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Donation to help Historical Commission build barn

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 21, 2016

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — In the original location of the Selinsky-Green Farmhouse, before it was moved to 11 Mile Road in St. Clair Shores, there was a barn with the home.

Now standing east of the St. Clair Shores Public Library, the Selinsky-Green Log House was built in Erin Township in 1868 by John and Mary Selinsky and then given to their daughter, Ernestine, when she married John Green in 1874. The home was owned by their descendants until 1974 and moved in 1975 to make way for the construction of Interstate 696. It is now a museum open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays and for special events.

While the original barn was not moved with the house, the St. Clair Shores Historical Commission is reviving its dream of having a “historical” barn erected on the property with the Selinsky-Green Farmhouse Museum with help from the Thomas Welsh Foundation.

Theresa Bertolini, a member of the St. Clair Shores Historical Commission and the chairwoman of the barn project, said that they tried raising money for a barn years ago, but “when the economy got bad, it was dropped out of sight.”

“We want to complete the venue,” she said of the Selinsky-Green Farmhouse Museum. “It had a barn in its past location, and we would like to do another one.”

The Historical Commission is in possession of a number of historical barn and farming implements that are currently being stored in the basement of Blossom Heath Inn. If a barn were erected on the museum property, they could use them as teaching tools for children to help them better understand the history of the house.

The Thomas Welsh Foundation, established in memory of Welsh — St. Clair Shores mayor from 1952 to 1960 — is closing, and Bertolini said one of its last acts will be making a large donation to the barn project. 

“This is just something we’d like to see, and it’s a great plus to the city of St. Clair Shores. The museum draws a lot of visitors,” she said. “We’d have to make sure it doesn’t overpower the house.”

The Welsh Foundation was scheduled to present a check for $10,000 to the project Sept. 20, after press time.

Jeanne Srigley has been on the St. Clair Shores Historical Commission since 1974. She said that at one point, having a barn was discussed to house the collection of farm implements. 

“It just kind of got left by the wayside,” she said. 

But the commission recently revived the idea. Srigley said she had known Welsh since they were children, and her nephew is on the board of the foundation. Together, they brought forward the proposal to both groups for the money to be donated to the project.

The foundation has been active in donating money to students attending Macomb Community College, but Srigley said it always had a closing date, and that is this year.

Various estimates have been given for a barn, from $75,000 to $125,000. With the donation, the commission will have $25,000 raised.

“This is kind of kicking off our fundraising efforts,” Srigley said. “We hope the residents will help us too. We want to get to $75,000, if possible.”

Bertolini said they are accepting donations through the St. Clair Shores Historical Society, which is the fundraising branch of the Historical Commission. Those interested in donating can send a check to the St. Clair Shores Public Library, 22500 11 Mile Road, made out to the St. Clair Shores Historical Society with “barn” in the memo line.

Srigley said they are also exploring grant options to help pay for the work.

“I was on the commission when we moved that house, so I’ve got kind of an inborn interest in it,” she said.

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