Controversy surrounds preservation of Richmond’s historic Clark barn

The Clark farm barn is the most well-preserved of three remaining 18-th century barns.

By Ted Andrews
Special to the Record
RICHMOND — After more than 150 years in the family, the town’s historic Clark farm on Route 41 at the Pittsfield/Richmond line, was sold on October 31 to Christian and Donna Hanson. The Hansons currently operate Balderdash Cellars winery on East Street in Pittsfield and intend to convert the farm to a winery.

Controversy has developed about the value of preserving the property’s historic barn. While barns once were a common sight in the Berkshires, this is no longer the case. The Clark barn is one of only three 18th-century barns remaining in Richmond. Of the three, the Clark barn is the best-preserved in terms of overall original condition, said national timber-framed building expert, Jack Sobon, who dated the structure to approximately 1795.

Some Richmond residents give paramount importance to the right of the individual property owner to decide how their property should be used, and resent the potential influence of governmental and outside influence on the fate of a barn like the Hansons’.
So, in this view, the new owners with winery plans can do whatever they deem fit with structures on their property, even a classic 18th-century barn.

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