Historic barn to be saved; used for weddings

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By Dick Sanford
An historic and very visible dairy barn in the area began a transformation towards becoming a player in the region’s newest economic craze Tuesday when contractors began the process of saving and renovating the large barn on Peter and Carol Molnar’s property located at the top of Margaretville Mountain overlooking of the village.
The barn originated on the Nelson VanBenschoten farm sometime between 1910 and 1920 according to Carol Molnar who said it arrived on the farm as a kit sold by Sears and Roebuck. The building housed dairy cows through its ownership by VanBenschoten and later Dalton Sanford. The property ceased being a farm when it was purchased by Cecil and Terry Cohen, who later moved across the road and sold the house and bard to its present owners.
Over the past several years the barn fell into disrepair as a large hole opened in the roof and the owners sought funds with which to make repairs.
Enter the destination wedding boom that has blossomed in the Catskills over the past five years and the owners, who also operate a bed and breakfast business and a motel on Route 28 between Margaretville and Arkville, began to see a possible use for the barn. The plan now is to renovate the structure and hold weddings in it, using their lodging business as a place for guests to stay. “It will take some work,” Molnar said Monday, “including a new floor but it should be a great facility when it’s finished.
Molnar said that she and her husband had acquired, “one very small grant” with which to partially fund the six-figure restoration project but that the majority of the funds being used are theirs.
A number of local tradesmen including Josh Construction, Dean Hunter, Louis Giorgi, and Tony DeLuca are lined up to work on the project. “We’d like to have most of it done before winter sets in,” Carol said.
On Tuesday, work by John Construction was underway to shore up the foundation along the backside of the barn.