Horse-Drawn Equipment Building Dedicated on September 1, 2012
After nearly two years of planning and construction, the Paul E. Merrill Horse-Drawn Equipment Building was dedicated and opened to the public on September 1, 2012, during our 22nd Annual Old Fashioned Harvest Days Exhibition. President Alan Garrand welcomed members, visitors and special guests including members of the Paul E. Merrill family and NY State Senator Patty Ritchie. Secretary Roger Austin presented a summary of how the building had been designed and constructed. Sandra Goolden whose gift three years earlier initiated the project spoke about her father-in-law, P.E. Merrill and his love of Belgian horses. Goolden and her past husband, Paul D. Merrill had continued the Merrill family tradition of supporting community projects following Paul E’s passing. Sandra’s parents, Leon and Carole Goolden, had virtually matched her gift. Leon spoke of the generosity and hard work of those who made the project possible. Senator Ritchie presented a proclamation “on behalf of the people of the great Empire State, thanking members and supporters for their hard work in making this weekend, this museum and the new “Horse-Drawn Equipment Building” possible.” A plaque on the front of the building was unveiled and Ethan Merrill, the grandson of Paul E., invited all to enter the new facility.
NORTH COUNTRY HANDS BUILT THE CARRIAGE BARN
As reported by Roger Austin. From the Sept-Oct 2012 newsletter.
The new Horse-Drawn Equipment Building was built by the hands of North Country members and friends. The concept grew from meetings of a committee. Its T-shape followed that of the former Hosmer carriage house in Potsdam. The true timber frame construction used methods of the horse era. Wide wooden panels inside sawn by members provide a barn-like feeling. Tall cupolas with weathervane and finials reflect finer horse buildings. Windows provide light (soon to be UV-filtered) and a grand view of the campus. Gray metal siding and strong doors provide security and minimize maintenance.
Working drawings were prepared by Roger Austin and timber-framer Jacob Weaver. Engineering issues were addressed by Gordon Batson, PE, and Brooks Washington, AlA. Jim McGraw oversaw the harvesting, sawing, and delivery of large timbers to Weaver’s home where he and others prepared the mortise and tenon shapes. Foundations were built by Burns Construction Co. Weaver and his associates assembled the timber frame, roof, and walls. Cupolas were built by Ricky Burns. Museum members worked alongside these several builders hauling timbers to the site, doing actual construction, and grading around the building. As work began, John Miller III drew the pen and ink sketch of the original concept. Numbered copies were sold to help raise funds for the project.
HORSE-DRAWN EQUIPMENT BUILDING ADDS NEEDED SPACE
As reported by Roger Austin. From the Sept-Oct 2012 newsletter.
The addition of the Horse-Drawn Equipment Building adds needed space for the Museum’s growing collection. It took little time to fill much of the new facility with its collection of unique equipment including several items held in storage until then. A few improvements remain to be completed. However, the consensus of members and visitors was that it is a grand facility. The building has 5,200 square feet of floor space plus an additional 600 square feet in a mezzanine above the main entrance. The height of the new building will allow items to be suspended from its beams, providing a unique view from the mezzanine and the floor below. The building brings the total area of covered space for exhibits and activities at the Museum to over 20,000 square feet. The new exhibit space allowed us to bring several items out of storage providing new exhibits in the Collection Building and elsewhere.
Press Release 3/15/11
MADRID — The golden era of horse-drawn vehicles and equipment will be featured in a new building at the St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum.
Construction of the new 5,800 square foot Horse-Drawn Equipment Exhibit Building will begin this summer. All winter, trees have been harvested and sawn into great timbers that will be shaped by local craftsmen to support a timber-frame building. An estimated 28,000 board-feet of timber will be used in the posts, beams, braces, and rafters.
As you enter the completed building, you will pass by horse stalls and tack rooms. Statues of proud horses dressed in full harness will offer the opportunity to see and feel the history. Visitors will be able to help tighten cinches and get the animals ready for work. Beyond, you find yourself in the main section of the building where massive posts and beams soar above. From floor to rafters will be buggies, wagons, sleighs, sleds, and implements. Stairs will lead to the deck above the entrance where you will find smaller items and reference works. From the deck, you can look out upon the items exhibited in the main hall or look through the front windows at the museum’s grounds.
The museum has grown with the support of its members and friends. In 2009 the family of P.E. Merrill sent a gift of $74,250 to support the construction of a building to celebrate working horses, challenging others to contribute as well. The gift was in memory of Merrill who founded the Merrill Transport Company and who loved workhorses. Other relatives increased this sum to $90,000. The projected cost of the building is $148,000 leaving $58,000 to be raised. All those wishing to preserve treasures from the era of horses are invited to support and join us in this exciting project. In appreciation to those who send gifts of $50 or more, the museum will send a limited-edition, signed and numbered print of the pen and ink drawing of the building by John Miller III. Each print is on art paper, signed and numbered by the artist.
The Carriage Barn will be a major feature at this living history museum. The museum is on a 115-acre farm site. Beginning with the original farm buildings, the museum has added a 4,000 square foot multi-purpose building, a 2,400 square foot collection exhibit building, a maple sugar house, sawmill, and shoe repair shop. The village green will take shape this summer with the addition of an antebellum one-room schoolhouse and a 1920’s gas station.
In the future, four period farmsteads will be developed including the pioneer farm, a late-1800s horse-powered farm, a post ‘NVVI farm with early engines and tractors, and a post-WWII farm featuring more recent tractors, electricity, and other “modern” features. The village green will be expanded to include a blacksmith shop, print shop, church, and other vintage buildings.
HORSE – DRAWN BUILDING PLANNED
Roger Austin, From Sept-Oct 2009 newsletter
The Museum has received a gift of $74,250 to be used as seed money for the construction of a building to house horse-drawn equipment. The funds were provided by the family of P.E. Merrill, founder of the Merrill Transport Company through an advised grant from the Maine Community Foundation. The funds will be used to match other gifts earmarked for this new building. Details of the matching gift program will be released shortly. A committee will study design and construction options, guide fund-raising efforts, and consider possible architects. Their recommendations will be made to the Board of Trustees for action. From preliminary discussions, the building will have the recognized profile of a horse or carriage barn and provide approximately 4,000 square feet of secure display space. The building will be the first theme-based structure. Eventually, similar buildings may be erected for tractors, engines, steam power, or other subjects. These facilities will allow exhibition of a wide variety of these items in addition to those incorporated in the planned historical buildings or settings. If you wish to be involved in this project, please contact Trustees John Castle or Robert (Bob) Marshall.
Artist Rendering by John Miller III