For greater than 8 years, Russ McCall has been overseeing the reconstruction of an 18th century barn at his Cutchogue winery. (Credit score: Chris Francescani/Sundown Seashore Movies)

On a hilltop on the heart of greater than 200 acres of preserved land that stretches virtually shore-to-shore in Cutchogue, winemaker and preservationist Russ McCall is close to completion of an awe-inspiring venture: reconstructing an 18th century New Hampshire barn with out the usage of a single nail or screw.

Within the ultimate weeks of the marathon endeavor, Mr. McCall agreed to offer The Suffolk Instances a tour of the practically accomplished historic barn and speak in regards to the years-long journey that started with an sudden name from an historic barn skilled. Initially inbuilt New Hampshire throughout the Revolutionary Struggle period, the reconstruction is anticipated to be accomplished this month. Mr. McCall mentioned the barn is the bodily embodiment of his dedication to preservation.

“A part of placing your foot within the floor and saying, ‘I stand for preservation on the North Fork’ is the truth that we will set up a few-hundred-years-old barn and preserve it in its authentic state and preserve it as a monument to preservation.”

For many years, Mr. McCall and his spouse, Nicola, have been shopping for up land surrounding their winery, which abuts Downs Farm Protect chook sanctuary and wildlife refuge, to guard it for future generations. The McCalls additionally preserved Downs Woods, as soon as the cultural heart of the Corchaug Indian tribe — one in all quite a few tribes that made up the Algonquin Indians — in addition to property bordering their winery that was going to be bought to builders and a winery throughout Route 25.

“In order that’s sort of the sense behind this [barn] venture,” Mr. McCall mentioned. “It’s not simply the barn. It’s the [Corchaug] Indian web site. It’s the land that goes out to Peconic Bay, it’s the salt air and the chook sanctuary and the marsh on the market that’s preserved. With all of the adjoining websites, now we have over 200 acres that’s preserved perpetually.”


About eight years in the past, Mr. McCall was contacted by an historic barn skilled with whom he had beforehand labored. A barn in Loudon, NH, constructed within the 1700s, was set to be torn down after the land beneath it was bought.

“The city was closing in on what had been an previous farm, and this [barn] had turn into the city heart,” Mr. McCall mentioned. “So, the farm was gone, however the barn was nonetheless there, and there have been some heirs who didn’t care about it. They simply wished to get some cash out of the wooden, in order that they have been going to promote it off.

“It’s been sitting there since earlier than George Washington turned president,” he added. “I imply, it was made earlier than we even had a Structure. I needed to go up and see it.”

When he lastly laid eyes on the barn, he was captivated.

“It was spectacular,” he mentioned.

Russ McCall’s reconstruction of an 18th century barn is sort of full. (Credit score: Chris Francescani/Sundown Seashore Movies)

Mr. McCall, whose household has been residing on the land that now makes up the winery since 1902, mentioned security and environmental laws pressured him to rethink the best way to stability trendy constructing necessities with the historic integrity of a barn older than america.

“It was comparatively low cost to purchase,” he mentioned. “I wasn’t fascinated by what it might value to place it again up.”

Affected person and undaunted, Mr. McCall pressed forward.

“I employed an engineer who knew about previous barns. I employed some guys of their 70s who had been placing up and taking down barns for years, in order that they knew what they have been doing. They got here down from Massachusetts. The barn [wood] was right here in three previous containers simply to retailer it — plus a truck filled with the unique stone and granite.”

Three years in the past, Mr. McCall introduced on Southold architect Clay Espresso and a trusted engineer who mapped out plans for the reconstruction, and final 12 months the re-assembly of the construction started in earnest.

No nails, no screws

Trustworthy to its authentic kind, the barn includes a cedar, slip-sheath shingle roof and a reconstructed cupola that appears similar to it did within the 1700s, proper right down to the white and inexperienced paint. The barn’s authentic siding strains the inside partitions. To strengthen the aged wooden, ¾-inch plywood was added discreetly and hidden beneath wood boarding.

“So, the wall is definitely three generations of wooden, for construction,” he mentioned.

Different mandatory trendy components embrace a hearth suppression system — a collection of pipes that snake by means of the inside of the partitions in direction of sprinklers hidden within the ceiling..

Mr. McCall mentioned that the barn’s eight trusses — stabilizing beams that line the inside of the ceiling, are all authentic.

“We would have liked an authentic, 40-foot, 200-year-old piece of lumber, that match on high of the mortise and tenon,” he mentioned, referring to a joint that matches two items of wooden collectively.

“You’ll by no means see a nail on this construction,” he mentioned. “That’s the means it was initially, and I wished to protect that.”

To strengthen the aged trusses, he layered the within of the roof with 9-by-7 inch items of wooden generally known as robust backs.

“In the event you take a look at the braces throughout, every a type of braces slips right into a slot within the wooden. They’re not nailed. Each a type of braces has a chunk of dowel in it so there’s no nails or screws,” he mentioned. “It was put collectively in items, precisely because it got here down.”

Mr. McCall made some extent to notice that since 2019, Mr. Espresso has been “instrumental in planning, allowing and executing the barn restoration venture.”

Wine Cellar

Mr. McCall additionally constructed a subterranean wine cellar and manufacturing facility beneath the barn with ground drains for winemaking. By storing wine underground, he mentioned, “you don’t need to pay lots for AC and heating.

“For wine, you want 56 to 58 levels for year-round storage. This took time to pour the [concrete] basis and make it the correct humidity and temperature.”

The barn’s ground-level entrance includes a distinctive archway customary from repurposed granite columns that after supported the construction in New Hampshire.

Requested how a lot your entire endeavor value, Mr. McCall winced, then smiled, and mentioned it was nicely well worth the expense.

“The acquisition of the previous barn was most likely $25,000 to 35,000, which was only for the items, however then the three containers to retailer it in and preserve it out of the rain, value $20,000. So, then it was in New Hampshire and I needed to carry it down right here. It’s over one million {dollars} to re-erect it. I didn’t know that after I was moving into it. I budgeted it for about half of what it was, nevertheless it was over one million.”

Which is ok with Mr. McCall.

“That is what preservation is,” he mentioned. “You’re taking your time, you have got a long run plan, and also you make it work.”


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