Eric Sloane and the Noah Blake Cabin Outhouse

February 14, 2017 |  by

     This is the first in a series of articles to outline the efforts underway to refurbish the Noah Blake homestead on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum, in Kent, Connecticut.

The Noah Blake Outhouse: Part I

By 2010, it was apparent that the Noah Blake cabin, outhouse, and ash hopper had been neglected to the point that all three structures needed substantive work. A master plan was developed by a Massachusetts architecture firm for the “repair and modification” of each of these three structures. Unfortunately, the recommendations contained in the master plan were tabled indefinitely and it was not until a new administration occupied the offices of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development that interest in the plans was renewed. Unfortunately by this time the state – like most other states – was financially strapped, and did not allocate financial support to follow through with the recommendations included on the master plan.

It was in early 2015 that the founder and President of the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum, James Mauch, forged a relationship with Kristina Newman-Scott, the new Director of Culture for the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the organization tasked with day-to-day operations (among a myriad of other things) of the four state-run museums in Connecticut.  Kristina understood immediately the importance of the four museums and worked diligently to create an environment in which the state could work cooperatively with the Friends organization.  Catherine Labadia, Staff Archaeologist for the DECD, worked tirelessly to create an innovative and creative framework whereby the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum could assume responsibility for the rehabilitation of the Noah Blake Cabin. In the summer of 2016, the State of Connecticut and the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum entered into a formal agreement to have the Friends assume responsibility for restoring the Noah Blake Cabin.

It was during this time that Barb Russ of the Eric Sloane Museum was made aware of an estimate to have the Noah Blake Outhouse refurbished, the low estimate coming in at over $7,500. Mauch conferred with Catherine Labadia concerning the willingness of the state to have the Friends assume responsibility for the outhouse, and it was agreed that he would either restore or replicate the outhouse based upon an assessment of the structure.

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