A piece of Basalt is saved, restored | AspenTimes.com

A piece of Basalt is saved, restored

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BASALT – It took the Basalt Regional Heritage Society 10 years of toil and a bevy of fundraising pitches to restore the Arbaney Barn, so savoring success will be particularly sweet on Sunday.

The society raised roughly $200,000 to restore the 100-year-old structure, according to Janice Duroux, a founder of the organization. The structure that once housed livestock will now host living history displays and a variety of revolving exhibits on ranching and mining and railroads.

“It’s our first museum, our first and our only,” Duroux said. Basalt needed a place to put its rich history on display, she added.

Bill Bailey of Historic Applications, a firm from Wheatridge, has chipped away at the restoration work over the last two summers. His contract totaled about $133,000. Materials, concrete and other construction work boosted the total spent on the project to the $200,000 range.

“For at long as it was there, it was in pretty good shape,” Bailey said.

The log structure was used as a horse barn by the Emery Arbaney family, which acquired the land in 1909, according to the heritage society. The Arbaneys raised cattle and grew potatoes, like a lot of the midvalley ranchers in the early 20th century. The family sold the property in 1973 and the barn ended up on land that became Arbaney Park.

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Bailey said the barn includes an interesting system for hoisting hay into a loft. There is a hay rail down the middle with a system of bars that would slide under hay and hooks that would lift up. The system no longer operates but it remains as a display.

The roof of the structure was replaced and the entire structure was elevated nine inches to replace bottom logs. On Sept. 1, Bailey finished foundation work. The Arbaney Barn was interesting to work on because it was fairly large for a log structure, he said.

“I’m a history guy more than a builder,” Bailey said. “I started doing building just to keep my hands in it.”

Duroux said the restoration was the first major project undertaken by the heritage society. “We’ve been working on this for 10 years. People are getting tired of hearing about it,” she quipped.

People can now celebrate the completion of the restoration. A potluck gathering will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at the barn. Community Bank of Basalt will be honored as the first sponsor. It contributed $5,000, according to Diana CordovaElliott of the heritage society.

The restoration work will be on display and there will be tours of the nearby kilns at Arbaney Park, which were also restored recently. The heritage society will supply the lemonade and dessert. Anyone that attends is asked to bring a main or side dish.

Duroux said the heritage society will also collect ideas about how people want the museum used.

scondon@aspentimes.com