FEATURES

OLD BARN
Helen Hill (Parmelee) Leslie 1925-2009
Ernest Eugene, Edgar Pierson, Henry Elisha, Jonathan, Jonathan, William, Joseph, Isaac, John, John

Shore Publishing, June 24, 2010

GUILFORD BARN GETS GRANT

Family structure on Clapboard Hill Road is recipient of state preservation funds

Guilford, CONN. -- A barn will that's been in the family for generations will get a face-lift thanks to the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. The Helen (Parmelee) Leslie estate was recently awarded $6,125 for a conditions assessment and stabilization of the Parmelee Barn on Clapboard Hill Road.

Former Selectman Carl Balestracci, who wrote a letter to the organization in support of the application for the grant, said the Parmelee barn is one of the most historic in Guilford. "The barn is also one of the reasons why Clapboard Hill Road is one of the town's designated scenic roads," he said. (Photo credit: Fay Abrahamsson / The Guilford Courier)

Balestracci, an avid historian, said he has enjoyed reading about the history of the barn and the Parmelees, one of Guilford's founding families. Some of the information came from an Eagle Scout project of Jonathan Ingraham, the eldest son of Cindy Ingraham, one of Helen Leslie's children. When Helen Leslie died in 2009, the barn went to her three children.

Balestracci has a few ties to the barn and to the family himself. Ernest Parmelee, Helen Leslie's father, sold a plot of land near the barn to Balestracci's parents. "My parents never lived there but gave me the lot," he said.

The 1886 barn was used to house horses, tools, and to air-dry timbers from the Parmelee family sawmill, he said. "It is a very large, three-story barn. The third floor can still hold seven tons of materials."

The Parmelee mill, which long ago was part of the Goss property (East River Preserve) on Clapboard Hill Road, was powered by a water wheel. The family ran the mill for about 100 years after the Civil War, said Balestracci.

The state organization gave $54,000 this year to nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and to private owners of "significant" barns to support the efforts to preserve the structures.