Historic barn disassembly nears completion

Contributed photos

A crane was brought to the construction site at 211 Danbury Road on Thursday, Feb. 15, to complete the disassembly of the historic barn on the former Young’s Nurseries property as part of an agreement reached between the Wilton Historical Society and Sunrise Senior Living in September.

Commercial real estate developer Senior Living Development purchased the 3.8-acre property in 2016 with plans to convert it into a 90-unit senior living facility and sell it to Sunrise Senior Living.

This past August, the Historic District and Historic Property Commission imposed a 90-day demolition delay in hope of saving the barn. Before the delay expired, Sunrise and the Wilton Historical Society came to an agreement on the barn’s fate — Sunrise would not only donate the barn to the historical society but also cover the cost of disassembling and storing it for future restoration.

Disassembly of the barn began Jan. 15. Its 20th Century roof and its frame — believed to be from the 1800s or earlier, according to the Wilton Historic District and Historic Property Commission — will be stored in a container on the Wilton Historical Society's Cannon Corner campus until funds are raised to rebuild the barn.

According to the historic commission, the property at 211 Danbury Road was previously part of the 26-acre parcel at 213 Danbury Road, purchased in 1920 by Charles Orem with a house dating from about 1875. The land was used for Orem’s dairy farm and for a baseball field where the Wilton Farmers team played.

"Weather permitting," Historic District and Historic Property Commission Chair and Wilton Historical Society Co-director Allison Sanders said, the barn disassembly should be fully complete sometime next week.

Construction on the new senior living facility is slated to begin sometime this year.

The facility, intended for older seniors who need daily assistance, will be the third for-profit assisted-living center in Wilton.

According to a July 2016 Wilton Bulletin poll that asked if an assisted living facility should be built at 211 Danbury Road, 74% of respondents said no, 21% said yes and 5% were undecided.