Sanborn House to Welcome All

by Nancy Schrock

A top priority of the Historical Society is to make the Sanborn House Historical & Cultural Center accessible to everyone in our community. This presents a challenge since the building was constructed 100 years ago for a private family. Thanks to the Griffin Foundation, the Town of Winchester, and donations from our members, this is about to change.

Griffin Foundation Awards Grant
The Griffin Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to the Winchester Historical Society in December, to design a front entrance that respects the historical integrity of the National Register Building while meeting the requirements of the Americans for Disability Act (ADA). The Society hired Karle Packard of Red Hawk Studio to design an entrance and walkway with appropriate lighting and signage.

Working with David Stirling, head of the Building Committee, Karle has come up with an attractive and functional design. This design eliminates thresholds at the doorway, includes a new door that replicates the original double doors, and provides landscaping with symmetric walkways that will be wheelchair accessible without intrusive ramps and rails. Our next Black Horse Bulletin will feature drawings of the final plans, which will need to be reviewed by the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the Commonwealth’s Architectural Access Board. Construction will require additional funding from grants and private donations.

Plans for ADA Bathroom and Parking
With funds recommended by the Town’s Disability and Access Committee, the Town has hired Red Hawk Studio to prepare plans to make the first floor of the Sanborn House handicapped accessible. These include handicapped parking, a new ADA-compliant bathroom, and changes to the side entrance. The plans for the bathroom are ready for review by the Town and State as a variance will be needed to adapt the space available. All groups are working together to make this happen.

The combination of private and public funding, along with many hours of volunteer work, continues to move the Sanborn House forward. There are groups who have been unable to rent or visit because of the lack of handicapped access. The society expects to resolve this situation soon. (February 2010)

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Organizations Supporting the Sanborn House and Winchester Historical Society Programs

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