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Sunrise Senior Living Saves Historic Wilton Barn Before Construction Starts

The 19th-century Charles Orem Barn on the former site of Young’s Nursery in Wilton will be preserved before construction begins on a new senior living community.
The 19th-century Charles Orem Barn on the former site of Young’s Nursery in Wilton will be preserved before construction begins on a new senior living community. Photo Credit: Contributed
The interior of the 19th-century Charles Orem Barn on the former site of Young’s Nursery in Wilton.
The interior of the 19th-century Charles Orem Barn on the former site of Young’s Nursery in Wilton. Photo Credit: Contributed
The 19th-century Charles Orem Barn on the former site of Young’s Nursery in Wilton will be preserved before construction begins on a new senior living community.
The 19th-century Charles Orem Barn on the former site of Young’s Nursery in Wilton will be preserved before construction begins on a new senior living community. Photo Credit: Contributed
The 19th-century Charles Orem Barn on the former site of Young’s Nursery in Wilton will be preserved before construction begins on a new senior living community.
The 19th-century Charles Orem Barn on the former site of Young’s Nursery in Wilton will be preserved before construction begins on a new senior living community. Photo Credit: Contributed
The 19th-century Charles Orem Barn on the former site of Young’s Nursery in Wilton will be preserved before construction begins on a new senior living community.
The 19th-century Charles Orem Barn on the former site of Young’s Nursery in Wilton will be preserved before construction begins on a new senior living community. Photo Credit: Contributed

WILTON, Conn. — Young’s Nursery is gone, but a historic 19th-century barn on the Wilton property will be saved and donated to the Wilton Historical Society.

Sunrise Senior Living, which is about to begin construction on its new assisted living community on the property at 211 Danbury Road/Route 7, is preserving the historic barn.

“This was simply the right thing to do, and we are excited to help preserve such a special part of Wilton’s history,” said Philip Kroskin, senior vice president of real estate for Sunrise. “Sunrise is committed to thoughtful, sustainable design of our communities, which includes being compatible with the surrounding land. We respect the important aspects of neighborhood life that came before us, while also looking ahead to our new Sunrise community, which will become home for area seniors.”

Sunrise has agreed to cover the cost of disassembling the structure in order to save it.

The historic structure is known as the Charles Orem Barn.

Connecticut’s barns are vanishing treasures, according to Lee Wilson, an emeritus trustee and co-vice president of buildings and grounds at the society.

“The Wilton Historical Society is eager to preserve this dairy barn, an antique structure that is an essential piece of Wilton’s history," Wilson said. "In this age of teardowns, and scant appreciation or understanding of our past, it is refreshing to see Sunrise’s commitment to historic preservation.”

The Wilton Historical Society plans to store the 19th-century structure and begin fundraising to restore and repurpose it.

According to the society, the barn will most likely be rebuilt as a dwelling on the Cannondale campus. Similar to most of the other historical structures the Society has preserved, the barn will be rented out to pay for ongoing preservation maintenance.

“It’s a win-win for Wilton, that’s for sure,” said Allison Sanders, director of communications of the Wilton Historical Society. “This is a very generous gift to the community and we are enormously grateful to Sunrise for their contribution and for having the foresight to save a historic structure for future generations.”

Sunrise’s commitment to local historic preservation extends to another one of its new senior living communities, Sunrise at Silas Burke House, opening in late January in a suburb of Washington, D.C. Built on the grounds of the Silas Burke House (c.1842) in Burke, Va., Sunrise’s new community was designed to preserve the physical structure of the nearby historic home. Sunrise agreed to help maintain the 193-year-old house indefinitely and open it for various neighborhood groups to use.

Sunrise’s new senior living community in Wilton is tentatively scheduled for completion in mid-2019.

For more information on the Wilton Historical Society, visit www.wiltonhistorical.org

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