Friends of Lachat is pleased to announce the receipt of a very generous donation from a foundation established by Anne and Travis Engen. The donation will go towards the restoration of the historic pre-Revolutionary on Godfrey Road West.
"We have seen a tremendous show of support from our community for preserving the farmhouse. Almost every day we receive a check! With the Engen’s gift, reaching our goal really feels possible!" stated Carol Baldwin, Director of Friends of Lachat. In December 2011, the organization also received a $20,000 planning grant from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, which will go towards covering costs of an architect, structural engineer, and landscape planner, as well as other preliminary costs. According to Baldwin, "receiving the State grant validated our belief in the historic value of this property."
Noted historic restoration architect Robert Hatch has been advising Friends of Lachat and estimates the restoration costs to be approximately $255,000. So far, Friends of Lachat has received approximately $120,000 in cash, checks, grants, and pledges. The group is hoping that the town will allow a significant portion of the $85,000 accumulated annual draw from the Lachat endowment to be used towards the restoration. is also in discussion with several interested parties who would donate materials and labor. They are also busy researching other grant opportunities.
"We are nearing our goal and hope that others in town will step up to help us get to the finish line so we can start restoration this spring," Baldwin said.
Friends of Lachat envisions a town farm with a farm stand, fresh eggs, and community garden plots for rent. A town farm supervisor would live in the second floor apartment of the restored farmhouse while the first floor would remain more historically intact, so as to reflect Weston's early history. David Godfrey, who built the house in 1770, was one of the founding fathers of Weston. He also built the Godfrey Mill, the remnants of which are still visible in . In the 20th century, the farm became Lakeview Dairy run by the Lachat family. Colorful local character, Leon Lachat, dairy farmer and avid sportsman, even established a ski run complete with ski tow rope!
A Lachat Farm website is also in the works thanks to the diligent efforts of two Weston High School students, Ross Wollman and Matthew Proctor, who have volunteered their time and expertise.
"This reflects exactly what my dream for Lachat will become - a place that brings our community together, young and old, along with gardeners, nature lovers, history buffs, artists, and young families," Baldwin said.
Those who would like to donate can contact Carol Baldwin, Friends of Lachat, at baldwinR@aol.com.