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Shaking Up Shaker Village

How easy is it to get a 4-wheel-drive 135-foot articulated man lift weighing 40,000 pounds stuck in the mud? Quite easy, as it turns out.

That, at least, was our experience—Robert Silman, Mike Auren, Jenna Cellini, and me—who spent three days evaluating the condition of the wall masonry of the North Family Great Stone Barn at the Mt. Lebanon Shaker Village, in New Lebanon, NY.

Nearly 200 feet long and fifty feet wide, the structure is considered the largest stone barn on the Western Hemisphere. Built in 1859, the barn burned in 1972, and has stood without significant stabilization since then. Wall masonry is extremely deteriorated and in danger of collapse. The World Monuments Fund and the Shaker Museum and Library are funding the survey and preparation of documents for stabilization.

Silman and Pokorny staff are designing a protection system which will include cabling and frame supports, as well as localized masonry reconstruction, wall grouting, through wall anchors, lintel supports, and copings.

Just this past week, the project was awarded a $400,000 Save America's Treasures grant from the National Park Service.