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Underground Railroad association sets sights on saving historic barn

"That's very high, but it just depends on how much work we do down the road," he said.

The cost to restore the barn could have been covered through a state grant at one point, explained Papson. However, the Perusses would have had to claim the grant as income, thereby changing their tax bracket status. Also, the grant would have made the Perusses responsible for the structure for several years with any future repairs needing to come from their own pockets.

"We found out very few of these restoration grants for barns were actually accepted by people when they found out what strings were attached," said Papson.

That's why the NCUGRHA is hosting a fundraiser next Friday, March 19, at the Peru Community Church on Elm Street. The event, said Papson, will focus on the role of women in the fight to abolish slavery. Catharine R. Keese, wife of Samuel Keese and aunt to Keese Smith, will be recognized. The Keese family matriarch served as president of the Female Anti-Slavery Society, said Papson.

The March 19 event, which will begin at 7 p.m., will feature a performance by Sounds of the Northway, featuring female artists Ann Ruzow Holland, Cathie Davenport and Jennifer Van Benschoten. During the evening, a presentation about the restoration project will be made, including photographs of the barn in its current state. Papson said he hopes people will be moved by the presentation and the NCUGRHA's efforts to save the structure.

"This is our history and if we don't save it, it's going to be gone," said Papson.

The cost of admission will be $10 for adults and $8 for children and senior citizens.

For more information, call 561-0277 or visit www.northcountryundergroundrailroad.com.

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