Hopper Barn to be reconstructed in Ramapo

BY MICHAEL RICONDA

The Great Restorer, Chuck Stead
The Great Restorer, Chuck Stead

RAMAPO – Thanks to assistance from local historic preservationists and the Town of Ramapo, a centuries old dutch barn originally erected in Clarkstown will see new life when its timbers are put back together in the Torne Valley.

Under the guidance of RCC Professor Chuck Stead, the Van Orden/Hopper Barn will be rebuilt next to Hillburn’s restored iron-workers’ house, also known as the “salt box.” The site has been designated as a center for research and environmental education into the effects of Ford Motors Company’s disposal of waste paint in the Torne Valley during the 1960s and 1970s.

Stead explained to the Rockland County Times that the structure will likely be used for additional classes and as a woodshop. The site as a whole also serves a double purpose of enhancing awareness, which was critical in securing a negotiated $37 million cleanup financed by Ford Motors.

“The sight, in terms of research and education, has actually already been used to leverage Ford returning,” Stead said. “It’s been one of the better investments this house could make.”

The barn was originally built on Pascack Road in Nyack in the 1730s and is about 80 years older than the salt box. It is known for its unique dutch barn design, which includes an H-frame with three aisles, which allows greater options for the barn’s overall height, width and depth.

The structure was disassembled and its timbers were catalogued by local builder and preservationist George Turrell in 1995. The goal was to preserve the original materials for reconstruction, but Turrell’s passing hampered plans until the Rockland County Historical Society took notice of the success of the salt box.

“Once the Historical Society saw that we restored and put together the salt box house, they said, ‘Well we have a barn that was taken down and we can’t put it up.’”

The reconstruction of the building will likely cost anywhere from $39,000 to $42,000. An architectural plan has been completed by Winston Perry and a scale model was made by Jim Elling.

Stead explained the pad for the new structure will hopefullly be completed during the spring and the timbers will be in place by winter.

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