The historic dairy barn on the former Young’s Nursery property was dismantled yesterday (Jan. 15) after Sunrise Senior Living–the new owner of the property at 211 Danbury Rd.–reached an agreement with the Wilton Historical Society to donate the structure and cover the costs of disassembling and storing it.
While some portions of the barn were not historic, the timber frame dates back to the 1800s. Salem Preservation is the company who was hired to oversee the project, photographing and numbering each piece of the barn so it can be reassembled in the future.
According to Allison Sanders, co-executive director of the Historical Society, watching the disassembling was exciting to witness. “It was a dramatic moment when the end of the barn was loosened and allowed to gently swing out into the air by the giant crane,” she told GMW.
The Wilton Historical Society plans to store the 19th-century structure and start fundraising to restore and repurpose it. According to the Society, the barn will most likely be rebuilt as a dwelling on the Cannondale campus, where, similar to most of the other historical structures the Society has preserved, it will be rented out to pay for ongoing preservation maintenance.
Some of the Historical Society’s members were present at the site yesterday, including Buildings and Grounds committee member Peter Gaboriault; Kevin Craw, first vice president of the Board of Trustees; and Lee Wilson, an emeritus trustee and co-vice president of Buildings and Grounds. Sanders says Lee is the driving force behind the project to get the barn saved.
Salem Preservation is the name of the company who is doing the work.
The barn dates to the 19th century and was originally owned by Charles Orem, who lived at 213 Danbury Rd. and operated a dairy farm on the 26 acres he owned there. According to the definitive book on Wilton’s history, Wilton, Connecticut: Three Centuries of People, Places and Progress, by town historian Robert Russell, Orem opened a small ice cream stand and built a baseball field behind it, along with covered bleachers and grandstand. It became the home field of the Wilton Farmers baseball team–and the occasional grazing spot for Orem’s growing herd of dairy cows. The ice cream stand was expanded and became the Orem’s Diner. Over the years, Orem eventually sold off the diner and the cows, and later developed Orems Ln. into a residential street; the remaining acres were sold to Young’s Nurseries.
The other structures on the property–the large red barn and greenhouse–were demolished in December.