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Swede Run Restoration Still Short of Goal

Work continues, but the Moorestown Historical Society needs to raise another $15,000 to pay for the project.

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.

Ross Chatham May 07, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Wouldn't it be cheaper just to build a new barn?
HomeBrew May 07, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Sincere thanks to all involved. This project seems to fit every criteria for funding from Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund and I believe Town Council should provide OS funds to complete the restoration. After all, as Mayor Button recently said: "Our citizens do pay [Open Space] taxes and that money just sits there." http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/burlington_county_times_news/parks-improvement-project-continues-to-be-contentious-in-moorestown/article_21ee3131-7ef3-5ef8-8f76-07ca76e77b3b.html
fyathyrio May 07, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Homebrew What happened to acquisition "only"? You support fields?
SteveS May 07, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Homebrew, Why did they bother putting a 21 century asphalt shingle roof on the structure? Sort of defeats the point of preserving the structure doesn't it.or is that roof temporary to keep the interior dry for some reason. Just curious.
HomeBrew May 08, 2012 at 09:23 PM
You should ask council what happened to "acquisition only." They've appropriated about $450K from OS fund over the past two years for salaries and maintenance.
fyathyrio May 09, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Homebrew, Isn't maintenance allowed just like development and historic and farming? What do you support is the question?
Ed Nice May 09, 2012 at 04:28 AM
HB I actually agree with you. That whole project should have been paid for out of the trust fund. As a builder though I think it is a shame that Tait went to all the effort to install large timbers for the new rafters and secure it with dowels ect. from what I hear, but then the build came up short by using sheathing to finish off the roof. I'm not sure who made that decision but it will diffidently detract from all that hard workmanship that Tait spent on the rafters. The job should be a complete historic renovation. The roof should have been sheathed with a tongue and groove board so when people look up from the inside of the building they see the original look. I haven't walked up on the building but if I am correct, even though the shingles look from the road to be a asphalt shingle, I think they are actually a fake slate. That I have no issue with knowing the cost of real slates. Good luck to all that are involved in the project.
SteveS May 09, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Ed, they took the time to timber frame and then threw plywood on it? That doesn't make any sense unless it is a temporary roof which is my guess. The roof as it is today does not aesthetically match the rest of the structure. Maybe thatch would be more appropriate? But thanks for the answer.
Ed Nice May 09, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Steve I would doubt that they would go through the cost of putting up a temp, roof when the project is short on funds. Besides I doubt that another month or 12 of rain would really hurt a building that has been leaking for years. The timbers aren't going to rot over night. I think the roof is what it is and a keeper. This is what happens when the people allowed to make the decisions don't know about what is important to a historic preservation. I'm not taking a dig at anyone just it is what it is. It doesn't seem like a lot of people got involved to put their input into the project. Then again maybe they did discuss it and they decided this was all they could afford. Not sure what the issue is. I am sure the building will be much more secure and water tight for years to come when it is done. I think on this rainy day i may just take a stoll on out and take a look around. Info to come!
Third base coach May 09, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Btw- thanks to all who have contributed and worked on this project. I drive by there often, like to see it!!
Third base coach May 09, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Homebrew and Steve are you saying that the asphalt roof shouldn't have been placed? Does using the money from the open space, historic, rec fund qualify for this? I'm guessing you mean ok for open space because it's on land acquired for open space, I'm guessing it's ok as for the historic part because it's over 150 years old, but where would this qualify as a recreation reason? Should we throw in a rowing machine and take donations for some to workout?
Ed Nice May 09, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Ok guys just went out and looked at the barn. The roof is not a asphalt roof at all. it is a synthetic roof system that looks like a slate roof. Very expensive stuff but cheaper than real slates. It is most likely Truslate by GAF. When you get up on the building it looks very nice. I think once the rakes are painted it will make the building look finished. I couldn't tell from where I was standing but they may have blanked the ceiling and then sheathed over it so there would be no exposed roofing nails. It was hard to see because of the dog that was behind the gate keeping me from getting to close. George Bob was hard at work doing a nice job parging the interior walls of the barn. They used a nice Tongue and Groove on the Gable wall facing away from the street. When the job is done it will look very nice. Shame no one asked the township manager to put a request in to use OS trust to get the work done! That's what it is there for and in the scheme of things it would never effect the trust fund for other uses.
Ed Nice May 09, 2012 at 08:35 PM
TBC the same way that building a bathroom or walking track would qualify. You have seen from my article that was posted on the patch what qualifies though you may not agree with it. The ordinance is what it is and it isn't going to change because individuals like yourself want to try and twist the words in the ordinance. The fact is the barn project doesn't have to pass all 5 things to qualify for the work to be done with OS trust, just one. It is a historic building and there for qualifies for the money period. Stop trying to stir the pot. No ones biting!!
Third base coach May 10, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Thanks for the updates Ed, good "field reporting".

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