BARNS along the RIVER

 

The St Lawrence River between Canada and the United States

Grindstone Is

The Boldt Farm located on Wellesley Island

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  Grindstone Island has several barns and we were grateful to Quentin Rueckert, whose family has long time ties to the Island, for giving a tour so photographs could be taken.  Presently, as with other barns on this site, we are trying to get as much history as possible on each barn.  Please send any information or corrections to the email address above.

  There is a website on the Island giving some of its history.  The site is known as The Grindstone Island Research & Heritage Center.

 

  Some of the barns can be seen from the River as one goes around the island.  The rest are best seen from traveling the roads. 

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  First in the order of the trip was a well used barn that well illustrates beautiful aged wood on its sides.  Located on the old Cain Farm, it is now owned by Henry Lang and is said to have been built in the mid 1800's.  Previous owners include Cain, Bob Garnsey, and Atherton.  Anne Peron related that the farm was purchased in 1895 by Anne Atherton after her husband died.  Anne Atherton's parents, David and Margaret Parry were already living on Grindstone at the time, along with several siblings.

 

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  Second on our trip was the MacLean Barn.  It is in tip top condition and well maintained.  Previously owned by the Cummings, it is said to have been built about 1925.

 

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  From Flynn Bay one can see the barn of Sylvia Shoultes, which is still in use.  Partly it is used to store hardwoods for items such as the Grindstone bread knife. It is located on the old Pananen Farm and was built by Victor & Miina Pananen,  Finnish immigrants who purchased the farm from F. Burton Garnsey in 1929. The farm was originally settled by Thomas Flynn.  

  The barn, measuring 30' x 120' is a reconstruction of hand hewn beams of a barn built in the 1800's in Chaumont and later taken down.  The timbers were brought across the ice and reassembled by the numbers put on them when the Chaumont barn was  disassembled (cf. barn at Hammond).  The lumber for the rest of the barn was sawed on the farm.  A previous barn on the farm, built in the 19th Century burned in the late 1920's.

   With a reconstruction grant from New York State under Gov. Pataki, Sylvia has engaged in a preservation program that included foundation work, some timbers, added strengthening rods, siding, portions of the roof and a total repaint of the roof.  At right the barn is shown in a recent 2007 photograph.  It will take awhile for the new boards to weather, but here is a great barn with a new life.  Unfortunately the grant program has expired.

 

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  The Mid River Farm was owned by the Murray family and the Bacon family before.  It was acquired in June 2003 by deed to the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT).  There is hope that this historic structure will be safeguarded and preserved.

 

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  The John Cantwell Barn  had previous owners of Judy Bacci, Robert Rusho, David Garnsey Sr., Joe Turcott, and Harry Gordon.

 

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   Previously an unknown barn, thought possibly an old ice house because of the absence of windows, is now established as having been a granary that was used to store threshed grain.  It is not in its original location, having been moved in the mid 1980's by former owners named McCarthy.  The front door was later modified by the next owners who used it for boat storage. (information with thanks from Elsbeth Brown-Parr, present owner. )

 

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  King barn, built by Billy Delaney, a barn builder.  Two previous barns burned before this one.  Prior owners include John Kellogg, Clyde Garnsey, Daniel Garnsey, and Tom McCrae.  This barn is featured on the new website entitled  Thousand Islands Life,  authored by Paul Malo, which includes information on Grindstone Island, in addition to fine presentations of the rest of the 1000 Islands.

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  Rusho barn on the Clayton side of the island.  It was built by Vandergriff about 1900.  It has passed through several owners including Kellogg, TILT, Rowland, and Rusho, and now owned by Mark Purcell.

 

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   Baum barn submitted by Charles Baum, in Rusho Bay.  This was owned by his grandparents, Charles and Helena Bentzen who took it over as a dairy farm in 1927.  They took milk to the Island Cheese factory at that time.  Mr. Baum's parents, Lloyd and Camilla live on the farm during the summer and are the current owners.

 

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  Howard-Smith barn,  formerly known as the McFadden & Black Farm.

 

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OTHER GRINDSTONE BUILDINGS

   Although not barns, they are part of the unique life on Grindstone Island, especially when well inhabited by year around residences who mostly farmed and send their children to the local schools on the island.

 

   There are two school houses on the island with the second shown at right known as the Lower School House.

 

 

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  Serving the spiritual needs of the Islanders is a Methodist Church, still in use today.

 

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  In the past the dairy industry thrived on the island.  One of the main ways to preserve the product was to turn it into cheese.  At right is all that is left of the Grindstone Cheese Factory.

 

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  Updated  February 16, 2008