BLOOMFIELD-- Sitting alone in a grassy field just off Route 185 is a historic barn in need of a major fix.
If you look to the left as you enter the landmark Auerfarm, it's the single structure known affectionately as the 'Shroom Barn. Years of laying dormant and a run of relentless winters have taken a toll on the rare ceramic tile barn that is approaching its 100th birthday, and now Auerfarm Executive Director Jack Hasegawa is taking steps to raise the funds needed to resurrect the small building.
"There are no buildings like this any place else in New England and very few in the rest of the country," Hasegawa said.
The barn, which was built in 1919, actually did serve as a place to grow varieties of mushrooms up until World War II. Hasegawa noted that Auerfarm, which also is a 4-H education center, is hoping to transform the barn into a marketplace and small environmental learning center.
"The most urgent thing is to cover the roof so it doesn't leak this winter," Hasegawa said.
The repair plan calls for three phases that will take about two to three years.
The blue prints for the new, revitalized barn come from Dale Bertoldi, a Bloomfield-based architect who is pitching in to save the 'Shroom Barn. Bertoldi said the ceramic tile design is what make the barn so rare.
"This is a significant structure that Bloomfield should be proud of," Bertoldi said. "We need to preserve it."
More information on the barn can be found on Auerfarm's website.