Save the Derrin House!

$2,655 of $25k goal

Raised by 41 people in 11 months
Eric Throndson
for Avon Historical Society Inc
Our heads are spinning.  Yesterday morning the calls and emails started flying.  The Derrin Farmhouse was on fire.  Our Derrin House.  We are the Avon Historical Society.  In June we planned on celebrating the 250th anniversary of the signing of the deed to the property in 1766!  For the last several months we have put on programs using the Derrins to tell the story of long-ago life in the Farmington Valley and now the house that Len Tolisano and John Forster and so many others had worked untold hours on to lovingly rehabiltate and restore was in flames!

Details began to come in.  A passerby had noticed smoke and called 911.  The Avon Volunteer Fire Department had responded rapidly and did a yeoman's job putting it out.  TV News crews swarmed the site. The fire had started by some oily rags that had spontaneously combusted in a garbage can.  There is significant damage from soot and water to both the house and the large number of interpretive artifacts inside.  The fire damage is localized to one part of the house but stretches to two floors.  We are waiting for reports from the experts, but we think the structure is basically sound.

At our emergency Board of Trustees meeting we reviewed the flurry of activity of the last 36 hours.  It is clear that the insurance won't cover everything, especially the work of conserving the antique artifacts that were damaged by water and soot.  

We will keep this campaign updated as we learn more and progress is made.  We humbly ask that you donate to help us as we try to keep this important story of early America alive.  We also ask that you share this campaign on social media and tell your friends and coworkers so they can help too.  As a bonus, the Avon Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) organization (EIN 23-7346729) so your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Thank you so much!

      Smoke Damage

     The Derrin House makes an appearance in Dr. Thorsen's presentation.

       The Derrin Farmhouse in happier times.

The Avon Historical Society:
Terri Wilson - President
Helaine Bertsch - Vice President
Sat Mayall - Treasurer
Carolyn McGrattan - Secretary
Sue Cho - Board of Trustees
John Forster - Board of Trustees
Mary Harrop - Board of Trustees
Ben Isaacson - Board of Trustees
Deb Key - Board of Trustees
Cal Miller-Stevens - Board of Trustees
Seb Saraceno - Board of Trustees
Eric Throndson - Board of Trustees
Len Tolisano - Board of Trustees
Peter Wright - Board of Trustees
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Update 4
Posted by Eric Throndson
5 months ago
AIR (American Integrity Restoration) is wrapping up their remediation work on the Derrin House! To celebrate, the Avon Historical Society will be holding an Open House on Sunday, November 20th from 1:00 to 4:00. You can come by and take a look. I was inside this weekend and it is really interesting. Since the plaster has been removed in areas we have a much better chance to look at the structure and building methods. We now believe that the oldest part of the building (18th century) was built elsewhere and then moved into this location. As part of the Open House we would like to give you a survey to get your input on the future of the house. This is a great opportunity to "think outside the box" and suggest uses for the property that would be of the most value to you and the community. The address of the house is 249 West Avon Rd, Avon CT. I really hope to see you there!

PS We are planning a 4-part lecture series in March and April to benefit the Derrin House. It will be held at the Avon Senior Center. I'll post more details as we get closer.
Did I mention there was lead in there?
Deodorizing the interior
Almost done!
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Update 3
Posted by Eric Throndson
7 months ago
Good news on our efforts with the Derrin House! After a lot of research and thought (and a lot of meetings!), the board selected American Integrity Restoration LLC (AIR) as our contractor. They began work last week. There are two parts to the work they are doing. One has to do with removing and restoring damaged artifacts. The second is working on the structure itself. They will be working to remove all damaged plaster and structure, replace windows and doors and fix the roof, and clean and deodorize the interior. While the insurance money won't be enough to restore the house, it should at least allow us to mitigate all of the fire damage and get to work on the restoration phase.
Board members with AIR as work commences
Interior damage
More damage
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Update 2
Posted by Eric Throndson
10 months ago
Hello everyone,
We are starting to receive quotes from remediation firms. The Board of Trustees has been meeting regularly. We also gave a short presentation to the Town Council to keep them updated. We are still assembling the jigsaw picture that is the way forward. The funding will need to come from the insurance, any state grants we can get , grants from private philanthropic organizations, and with the help of people like you. Thank you so much for being a part of this and please tell your friends and colleagues about this opportunity to save such an important piece of Connecticut's history dating back to 1766.

If you are like my, you have a father that already has too many ties, too many tools, too many shirts, too many books, etc. Maybe a contribution to the "Save the Derrin House" campaign in his honor would be a great Father's Day gift! And it's tax-deductible!
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Update 1
Posted by Eric Throndson
11 months ago
The last few days have been busy as we have met with people from various state, local and private organizations. We've learned about cleaning up fire damaged properties and that soot is acidic and causing damage as we speak. We still can't give definitive plans for the entire path forward, but we know the next few steps. The first step is to get the building tested for lead and asbestos. That will affect the second step which is to remove the smoke -damaged plaster and lathe. To pay for this entire project we will need to rely on a cobbled-together pool of insurance money, government grants, private grants, and donations from individuals like you. Please spread the word and help us preserve this one-of-a-kind historic homestead. Thank you!
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Read a Previous Update
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$2,655 of $25k goal

Raised by 41 people in 11 months
Created May 12, 2016
Eric Throndson  
Funds raised will benefit:
Avon Historical Society Inc
  Certified Charity
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Avon, CT
EIN: 237346729
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