Barn Raising

Last winter, many Westporters — including “06880” — worried that the demolition of the North Avenue barn near the corner of Long Lots meant that one more town icon had bitten the dust.

Rick Benson didn’t let that happen.

Carefully and lovingly, the local builder is recreating the old barn.  It looks the same — if not better — on the outside.  Inside, there are plenty of improvements.

The new North Avenue barn.

Thanks, Rick, for proving that not every old structure must give way to a bigger, more bloated one.

8 responses to “Barn Raising

  1. Barbara Sherburne

    I once lived in the white house you see set back from the barn. One summer we had a guest living in the barn. He had something to do with Superman comics, perhaps the illustrator. I was kind of young, so I am not sure. I am certainly glad to hear that the barn has been saved.

  2. It is a wonderful thing, indeed, to restore this barn… Were they able to salvage some of the original wood?

  3. Chip Stephens

    Sorry but I would disagree, the barn was not saved it was torn down. The new barn is nice, in a Disney sort of way. The idea is no different than you would not travel to Philadelphia to see a reproduction of the Liberty Bell, you would not pay to see a photocopy of a Da vinci, and you should question replacing historic structures with “nice looking” replacements. Could the barn have been rehabbed? Maybe, maybe not, depends on the owners financial abilities, state of original structure and desires to save Westport history. The property owner is the ultimate judge in this land. And preservation is painful and costly. Ask Arthur Tauck who spent a good chunk of change and dismissed the naysayers who said the National Hall was dead, sinking in the Saugatuck and should be razed. Sad to see the old farm stand barn gone, and the recent loss of the Peppermill building (Old Greyhound Terminal) and other historic sites over the years. Don’t it always seem to go, till you don’t know what you got till it’s gone ,,,,, jm

  4. Part of the Rippe Farm if I am not mistaken…used to live around the corner on Long Lots. I believe they sold apples, but can easily be wrong as memories dim with time. Thanks for saving this landmark of my youth.

  5. When I wanted to renovate my barn 5 years ago, I needed to get a waiver from the ZBA as zoning at the time did not permit a barn to be used for anything but “storage of farm animals and farm equipment”. The ZBA turned me down twice. Kathy Barnard, then executive director of the P&Z, was so embarrassed by the decision that she decided the proposed improvements were not a “change of use” and granted permission anyway.
    Fortunately the P&Z subsequently changed the regulations. Otherwise many barns would have decayed to ruin or been demolished.

  6. The Dude Abides

    As my Vermont Mama used to say, barns are for cows!!

  7. Wendy Crowther

    Another barn will soon be threatened. It’s the Geiger’s Garden Center barn on Morningside Drive North. As reported by Dan a few weeks ago, the site has a new owner, Geiger’s is going bye-bye, and the site is being re-developed.

    The barn is great-looking and snuggles up tight to Morningside Drive – something that today’s zoning would never allow now. Check out its hand-hewn timbers the next time you buy garden supplies. Also noteworthy is that some of the original framing came from trees that grew in what is now Winslow Park (according to Ed Audley when I interviewed him years ago). Those of us who are barn-lovers need to keep an eye on this development proposal in hopes that, at the very least, the barn can be preserved and sensitively integrated into the new development.

    • Why don’t you and all of the other barn lovers get together and buy the barns? Then you can do whatever you wish with them.