From Haddam Historical Society (www.haddamhistory.org)
(July 29, 2023) — Haddam will shortly lose one of its most iconic landmarks. The Hazenhurst Apple Barn (also known as Vallera’s barn) has been declared unsafe by the Haddam Building Inspector, who has required that it be demolished.
Records indicate that the barn was built in 1900. Local tradition states that the rear section of the barn came from the Arnold property just south of the old burying ground, and the front section was added onto it. The property was purchased in 1913 by gentleman farmer Edward Hazen, who operated both a successful dairy and apple business. It was later purchased by the Vallera Family, who continued the apple business and made cider.
Over the years the building has experienced deferred maintenance and unfortunate structural alterations. To their credit, the current owners have been working with Preservation Connecticut to see if there were any options in saving the building. An engineer, brought in by the preservationists, determined that the building was unsafe and at risk of collapse. Structural elements are deteriorated, tie beams removed, and the south elevation is bulging. Regretfully, the only option at this point is to take the building down. According to one source, “the building is thirty years too late to save.”
Our historic buildings are an integral part of Haddam’s character, and we are losing them at a record pace, whether through purposeful demolition, demolition by neglect, or fire. The Haddam Historical Society is looking into approaches (tax credits and other benefits) that would encourage owners to maintain and preserve their historic properties.