River Bend Silo Restoration
Location: 682 Sandwich Road, East Falmouth
Applicant: The 300 Committee and the Falmouth Historical Commission
Year/Article: April 2013, A39
In 2007 The 300 Committee Land Trust (Committee) purchased the 10.1 acre River Bend Farm Kennel property at 682 Sandwich Road using $1.2 million in private funding. The 300 Committee is dedicated to preserving, protecting and managing open space in Falmouth for conservation, recreation and water protection. Part of a long-term effort to permanently protect lands along the entire Coonamesset River corridor, the Committee’s intention was to restore the property as an open space conservation area. The Falmouth Historical Commission reviewed the planned demolition of the River Bend Farm buildings and urged preservation of historically significant structures and materials to the extent possible. In response to community concern for the historic ceramic tile silo on the property, The 300 Committee joined with the Falmouth Historical Commission to apply to the CPFund for $90,550 to restore the silo. The 2013 spring Town Meeting appropriated $86,251 for the project and work began in that year. Restoration required repair of the silo’s foundation and masonry to address damage by water infiltration, replacement of the silo roof, and repair and roofing of the wing enclosure.
The Silo is likely the only ceramic silo standing on Cape Cod. Its configuration of block tile suggests a Sugar House design, with transom style windows in a small clerestory that is integral to the roof structure.
It stands as a rare monument to Falmouth’s agrarian past – and present – just as the Nobska lighthouse stands for Falmouth’s maritime past and present. It also gives witness to the importance of local food production. Farming, especially in Hatchville and East Falmouth, was once essential to the character and economy of the Town. The Massachusetts Historical Commission has suggested that the old farmhouses and associated buildings along Sandwich Road leading to the East End Meeting House have the potential for inclusion in a to-be-designated Hatchville National Register Historic District.
The 300 Committee installed an educational kiosk on site to provide an opportunity for people to learn about the history of the River Bend site and the significance of the silo, Before the conservation area was a farm, it was a mill, using the dammed waters of the Coonamessett River for energy, and before that, it likely was a valued site for Native Americans, although that history remains to be researched. The 300 Committee will assume the responsibility for managing funds raised for the structure’s long-term maintenance. The conservation area was open to the public in 2010 and the restoration of the silo was completed in 2014.