Loss of Old Dairy Barn
Dear Friend of Shelburne Farms,
In case you have not already heard the news, I wanted to share that early Sunday morning September 11, the Old Dairy Barn at Shelburne Farms was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Fortunately, no people or animals were hurt. We are deeply saddened by this huge loss and are still a bit in shock.
Located across from the Breeding Barn on our Southern Acres campus, the Old Dairy Barn was an important presence and quiet partner in our programs. The incredible timber frame structure was skillfully crafted 125 years ago. Its loss forever changes the landscape at Shelburne Farms and at the same time heightens our appreciation for how much every historic building contributes to the fabric of this property and community.
The barn housed thousands of feet of the most beautiful lumber in the world. Slabs of wood, milled from 38 species of trees that grow on the Farm, lay stacked together as whole logs. Each told a wordless story that only our woodland stewards Marshall and Dana knew. That lumber was awaiting a new life as furniture to be used and enjoyed by future program participants at Shelburne Farms.
The Old Dairy Barn also housed our dreams and vision for growing Shelburne Farms as a place for shared learning. Our board, staff, and consultants had invested a lot of time and collective thought planning for its future rehabilitation as a residential learning center that would someday anchor and elevate our work educating for a sustainable future.
The structure is gone. Yet, the inspiration it gave us to see the amazing educational potential of Shelburne Farms is stronger than ever.
On the practical side, the barn was appropriately insured given its current use and condition. We made a carefully considered decision to insure the charitable contributions that went into stabilizing the building instead of trying to cover its full replacement cost. With the exception of our Historic Barn Tour, we are fortunate that we are able to continue to operate our programs and enterprises.
In response to those of you who are sending in wonderful unsolicited contributions, we have created a Resiliency Fund in honor of the Old Dairy Barn and the lumber that was lost. The Fund will help with expenses not covered by insurance and support additional fire protection improvements, new tree plantings, and campus planning for residential programming on the Farm.
We are so grateful for the outpouring of community support. Thank you for your care and thoughts as we work to adapt and grow from this unexpected turn of events.
P.S. Here is the Shelburne News article about the fire.