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First Company Governor’s Horse Guard barn restoration is in the works

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In an important local and historical move, the Avon Historical Society is planning on the restoration of an abandoned barn that once housed the First Company Governor’s Horse Guard. The Society’s plans were officially publicized on Dec. 31 in the Hartford Courant.

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The landmark barn was functional and in use from 1954 to 2003. About a year ago, in order to prevent further deterioration and damage to the building, a tarp was put on the south wall to protect the building’s interior. Volunteers also built a plywood wall to provide stability.

As in all restoration projects, funding for the project has been slow. In discussion with the Hartford Courant, Leonard Tolisano who is an Avon Historical Society member and retired cavalry caption of the Horse Guard said, "The building is badly deteriorating and we're working on it.”

It took four years to secure a property lease from the state of Connecticut. During that time, the roof sustained significant water damage so that now the barn also needs a new roof and replacement of rafters.

Terri Wilson, president of the society realized early on this would be a difficult and slow process, and one requiring a fair amount of money. Since the society has neither a fundraising committee nor a building committee, and it is a strictly volunteer effort, they are in it for the long term.

They have received some donations, raised some money and received a few small grants. These funds are expected to help with the restoration start. Wilson notes that barns are disappearing from the Connecticut landscape in an alarming rate and feels it is important to preserve some of them.

Wilson told the Hartford Courant,

We don't have a clear picture of the use of the barn yet. We have a lot of work to do and are focusing on the roof and south wall now.

The barn and property has a history dating back to the 1800s. Back then, the barn was used in farming until much later. Then it became the home for the horses of the First Company Governor's Horse Guard..

Capt. Ed Henfey of the First Governor's Horse Guard has worked with Tolisano at the Old Horse Guard Barn. It was a fine barn with lots of Connecticut history. He agrees and hopes that the barn can be brought back “to the showcase that it is.”

Wilson is hopeful that anyone who would like to donate on behalf of the barn will send whatever they can to support the project to Avon Historical Society, P.O. Box 448, Avon CT 06001. More information is availabe at 860-678-7621.

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