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Watson Farm barn doors replaced after storm

March 15, 2016

Barn Doors

At Watson Farm (1796) in Jamestown, Rhode Island, herds of sheep and cattle graze pastures overlooking Narragansett Bay. Because this Historic New England property is a working farm, its buildings must support more than just the functions of a historic site. This was tested recently when a windstorm damaged a door on the farm's 1940s cattle barn.

The cattle barn is still in active use, storing hay and providing a sheltered feeding area. It is a long single-story building at one end of a large pen, which is cut into a hillside. The pen's concrete walls form the foundations of the barn, which shelters the feeding area. Hay stored in the barn can be dropped directly into feed troughs through hatches in the floor.

Three board-and-batten doors provide access to the barn. They are used regularly and exposed to the elements year round.

When Historic New England's property care team assessed the doors following a windstorm that heavily damaged one, it became clear that all three needed attention.

Taking advantage of the sheltered area under the barn, our carpentry crew set up a work area. Because all three doors revealed extensive damage, our team chose to fully replicate and replace them. They removed hand-forged hinges from the damaged doors, cleaned and repainted them, and reused them on the new doors. See images from the project below.

At Watson Farm and other Historic New England properties, the regular tasks of repainting, repairing and occasionally replacing never stop. Please consider helping with a gift to the Preservation Maintenance Fund.

Before Repairs
These were the existing conditions of each door before the repairs. Time to go to work!
Historic New England carpenters set up shop under the barn.
New Doors
The new doors were carefully fit to the openings (left) before our team retrofitted the existing strap hinges (right).


Fresh Paint
A final coat of paint was the finishing touch.


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Watson Farm barn doors replaced after storm