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Cummington, MA – U.S. Representative John Olver and The Trustees of Reservations announced that the William Cullen Bryant Homestead has received a $148,000 Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Park Service. The grant will fund preservation projects at this National Historic Landmark located in Cummington, Massachusetts. The Bryant Homestead is owned by The Trustees of Reservations, the nation’s oldest statewide land trust and nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting special places throughout Massachusetts.
The Trustees’ landmark appropriation will partially fund an extensive interior/exterior restoration at this famous 19th-century poet’s home, noted for its architecture, interiors, and archival collections. Other funding comes from the organization's membership and board support, as well as monies raised through the Bryant Homestead’s Property Committee.
A team of art conservators will restore the original wallpaper, furniture, and books from Bryant’s Library, along with original wallpaper and window treatments in the dining room, the caretaker’s sitting room, and Bryant’s bedroom. Preservation carpenters and painters will restore the long-deteriorating windows and exterior shutters, and the house will be repainted in historically documented colors.
Externally, project restorations will include sill repair to the 19th-century rural New England barn, as well as some restoration to the dairy, rendering the structure safe for public access. Through this work, the William Cullen Bryant Homestead will be able to provide a new exhibition on hill-town agriculture.
“The Bryant Homestead should be a cultural and educational hub for the communities of Western Massachusetts. We are fortunate to have historic treasures like this, and I am pleased that my colleagues in Congress have joined me in recognizing that it is our public responsibility to protect them,” said Congressman John Olver (D-1st/MA).
The William Cullen Bryant Homestead is a National Historic Landmark, and includes the Homestead and a 19th century barn, set on 195 acres overlooking the Westfield River Valley. The farm was the childhood home and adult summer residence of famous 19th-century poet William Cullen Bryant, a moving force in American history.
Bryant, who served as the editor and publisher of the New York Evening Post for more than 50 years, was an avid abolitionist and public supporter of Abraham Lincoln. He proposed the establishment of New York City's Central Park and was instrumental in the land conservation movement. In addition to Bryant's own legacy, his Homestead serves as an educational resource to organizations, adults, and children in the Highland Region, including the surrounding Berkshire, Hampshire, and Franklin counties. The site welcomes more than 7,000 visitors each year, strengthening Cummington's economy and enhancing the town's cultural heritage.
“Congressman John Olver truly understands the importance of preserving the historic and cultural resources that enrich our lives and make our communities so unique ,” said Andy Kendall, President of The Trustees of Reservations. “His leadership in the effort to restore this landmark property will help ensure that future generations will be able to experience the rich history of the Highlands region. I look forward to seeing the William Cullen Bryant Homestead restored to its original condition, allowing us to attract even more visitors to this historically significant site.”
About the Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees are 100% member-supported by 100,000 people like you, from every corner of Massachusetts, who share a deep set of similar values – a love of the land, the outdoors and the distinctive charms of New England – as well as a shared vision of celebrating and protecting these special places for everyone, forever.
Founded in 1891 by Charles Eliot, an open space visionary and protégé of the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, The Trustees of Reservations is the nation’s oldest statewide land conservation trust and nonprofit conservation organization. With 99 reservations, comprising nearly 25,000 acres – all open to the public –Trustees properties are tremendously diverse. From mountains, open meadows and parks, to working farms, stately homes and gardens, 70 miles of stunning coastline and five National Historic landmarks, Trustees reservations offer something for everyone.
The Trustees’ governing board, administration, staff, members, visitors, donors, and volunteers are all considered "Trustees," who hold in trust, care for, and enjoy special places of cultural, natural, and historical significance, or “Reservations.” As land is being developed and open space is being fragmented at a rapid pace around the state, time is running out! To find out how you can help by becoming a member and a “Trustee of the planet” in your own community, please call The Trustees at 781.784.0567, visit www.thetrustees.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 2001, The Trustees have been working to build a stronger conservation presence in the Pioneer Valley region with educational and grassroots community outreach programs and the pursuit of significant land conservation opportunities. Currently, The Trustees own and manage 10 spectacular properties in the Valley including: Notchview, the Bryant Homestead, Dinosaur Footprints, Chapel Brook, Bear Swamp, Chesterfield Gorge, Petticoat Hill, Glendale Falls, Little Tom Mountain (to open 2012) and Peaked Mountain, with several prospective properties planned for the future. In addition, The Trustees locally operate the Highland Communities Initiative (HCI), a program that supports local efforts to protect the rural character and quality of life in 38 communities located between the Connecticut and Housatonic Rivers. To find out more about HCI, please visit www.highlandcommunities.org.
Statewide, The Trustees employ 180 full-time and 350–400 seasonal staff with expertise in many areas, including ecology, education, historic resources, land protection, conservation, land management, and planning. To find out how you can interview Trustees’ experts on important topics and issues or apply for employment opportunities, please contact www.thetrustees.org.