Calling all Basalt buffs
BASALT The Basalt Regional Heritage Society needs helping hands for a barn re-raising.The heritage society wants to restore the century-old Arbaney Barn that’s located next to Arbaney Park. The log structure needs to be dismantled, then some logs need to be replaced, the roof repaired, a new foundation poured and an electrical system added.The project is estimated to cost $243,000, according to society president Diana CordovaElliott. The society received a bid from an expert in restoration of historic log structures.Heritage society leaders see the barn as the perfect place to establish a living history museum. Volunteers would be in period dress and demonstrate what life was like for ranching families at the turn of the 20th century.”It’s definitely going to be a living museum because we’re going to bring to life stories of Basalt,” CordovaElliott said.The museum would also display a growing collection of historic relics, including many items from the old Midland Railroad.Janice Duroux, a Basalt native and organizer of the heritage society, said the community has, unfortunately, never set aside a building for a museum. Now, property prices make it hard to acquire a site, so reconstruction of the Arbaney Barn and its conversion into a museum makes the most sense. The town government owns the barn and gave its permission to pursue the renovation.”It’s just a needed thing in town, but we don’t know how to get people excited about it,” Duroux said.The effort suffered a setback earlier this year when the Colorado Historical Society turned down a grant request for the second time. Instead of giving up, heritage society leaders vowed to try harder to find support at home.CordovaElliott said her talks with officials at the Gates Foundation, which helps restore historic structures, made her confident that a grant could be acquired, the community demonstrates its support by raising the first $90,000.A bulk mailing was sent appealing to Basalt residents to contribute. CordovaElliott asked people to consider the heritage society’s record since its founding in 2000. “Every time we want to do something, we deliver,” she said.The organization commissioned three bronze sculptures that represent the town’s ranching, railroad and fishing heritage. It’s also established a historic walking tour and erected placks in front of 15 key sites.The heritage society also hosts fireside chats with historic figures or experts on historical events.The organization is seeking funds for the barn’s restoration, but not for operating expenses. Volunteers will staff the museum and the town government will take on maintenance.So far, $20,000 has been collected for the effort. The town has pledged $10,000 in in-kind support; Community Bank of Basalt and George Draper Construction are among donors who have given $10,000 so far.Donations can be made at Community Bank of Basalt or by sending a check to Basalt Regional Heritage Society, P.O. Box 3008, Basalt, CO 81621.The organization’s website has more information about its programs and the museum project. The address is http://www.basaltheritage.org.
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