This Journal


Work Log

  • Projects at the Tavern

    In 2008 the Historical Society received a STEAP grant from the State of Connecticut (Small Town Economic Assistance Program).   A number of projects relating to this grant have been recently completed or are in the works.  In May, Pro-Film of Torrington applied window film at the Squire's Tavern.  This film blocks a significant percentage of ultra-violet light and has the additional advantage of reducing glare.  With many Historical Society collection items on display at the Tavern, it is very important for us to significantly reduce the damage from ultra-violate light.  Completing this work will help protect historically important items throughout the building.

    Another project completed this spring was the rebuilding of the exterior portion of the chimney in the Squire's Tavern "ell".  For over a year we could see that the mortar above the roofline on this chimney was in poor condition.  After the contractor inspected the chimney, he reported that it was in worse condition than we thought.  We had to completely replace the bricks above the roof and are thankful we
    were able to accomplish this before any structural failure.

    Another STEAP grant project completed recently was lighting improvements at the Tavern.  We had two sets of track lighting installed in the back parlor, which has greatly improved this room.  With poor natural lighting from only one window, plus the fact that we have our Lighthouse display located there, the new lighting was really needed.  In addition, we had another light added to a dark hallway area on the second floor.

    One project currently underway is the upgrading of the electrical service coming into the Squire's Tavern.  We have had problems with water entering the basement on the current electrical service wire, even to the point of causing problems in the electrical panel.  To fix this, we are going to replace the current overhead service with an underground hookup.  Volunteers dug a three foot trench for the underground service. 

    Dave Ravasio, with assistance from Mike Ream and Ted Bachman continue to make good progress on the Tavern shutters.  When the shutters go up, it will really enhance the appearance of the building.  A basement water leak in our main supply line has been repaired and an outside faucet installed which will make it much easier to water the period garden.

    Previous STEAP Articles:

  • Ice Rink Construction

    Last Wednesday we worked on the ice rink.  We got the sides up and the plastic down and put in a little water.  Richard and Steve also worked on the rink during on Thursday and Friday.  Water was pumped in from the nearby brook and the sides were raised where they were low.  On Saturday the Riverton Fire department put in 3000 gallons of water- thanks Doug for arranging this.  We may have a leak however- by Sunday the water level went down even though a lot of water froze in place.  Today's warm weather and rain may create a problem also.  So the rink may not be usable on Saturday.  We may just have the bonfire and no skating.  Possibly we can reschedule skating in February.

    Last Wednesday the Associated Security inspected the alarm system and found everything to be in good order.

    Later in the week Steve met with Quinoco on getting a bid for the proposed propane heating unit.

    This Wednesday we anticipate working on collecting wood for the bonfire.  Also Richard said the high winds blew the north storm door right off.  Hopefully we can make a repair Wednesday.

    Posted Jan 24 2010, 12:37 PM by Richard with no comments
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  • New Historic Panels Installed

    Three new historic panels containing history and information have been installed outside on the grounds of the Squire's Tavern.  This completes the set of four that will give visitors a brief summary on four topics:

    1)  A welcome to the Tavern and brief background of our site.

    2)  The Squire's Tavern and the people who lived there.

    3)  Historic map of Barkhamsted and some town history.

    4)  The Farmington River and how it is significant to our town.

    Because the Squire's Tavern hours of operation are limited, we feel it is important to have these panels available to visitors who may be passing through when the Tavern is not open.  They are located on the south wall of the small outbuilding near the parking lot of the Tavern.  Stop in and take a look! 


  • Exhibit proposed on the Barkhamsted Lighthouse community.

    On February 10, 2009, archaeologist Dr. Ken Feder and Historical Society volunteers Linne Landgraf and Paul Hart met to discuss a proposed exhibit on the Barkhamsted Lighthouse community.  The exhibit will be a temporary feature at the Squire's Tavern.  It is our hope to have the display set up in the spring or early summer.

    The Lighthouse site is an important part of Barkhamsted history not only for the popular legends, but also because the community that became established there was a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic group of Native American, African American and Caucasian settlers that lived a different life than that of most of the other residents of the town.  The Lighthouse community persisted until the mid-1800s.  All that is left now are a few small cellar holes and a tiny cemetery with simple grave markers.  The site is located in People's Forest and was recently designated by the Connecticut Historic Preservation Council as an archaeological preserve.

    Photo above- Archaeologist Dr. Ken Feder and Historical Society volunteer Linne Landgraf inspect artifacts from the Barkhamsted Lighthouse site.  Dr. Feder visited the Squire's Tavern to help plan for a new exhibit on the Lighthouse community.


  • Historical Society volunteers work at the Center schoolhouse - February 7, 2009

    Progress...even in the winter!  Historical Society volunteers take advantage of a fairly warm day in February to pick up shingles at the Barkhamsted Center schoolhouse.  The schoolhouse roof was just recently redone with new red cedar shingles by A & J Quality Roofing.  The old shingles had been removed and tossed on the ground.  A dumpster was brought to the site and the old shingles were picked up and thown in the dumpster.  In the spring we will need to return and do a final cleanup to get the last scraps of shingles hidden by the snow.  The old Center schoolhouse is in good shape now, with a new roof and a new coat of paint on the exterior.


  • STEAP Grant Projects Well Underway



    Last spring the Barkhamsted Historical Society was the recipient of a $150,000, Small Town Economic Assistance Program, or STEAP Grant. The grant is specifically geared toward capital improvements and expansion. Several projects had been earmarked for these funds and have either been completed or are well underway. As was mentioned in the Sept 2008 Quarterly, the floors in the front kitchen have been re-finished and now look very nice. This fall volunteers Dave Ravsio and Michael Ream did a wonderful job fabricating an old fashion sliding barn door to conceal the archival storage unit. Additionally, Dave and Michael worked to prepare the Tavern for the new landing stoop off of the rear door, which will connect to a ramp and allow wheelchair access.




    The stoop and ramp are part of a much larger project consisting of grading the yard and construction of a brick walkway. Former First Selectmen and BHS volunteer Michael Fox has headed up the landscape and walkway project. Michael has done a great job in planning and coordinating a new brick walkway which encompasses three sides of Squires Tavern. Mike and other volunteers have spent many hours planning the layout, choosing the materials and hiring the contractors.  




    The walkway is designed to direct visitors to the front door, the main entrance, of the Tavern. While the old walkway did led to the front door, visitors were more inclined to enter through a side door. The walkway will also run parallel to the side of the building allowing easy access to the informational kiosk and ultimately connecting to the ramp at the rear of the building.



    In preparation for grading of the yard, local resident Michael O'Connor was hired to grind several old stumps down. Local excavating contractor Eugene Allen was hired to do the grading and prepare the walkway paths.









    Eugene dug a trench, following the walkway outline, then filled and compacted the base with processed stone. Local stone mason Michael Hoffnagle will be laying the brick walkway and is scheduled to begin the final phase of this project the third week of November.




    Other major projects which are underway include the installation of a lightning protection system by Northeast Lightning Protection, LLC, who are headquartered in Bloomfield. After a lighting strike took out all of the electronic, heating, cooling and alarm systems last year the board decided to protect the building from future strikes and future potential for damage, including fire.


    BHS also hired local painting contractor Jim Parrott to scrap down and paint the Center School house, the historic one room school house which was moved from its original Barkhamsted Center location to its present location on Route 181. Jim did a nice job and the schoolhouse looks great with its fresh coat of paint.


    BHS has also hired Canton roofing contractor Greg Erisoty to replace the cedar shake roof on the schoolhouse. Greg is scheduled to begin work on the schoolhouse roof in late November.


    Several other projects are under consideration for next year, including possibly the construction of a working multi-purpose blacksmith shop and pottery shed. Also being considered is an interpretive trail through the grounds of Squires Tavern.


  • Local Artist Completes Trompe-l'œil Painting

    During the restoration efforts of Squires Tavern the location of an old staircase leading to the second floor was discovered by volunteers scraping paint. The discovery was detailed in an earlier Work Log post. After the discovery, the board decided to hire local artist Germaine Lemieux to create a Trompe-l'œil painting depicting what the staircase would have looked like. Trompe-l'œil is a French word meaning "to trick the eye", and is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects appear in three-dimensions, instead of actually being a two-dimensional painting.

    Local artist Germaine Lemieux poses in front of her Trompe-l'œil painting of the orignal stircase

    Trompe-l'œil painting of the orignial Squires Tavern staircase.
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