What is the Barn Project and how can you help?
The historic Crosby Barn is the last building in our care in need of rehabilitation. It has stood for 127 years and we are working to ensure that it stands for at least 127 more.
The Barn has served many different functions in its lifetime: The Crosby family built it in 1889 and it was originally situated closer to the Cape House at the front of our campus. It was used for the family farm and racing stables;
Camp Monomoy moved the Barn to its current location in the 1920s for use as a commissary, for arts and crafts, to show movies and to stage theatrical productions;
Nickerson State Park took over the barn to use for storage from 1983-1996…
…and Cape Rep Theatre moved to the site in the early 1990s and began using the Barn to store our theatrical assets, including platforms, flats, scenery and props. These materials, when reconfigured and re-imagined by designers, create new settings for each theatrical production.
The first phase of Saving the Barn involved raising the building, pouring a full basement foundation with exterior access, resetting it on this new foundation and making the exterior weather-tight. We then moved our theatrical assets to the basement for storage. Phase 2 of Saving the Barn will include the restoration of the Barn’s interior, creating a beautiful open space for performances, rehearsals, theater classes, workshops, receptions and fundraising events.
Phase 1 of the Crosby Barn Project is complete thanks to support from:
- The generosity of the townspeople of Brewster through the Community Preservation Act Grant program, which, in part, supports historic preservation projects
The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council
- The Eddy Foundation
- The Fred J. Brotherton Foundation
- Preston Scott Cohen
Generous contributions of many individual supporters of this theater company
How can you help with Phase 2?
Make a donation to the project. We have received a very generous grant from the Town of Brewster which voted to give $225,000 from the Community Preservation Act funds to support this phase of the project as well as a Massachusetts Cultural Council Facilities Fund grant for $125,000. These funds are added to the generous support from the Mary-Louise Eddy and Ruth N. Eddy Foundation and the Brotherton Foundation. We now have raised $415,000 toward this project. If we can raise $100,000 more, Phase 1 will be complete.
Volunteer! Join a committee to help during the construction phase from now through early winter of 2017. We’ll have more committees as we embark on Phase 2 to help decide what the interior of the Barn will look like. If you have expertise with construction, landscaping, interior decorating or you just want to pitch in and help wherever you can, give us a call 508.896.1888 and we’ll gladly accept your offer. The completion of Phase 2 means a beautiful Barn for performances, receptions and other events and additional classroom and rehearsal space for theater artists.
A little bit of history about our site…
The Crosby family, beginning with Tully Crosby, is one of the founding families in Brewster history. The immediate patriarch of the land that later became occupied by Isaac F. Crosby (Isaac F. and Sarah Crosby were the last of the Crosbys to occupy the site) was Nathan Crosby whose homestead comprised not only this site but also the site we know as the “Crosby Mansion” now owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and leased to the Town of Brewster. By blood and by marriage, the Crosby and Nickerson families together gave the entire eastern portion of the Town of Brewster its cultural and economic identity. Nathan Crosby’s sons, Nathan Jr. and Isaac and their sons Albert and Isaac F. respectively, engaged in business together as merchants and importers.
Also known as the Isaac F. Crosby homestead, the house and surrounding land was, in the late 19th century, Isaac Crosby’s home and stable for the training of his trotting horses. In 1889, newspapers ran notices of his activities. In 1889, he built a state of the art stable for his horses and completely renovated the homestead. He hired the construction firm of John Hinckley for this work, the same firm hired by his cousin Albert to build the Crosby Mansion. Newspaper accounts also take regular note of the successes and failures of Isaac’s horses at the Barnstable Fair Ground races. Brewster assessor records reflect a steady accumulation of wealth, horses, buildings, real estate and personal property. But the late 1890s were a watershed for the entire Crosby family in East Brewster. Both Albert and Isaac were caught in the economic problems caused by the depression in the late 1890s. Isaac’s real estate passed out of family hands in the early 20th century to satisfy debts. The Crosby Cape House passed into the hands of resort speculators and a short time later, to the founders of Camp Monomoy.
The Robert Delahanty family purchased the property in 1926 and established Camp Monomoy. The Crosby Cape House, the yellow house at the entry of our campus, was occupied by camp counselors but also let out to various other enterprises including a restaurant and, at a later time, a jewelry store. The descendants of the Delahantys, now owners of the remaining camp property known as the Cape Cod Sea Camps, have an extensive photographic collection of Camp Monomoy: its activities, its generations of young campers and the structures on the property.
In 1983, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Camp owners agreed to a friendly eminent domain taking and the buildings and grounds passed into the public domain. It remained dormant until Cape Rep submitted a proposal for its rehabilitation in 1991-92. We have been here ever since, systematically rehabbing each of the four structures in our care, starting with the Outdoor Theater in 1992, the Indoor Theater in 1997 and the Crosby Cape House in 2010. Up next? The Barn…