns..