Latest News


South Barn Restoration Project

posted May 22, 2014

Friend of Southlands,

As many of you have heard at recent Southlands events, the Board approved the structural repair and exterior renovation of our South Barn. Since that time we have approached a number of local charitable foundations and donors to establish seed funding for the project, and we are happy to report success in this endeavor. Now we are asking our loyal Southlands Membership to participate.

Southlands’ South Barn is a local landmark and structural icon for the thousands of drivers who pass by going to and from Rhinebeck. Many drivers actually stop to photograph the building against the beautiful Hudson Valley backdrop. In addition to its beauty, the structure harks back to the region’s late 19th century history and to Deborah Dows’ vision of Southlands as a working and educational farm. Furthermore, as the Foundation has expanded its operations into growing its own hay, the renovated South Barn will allow the Foundation to renew our commitment to its agrarian history by fulfilling the Barn’s original purpose as a hay storage facility. We will also be able to protect ourselves against the uncertainty of hay costs by growing and storing our own production.

We hope that you will join us in supporting this important project by making a donation. Before the launch of this campaign, we have received generous donations towards the roof repair, and the replacement of one of the six cupolas. To date, we are nearly 50% of the way to our total funding requirement of $235,000. Your support at any level will help us complete the Barn restoration, and will be an important indicator of our Memberships’ commitment to our Mission and our agrarian past. It will also be an important foundation as we reach out to the broader Dutchess County community for their contributions.

There are many opportunities to underwrite aspects of the construction:

$10,000                      Copper Lightning protection system

$5000                           Restoration of one cupola (5 more needed)

$3500                           Replacement of one medium door (1 needed)

$2750                           Restoration of large sliding barn door (3 needed)

$1000                           Replacement of one large window (23 needed)

$500                             Replacement of one small window (13 needed)

The above is just a sampling of our “wish list” and any contribution – big or small – will help us realize this goal. Your support at any level will let us bring the current South Barn back to an improved version of its 1913 incarnation.

On May 31 at 4:30, Susie Williams and Nancy Strohsahl will lead a walk to the barn to talk about the Barn’s history and anticipated renovations. It will be a great opportunity to see what’s needed and hear Susie’s memories of growing up with Deb Dows and the Barn!

The Board and clearly many individuals in the broader community are looking forward to the prospect of an historically accurate renovation of our 19th century hay barn. Join us and become a part of this important improvement to the Southlands property!

Very truly yours,

Helen C. van der Voort

President, The Southlands Foundation