Pieces of Lawrence history will be up for auction Saturday after a push from the city to restore the deteriorating buildings and lot at 1106 R.I.
The property, owned by the estate of Raymond Barland, contains 15 Packard cars, lumber that came from historic Lawrence buildings, old tools and equipment from University Motors, and boxes of collectibles acquired by the Barland family since the 1960s.
“A lot of Lawrence history, vehicle history, family history and change is what you’ll find (come Saturday),” Brian Barland, a son of Raymond Barland and executor for the estate, said.
Raymond and his brothers, Delmar and Leroy Barland, were the owners of University Motors, which was located at 707 N.H until 1963, when the city bought the property to create parking for downtown. As a result, the Barland family purchased the property on Rhode Island Street, and it has since been used to house the old Packards and other scraps from the auto shop, which doubled as a Packard dealership until the cars were discontinued in the mid-1950s.
“Dad always thought that they had value, and I guess we always did too,” Brian Barland said. “And we just held on to them, probably too long.”
Some of the Packards were left at University Motors by owners who never picked them up after they were serviced. Some were bought back from the original owner by Raymond Barland, and others belonged to members of the Barland family.
One particular Packard was the first car Brian ever drove.
Most of the lumber and scraps filling the lot were collected from structures being torn down. Raymond Barland used to collect and save the lumber from various homes and businesses in Lawrence.
Brian Barland remembers helping his dad at the shop as a boy and even driving the nails out of salvaged lumber to make it easier to stack. After helping to remove the lumber and scraps, Raymond would bring it to the property on Rhode Island for storage.
The house on the lot hasn’t been lived in for years, said Brian Barland, and the lot hasn’t been kept up. “I can’t deny the fact that the (buildings) do need attention, and it’s been past time,” he said.
Barland said that whether the house and structures will be fixed or whether he and his siblings will be involved is still under discussion, but he says there’s been interest in both the property and the buildings.
“It’s a unique piece of property. It’s a unique history, but it’s a huge undertaking,” he said.
Although pieces of his own past will be removed as the lot is emptied, Barland is hopeful the Packards and scraps will go to owners who appreciate what they are.
“Hopefully somebody can do something with the parts or the cars,” he said. “If it all goes to scrap, then that’s the way it is.”
The Raymond F. Barland Estate will auction off a collection of 15 Packard cars from the 1950s, as well as car parts, scraps and equipment Saturday and will hold a second auction for the furniture on the lot June 24.
The auction will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at 1106 R.I., and interested buyers may inspect the day of or by appointment.
For a detailed list of the cars for sale and for more information regarding the auction, visit its website.