Due to cost overruns, the Swede Run Barn restoration project is still about $15,000 short of where its fundraising needs to be. When you’re rehabbing a 150-year-old building, these things happen.
Julie Maravich, member of the and a project organizer, said when workers , they discovered the rafters had completely deteriorated.
The scope of the unexpected (and unwelcome) repairs pushed the project cost overbudget (the fact that the estimate was a couple years old didn’t help either). Supporters had raised $17,000, but now find themselves down to $7,000, with $22,000 still owed, Maravich said. “So we need a lot of money.”
Organizers have arranged for a Barn-themed art exhibit at the Smith-Cadbury Mansion—Historical Society headquarters—on June 2, Moorestown Day. The exhibit will feature prints from local photographer Jan Daniels, but willing to loan it for display. The exhibit is free, with a suggested donation of $5.
Daniels, of Moorestown, said he drives by the Swede Run Barn quite often and, as an amateur photographer, like so many amateur artists in and around Moorestown, was drawn to it some time ago.
“The barn was an object that caught my attention,” he said. “It is an object of art … an object that attracted people.”
Daniels has taken between 40 to 50 photos of the historic structure, which he is selling at several locations around Moorestown, including the Historical Society, , , , and . All the proceeds from his prints ($25 for a 5x7, $35 for an 8x10) go toward the restoration.
“We’ve gotten a good response so far,” he said. “But it’s still a little bit underground, it still has to really bloom, and we’re running out of time.”
Daniels also created a coffee table book containing photographs and information about the barn, with proceeds from those sales also going toward the restoration.
Lisa Hammell, president of the Historical Society, said the Rancocas Valley Plein Air Painters will also be creating barn artwork for the June 2 exhibition.
Asked why people like Daniels and the Plein Air Painters have taken such an interest in the Swede Run Barn, Hammell explained the more than 150-year-old structure represents, for many, .
“It’s one of the last remaining original buildings in this area,” she said. “All these developments are springing up all over the place, and this building’s still there … It’s really important for our younger generation to see what the area was like way back when.”
Maravich said now that the roof is complete, stonemason George Bobb is in the process of repairing the cracks in the building. Once that’s finished, the front and back doors will be installed. And once they’re in, the project will be done.
She said the goal is to finish the project this summer, but could not provide a more exact completion date.
In addition to donations and proceeds from Daniels’ sales, Maravich said she’d like to see the township release money from the Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund to help pay for the project.
Throughout the restoration, Maravich said local archaeologist Jack Cresson has been digging around the field surrounding the barn in hopes of uncovering its origins, including when it was built and what it was used for.
"We would love to know whether it was a house," she said.
Donations by check should be made out to The Historical Society of Moorestown with “barn restoration” on the memo line. Donations should be mailed to Julie Maravich, 660 Chester Ave., Moorestown, NJ 08057.