barn cleanup croppedIt has been dirty work, but Trust volunteers have prepared a number of fun exhibits at the historic Atwood Farm in time for Connecticut Open House Day on June 11.

With dust masks in place and shop vacs humming – sometimes as many as three at a time — workers have cleaned and organized the farm’s outbuildings, including its blacksmith shop, weaver’s cottage, ice house, hen house and massive 19th century barn.

All of them will be open for public inspection from noon to 4 p.m. on Open House Day, a statewide event featuring 170 local attractions, historic sites and museums all over Connecticut.

The 67-acre Atwood Farm at Wormwood Hill and Mount Hope roads in Mansfield recently became the headquarters for Joshua’s Trust following its donation by the late Isabelle Atwood.

Built in 1883, the farm’s beautifully preserved barn has two levels plus a hay mow with a hayfork and carrier at the top. The sliding front doors open to create a very wide and tall opening to accommodate wagons.   The lower level, opening out to the barn yard and lane, used to house cattle.

Bruce Clouette, a local historian, is working on obtaining recognition for the structure on the Connecticut State Register of Historic Places. Visitors on Open House Day will see areas for tools of planting and harvesting, processing, animals and soil preparation.

“Since our open house last June when the weaver’s cottage was our only exhibit, the Atwood Committee has worked very hard to clean out the buildings and arrange and label tools and implements for new exhibits,” said Mona Anderson, committee leader.  “Several intense work parties have made this possible.”

Rudy Favretti, who also wrote the Trust’s history in a newly released book, has been working for months on the blacksmith shop.  It has an enormous number of tools for blacksmithing and carpentry and he has organized and displayed them.  A grain bin and chest in the shop were packed full of games and toys and other small items — some in a state of decay, others small treasures, Anderson said. Nancy Silander and Nan Cooper took on the sorting and salvaging operation in April.

Elsewhere around the property, volunteers leveled the floor of the open carriage shed so they could move a sled from the blacksmith shop to join the wagon that was there.   Nest boxes and feeders were added to the hen house, and the split-rail fence in the barn yard was restored.

There were a lot of volunteers putting elbow grease into the project, including Carol Enright, Jeannie and Stoddard Slayton, Peggy and Warren Church, Char and John Meyer, Paul Aho and, with his invaluable tractor, Greg Anderson.

Parking at the farm is available from Wormwood Hill Road.

wagon party sized
Trust volunteers gather outside the Atwood Farm’s massive barn by a wagon that will be among the exhibits on Connecticut Open House Day June 11. A number of the farm’s outbuildings have been cleaned and organized for the event.