The Greenwich Point Conservancy hosts the grand opening of the Restored Gateway and Old Barn at Greenwich Point, and the dedication of the Sue H. Baker Pavilion at the Old Barn, Sunday, Oct. 18, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., on site at Greenwich Point Park in Old Greenwich. The event, held rain or shine, celebrates the completion of the restoration by the Greenwich Point Conservancy of the historic Gateway, including the Old Barn, and the creation, in partnership with the Green Fingers Garden Club, of beautiful new Gateway Gardens. The event also celebrates the dedication and the establishment at the Old Barn of the new Sue H. Baker Pavilion.
The public is invited to attend the opening ceremonies, featuring a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Greenwich’s elected officials at 3:30 pm, the dedication of the Sue. H. Baker Pavilion at the Old Barn, and a reception following.
The centerpiece of the GPC’s Gateway project is the reconstruction of the historic Old Barn, which was built in 1887 and is the oldest surviving building at Greenwich Point. The Old Barn has been completely restored by the GPC, and the new work brings the building firmly into the 21st century, with its new stone and shingle exterior and new shingle roof, state-of-the-art FEMA-compliant infrastructure, rebuilt food concession and lifeguard/ first aid station and new rest rooms. The
restored Old Barn includes a beautiful new 4,000 square foot dining deck, with 27 new teak tables and seating for 125. The Gateway project also includes the removal of the brick municipal restroom building adjacent to the Old Barn.
The facilities at the Old Barn will be known as the Sue H. Baker Pavilion at the Old Barn, reflecting a naming gift honoring Sue Baker that was led by Greenwich residents Charles and Deborah Royce. Sue Baker is a co-founder of the Greenwich Point Conservancy, and has been active in Greenwich and at Greenwich Point for decades, as a teacher, a conservationist, an environmentalist and a preservationist.
The restored Gateway also includes the reconstruction of the stone pillars at the original gate to Greenwich Point, the reconstruction of the stone foundation of the original Gate Lodge, the restoration of the century-old stonewalls surrounding the Gateway, and the addition of beautiful new gardens throughout the Gateway. The gardens were created by the GPC in partnership with the Green Fingers Garden Club, and were designed and installed by Peter Grunow, noted landscaper and horticulturist and GPC board member. The GPC also commissioned and installed a bronze plaque on the new Gateway pillar that describes the history of the Gateway and the historic buildings at Greenwich Point. The pillar and plaque are adjacent to a new walkway that connects the Old Barn and the Innis Arden Cottage, and is lined with commemorative stones engraved with the names and messages of residents who purchased the stones. In addition to being beautiful, the restored Gateway also creates a safe and efficient pickup and drop off area for visitors to Greenwich Point.
The restoration of the Old Barn and Gateway completes the GPC’s work at the entrance to Greenwich Point that began with its first project, the restoration of the historic Innis Arden Cottage, executed by the GPC from 2005 – 2011. The Cottage, designed by noted pioneering female architect Katherine C. Budd (1860-1951), was built in 1903 in the early Craftsman bungalow style, and was originally a guesthouse on the estate of Mr. and Mrs. J. Kennedy Tod. Between 1906 and 1913 the Cottage was used as a summer retreat for Anna C. Maxwell, a pioneer of the nursing profession in America, and her nursing students from the New York Presbyterian Hospital. The GPC’s work at Innis Arden Cottage has received numerous awards for excellence in historic preservation and adaptive reuse, including a Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation Award for Excellence in Historic Restoration, an American Institute of Architects Award for Restoration and Adaptive Reuse, and a Greenwich Historical Society Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation.
Chris Franco, President of the GPC, commented, “We are thrilled with the outcome of the work at the restored Gateway at Greenwich Point. The restored Old Barn and stonework are magnificent, and the new Gateway Gardens are beautiful. The project has integrated the Old Barn with the Innis Arden Cottage to reflect the beauty and history of Greenwich Point, and positions the entire area to function in ways that will be enjoyed by the public for years to come. Further, we could not be more pleased that the spectacular new facilities at the Old Barn will forever be known for our dear friend and colleague, Sue Baker.”
Collaboration and funding
The restoration of the Old Barn and Gateway, and creation of the new Gateway Gardens, have been spearheaded by the Greenwich Point Conservancy in collaboration with the Town of Greenwich and the Green Fingers Garden Club, as well as many volunteers and partners. The project was funded through private fundraising efforts of the GPC, a generous donation of $35,000 for the Gateway Gardens from the Green Fingers Garden Club, and a $500,000 Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Assistance Grant for Historic Properties from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service (administered by the CT State Historic Preservation Office). GPC funds also included a naming gift, honoring Sue H. Baker, which was led by Charles and Deborah Royce and supplemented by donations from numerous friends and family honoring Sue Baker.
The Town of Greenwich is the owner of the Old Barn and all structures at Greenwich Point, and will administer the services that will be offered there, including the food concession and dining facilities, the lifeguard facilities and the restroom facilities.