Rutland County is losing one of its last remaining historic dairy barns - the circa 1839 Williams Farm barn. The barn is located along Route 7 in Rutland Town, along East Creek, north of the small highway bridge now under reconstruction.
The Williams' classic, 19th-century red barn was seriously damaged by heavy snow early in the winter of 2008-09.
The barn bears construction dates between 1839 and the 1880s, according to the McKernon Group of Brandon, the firm currently "deconstructing" the barn. Four distinct barn frames were revealed, showing the barns expansion over half a century.
Williams contacted the McKernon Group to help him rescue the remains of the structure for future resale by the firm.
According to Kevin Birchmore, co-owner and vice president of McKernon, "It's always sad to see these beautiful old barns demolished, but it will have a new life someday and at a new location."
Birchmore said the barn could have been restored 10 years ago, but a decade of neglect and rot took its toll; a heavy load of snow finally broke the structure's back.
"Our people are taking the barn apart a piece at a time," said Jan Smith of McKernon. "We've done this work several times before. It's a big job and more complicated than you think."
Owner Paul Williams deemed it too costly to repair the structure, according to Smith.
Every salvageable part of the old Williams' barn must be labeled before it goes into safe storage. Most recently, McKernon Group deconstructed a barn in nearby Sudbury and reassembled it across the state in Cavendish.
Once the barn is completely disassembled, it will be stored in a McKernon warehouse until a buyer is found.
In place of the historic barn, the Williams will erect a new steel structure and a fresh vegetable stand.
Birchmore said the valuable timbers of the Rutland Town barn may see the light of day as either a new barn or a private residence.
Owners Jack McKernon and Kevin Birchmore founded the McKernon Group in 1987 and incorporated the firm in 1995 in Brandon. In 1997 the partners opened a New York office. The firm's reputation has been built on unique, upscale home designs and craftsmanship.