The Martinson Barn at The Meetinghouse: a place to gather, grow and flourish

Ridgefield History Comes Full Circle, Raising the Barn, Connecting Community

Humbly and proudly standing at a historic intersection in Ridgebury for more than 250 years, The Meetinghouse campus is being artfully transformed and will soon be a community hub where townsfolk can gather and regroup, connect and create.

The vision of Ridgebury Congregational Church Pastor Debbie Rundlett, today, Monday, June 5, The Meetinghouse broke ground on The Martinson Barn, a gift from Robert H. Martinson in memory of his parents, Ridgebury residents Hilmer and Josephine Martinsen. The historic barn will soon be home to a marketplace and cafe and will welcome artists who want to hone their craft.

Gathering outside of the barn on a beautiful stretch of land, The Meetinghouse Board of Directors,  First Selectman Rudy Marconi and local supporters listened intently as Robert Martinson shared his love for his parents and Ridgefield, and told the story about a local Pastor and trusted friend who had a vision that would make our town a better place. 

“Today is not about my parents, nor is it about me. It’s about a young lady I met about six years ago who came to my assistance when my wife was seriously ill with a disease that could not be cured. She gave me emotional support and even more emotional support when my wife passed away three years ago. During that period of time, we had several discussions. She told me during that time that she had a vision. A vision of bringing this community together. A vision that would include: a marketplace, a coffee place, areas for artists to work, and an outside area where people walk and enjoy themselves. A place where the community gathers.”

While Martinson loved the concept, he admits he had reservations about his trusted friend being able to execute on her dream. “This woman isn’t an architect or a general contractor,” he said. “She is here to save souls.” Martinson went on to say, “She proved me wrong when I had my speculation about whether it could happen. Today is her day. That woman is our pastor Debbie Rundlett.”

Raising The Martinson Barn and making Rundlett’s vision a reality are General Contractor Gerald Roche and Architect Valmar Franca. The renovations are expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

The barn will offer educational, cultural, and social programs and events that align with the mission of The Meetinghouse: to be stewards of our community and the land. We connect to people and places as we gather, grow and flourish—body, mind and soul.

To learn more about The Meetinghouse and its programs and partners, visit

*Image #2 Robert H. Martinson

*Image #3 Robert Martinson, Debbie Rundlett, First Selectman Rudy Marconi and Heather Cochrane, The Meetinghouse President Board of Directors

*Image #4 Debbie Rundlett

Submitted by Ridgefield, CT

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