The Clark farm barn in Richmond. Photo: Ted Andrews
On the other hand, its status as the best-preserved of the only three 18thth-century barns remaining in Richmond is of interest to preservationists. It has been standing in Richmond since approximately 1795, when the United States was still in its infancy. That very year, George Washington averted war with Britain by submitting the Jay Treaty to the Senate, which approved it.
The fact that this barn does not meet the architectural requirements for wine-making equipment may make it a candidate for demolition. The new owners’ plans for preservation of the property’s historic buildings have not been made public, and the Hansons did not respond to a request to be interviewed for this article.
In an Oct. 26, 2017, letter sent to the town, Preservation Massachusetts stated, “It is best preservation practice that historic buildings be preserved…on their sites in order to preserve their historical integrity…and broader landscape and community context.”
The Richmond Historical Society has also commented with: “The RHS mission states, in part, ‘To promote and foster a greater knowledge and appreciation of the history of the Town of Richmond, Massachusetts, … through preservation of historical materials and sites…’ We consider it [the barn] to be an important part of the community’s architectural heritage and the first distinctive rural feature one sees coming into town on Route 41. We hope the interested buyer of Clark Farm will consider its importance to our community, and creatively re-purpose the building in the winery we understand is planned to be developed on the property.” A concerned citizen, Verne Tower of Firetower Lane, said: “Most of my professional work is in historic preservation. I would hate to see that barn razed; it is a part of the New England countryside that we look forward to seeing every day. All of these New England buildings contribute something to our quality of life here…and that is why we live here. Architecture is extremely important to our community and we do not want to lose our architecture. We have lost far too much of it already.”
But Peter Smith of Dublin Road may have an answer that leaves everyone happy. Smith likened the antique barn to an old bottle of wine. He said that one would not take a 200-year-old bottle of wine and pour its contents into a new bottle if the wine could be sold with its original 200-year-old bottle intact.