Sunrise Senior Living saves antique Wilton barn

Publish Date:

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

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News Organization:

Connecticut Post

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WILTON — The 19th century barn on the former site of Young’s Nurseries at 211 Danbury Road will remain a historic landmark in town, now that the antique structure is being saved and donated to the Wilton Historical Society.

The barn has been on the land Charles Orem purchased in 1920 when he moved to Wilton and has witnessed the development of the Orem’s dairy business and the well-known Wilton Farmers baseball team, among other key historic events, said Allison Sanders, the Society’s director of communications.

“We are absolutely delighted that such an important piece of Wilton’s agricultural architecture is being saved for future generations,” Sanders said.

“It’s very gratifying to welcome a new corporation to Wilton and we so appreciate their good corporate citizenship in giving a gift like to this the community,” she added.

That corporation is Sunrise Senior Living, which announced it would save the historic barn and donate the structure to the Society on Jan. 4. As construction efforts for a new 90-unit assisted living facility with memory care at 211 Danbury Road are about to begin, making this announcement was an obvious decision, said Philip Kroskin, senior vice president of real estate at Sunrise Senior Living.

With a commitment to local historic preservation, Sunrise Senior Living carefully designs its senior living communities by taking architectural cues from the local area and/or preserved spaces, such as the Silas Burke House in Virginia, where another one of its senior living communities is opening in late January.

Kroskin expects the new senior living community in Wilton to be completed in mid-2019 and to have nine units of affordable housing.

“We feel it is extremely important for us to be part of the community in which we’re located, because we’re caring for the community,” Kroskin said. “With that being said, we believe very much in historical preservation and in environmentally conscious buildings.”

Kroskin said Sunrise Senior Living will cover the cost of dissembling the structure while the society will store the structure and begin fundraising to restore and repurpose it. So far, those involved in the effort have discussed reassembling the barn on the society’s small complex on Olmstead Hill Road, Sanders said, but that decision is pending upon closer examination of the site.

Lee Wilson, an emeritus trustee and co-vice president of buildings and grounds at the society, said the group is eager to start preserving the dairy barn.

“In this age of tear-downs, and scant appreciation or understanding of our past, it is refreshing to see Sunrise’s commitment to historic preservation,” Wilson said.

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