By now, some of you may have noticed a sparkling yellow farmhouse with white trim along South Main Street (Route 7) in Great Barrington opposite the VFW. Well, that’s the result of the GBHS Museum’s brand new historically-accurate yellow/ochre paint job, complete with shiny, dark green front door. The attached Dutch Wagon House in the back is the same color and has a new metal roof. After 11 years, we’ve received enough donations to complete 95% of the exterior of this very worthy and necessary project.
Added to the front porch is now a handicap-accessible ramp and wooden deck with a black iron railing at the edge of the deck and upper ramp. New plantings have been installed next to the ramp, which leads to a handicap parking space in front of the Wagon House.
Both our existing bathroom renovation and our new handicap bathroom are almost complete. We’re in the process of converting the summer kitchen to an office area with kitchen facilities, and finishing the interior of the Dutch Wagon House and historic privy.
We could never have done this without you, our Great Barrington community members and your generous donations–and without the help of the following grants:
Several Community Preservation Act grants from the Town of Great Barrington have made possible the vital electrical upgrades to the farmhouse’s old wiring, as well as the installation of a handicap-accessible bathroom, ramp, deck, and iron railing.
The Fitzpatrick Trust’s matching grant has enabled us to stabilize the Dutch Wagon House by historically reconstructing its foundation and walls, and replacing the old Dutch-style curved roof with a beautiful similarly-shaped metal roof.
Our thanks go out to the following businesses, which have performed work for us at reasonable rates, enabling us to make the most of each dollar spent:
Joe Wilkinson Excavating – thoroughly resurfaced the entire driveway at the Wheeler Farmstead and added a new parking and turnaround area at the back. No more big holes to ruin our cars and trucks–and no deep puddles when it rains!
Patrick Fennell – did the very necessary carpentry work and several areas of shingle replacement to prepare the farmhouse and Wagon House for primer and two coats of high-quality paint.
John F. Graney Metal Design – installed the strong but comfortable metal handrails for the deck and upper part of the concrete walkway. These will be invaluable to ensure that everyone safely approaches the Museum porch, even in our New England winters.
Michael Leining – our electrician extraordinaire who replaced all the old tube and knob wiring in the entire farmhouse and Wagon House with safe and reliable shielded cable.
Kimball Fuel – updated the oil-fired boiler and replaced and brought the old oil tank and fuel lineup to code. The building is not only warm now, but the heating is finally efficient!
Gennari Plumbing & Heating – replaced the old plumbing in the reconfigured existing bathroom, installed new piping for the new handicap-accessible bathroom, and repaired plumbing in the upstairs bathroom as well.
Gordon Middleton – plastered the walls of the new handicap bathroom as well as parts of the existing bathroom walls. He’ll be plastering the summer kitchen wall adjoining the Wagon House and the wall between the two bathrooms to ready them for final finishing, in order to match the historically accurate Colonial style throughout the house.