Early in 2013, the Trust became aware of the Town of Harwinton’s efforts to relocate and reconstruct an historic 1795 farmhouse dismantled and removed to New Canaan, CT in the 1930’s. Through the preservation efforts of individuals in both towns, the house was rescued from demolition, dismantled and returned to Harwinton. A small cities grant provided the funding for this first phase of the project.
The GLPT met with members of the Harwinton House Building Committee and the Harwinton Historical Society, suggesting they apply to the CT Trust for a Technical Assistance Grant. The grant requires matching funds which the GLPT offered to provide, permitting the town of Harwinton to save the remainder of the small cities grant for the construction phase of the project. The grant’s purpose is to outline plans for the siting of the structure and establish an interior layout based on the town and Historical Society’s use of the building. A grant request of $21,800 was submitted and awarded with the GLPT and the CT Trust each funding 50%. The firm of Amaya Architects, Orange, CT were hired and the project is in process.
With site plan approval in hand from the land use boards, the consulting firm of Amaya is ready to provide a complete site layout for the house, septic and parking. With the cost of “shell only” construction estimated, the Committee is working with First Selectman Michael Criss to seek additional grant funds as well as donated services to keep the project moving forward.
Update: REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN. November 10, 2017.
Board votes to return Harwinton House money
BY JOSIE ALBERTSON-GROVE
HARWINTON — The Board of Finance on Thursday night moved one step closer to returning more than $27,000 in donations that would have gone to the Harwinton House project. The Harwinton House dates back to the 1700s, but in the 1930s, it was disassembled and moved to New Canaan to be used as a private residence. The house was slated for demolition in 2011, but the Harwinton Historical Society stopped the wrecker. The town received state grants and private donations intended to pay for taking apart the house, bringing it back to Harwinton and putting it back together to be used as a home for the historical society. But the project proved much more expensive than initially anticipated. The town abandoned the plan before the house could be reassembled. Today, it sits in pieces in trailers in the town.
The historical society and individual donors combined to pay the town more than $27,000 toward the project, and the town lately has been trying to return those donations. On Oct. 2, the Board of Selectmen voted toseek approval from the Board of Finance to return the donations to the historical society, which would make the individual donors whole. First Selectman Michael R. Criss sent a memo to the finance board during the day on Thursday, before their meeting that evening. “This is a reminder that the Board of Finance needs to take action on returning donations for the Harwinton House, as voted on at the selectmen’s (meeting),” he wrote. Criss attached the typed minutes of that meeting, marking in blue pen with stars around the record of that motion, and around Board of Finance Chairman Peter B. Thierry’s name on the list of those present. Thierry agreed he was present at that October meeting, and said he understood Criss wanted some action from the finance board. But he said he had expected to receive that request in writing, so he did not take it up at the October meeting. The finance board unanimously voted to approve returning donations intended for the Harwinton House to the original donors.