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Colonial Barn

Barn Free

Wellesley Life, February 2004

After shelling out $756,000 for a building lot that included a rare antique barn, the new owner was happy to give the barn away. But it wasn't an easy thing to do.

The barn was set on a lot that was broken off from the parcel at 126 Brook St. , where an antique colonial, built in 1695 and purported to be the oldest house in Wellesley, sits. The colonial and the barn had been on the market for a long time, so the owners subdivided the lot and offered the two parcels for sale separately.

Mark Heavner, of Heavner Construction in Holliston, purchased the 2,014 square-foot building lot for a figure he called "way too much." As soon as he hung his company sign on the property, he said he was besieged with calls from Wellesley residents asking what was going to happen to the barn. He didn't want to demolish it, but he wasn't eager to prepare the lot for the building.

Luckily, the house parcel went under agreement and the soon-to-be-owners, Leo and Beatrice Hermancinski of Cambridge, were interested in acquiring the barn to use as a garage. "I'd have to pay something to build a garage," he said. "It seemed better to take the barn and use that. "

The Hermancinskis hired Tim Murphy, of Colonial Barn Restoration, to move and restore the barn. Murphy was delighted the barn was being saved because he said it's rare to find one this old. "The barn is at least 200 years old," he said. "It has gunstock posts. " Murphy surmised it had probably been a homesteader's barn. He also said it had an extra bent added to it in the early 1800s.

It cost $35,000 to move the barn, said Murphy, but if it had to be taken apart and transported, which is what typically happens, it would have cost about four times that price. Murphy then contracted with Heavner to assist and then prepare the eventual site for the barn. Admiral Building Movers, a company Murphy has used in the past, were hired to physically move the structure.

Meanwhile, the current owners of the colonial had to agree to let the barn be moved to and stored temporarily on their property, since their closing doesn't take place until the end of the month. Also, three permits had to be secured from the town. Murphy said they were lucky, "only one big maple tree, one white cedar and some shrubs" had to be removed to clear a path for the barn.

Finally, on Monday, Feb. 2, under a bright blue sky, the barn was successfully moved. It took approximately five hours, and although there were a few tight spots to navigate, no major mishaps occurred. Whenever the barn was moving and appeared to be in jeopardy, "Halt!" would be shouted from the workers and progress would stop.

The Hermancinskis dropped by to watch for a short while. Mr. Hermancinski said he wasn't exactly sure how much restoration will be done or what the rest of the barn will be used for, but ideas are coming to him. "My son, he said, "likes the idea of using the back portion for an indoor basketball court." The Hermancinskis have three children.


Laura Nalesnik

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