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As anyone who has owned or worked on an old building knows, simple repairs rarely remain simple for long. This has certainly been the case with the carriage barn at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm. The extensive structural work that evolved from what appeared to be a simple door repair was featured in an earlier post, which made the assertion that “the structural work is complete” and stated, “In the weeks ahead the door will be re-hung.”
The Historic New England carpentry crew is happy to report that this door and seven others have now been re-hung. A few other tasks, not foreseen when the work began in May, are also complete. Hanging that door revealed that, despite what we said in the earlier post, the structural work was not quite complete after all.
This work, though substantial, is just the latest in a long line of repairs and additions spanning a century or more. Its completion leaves the carriage barn sound and functional, ready for many more years of serving the educational programs and public events that have replaced the plough teams and hay wagons it once sheltered. Though it is a humble and practical building that may escape notice amongst its larger and finer neighbors, it has always played an important role in the working life of the farm, and will continue to do so thanks to the support of Historic New England members and supporters and the skills of our staff. The next time you visit Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm for a Vintage Base Ball game or Harvest Festival, give a moment’s thought to the many hands that have shaped and maintained this “simple” structure and please consider supporting Historic New England in the continuing care of our properties by donating to the Preservation Maintenance Fund.