Wood & Metal Shop
Joseph S. Abbott constructed the first outbuilding at the farm in 1830. The two-story post and beam constructed building (located on the south side of Hopkinton Road) housed a wood shop on the second floor and a forge and metal works area on the first floor. The shop chimney was constructed with an early “beehive” style top. During the winters, Joseph Abbott employed several individuals who worked in the shop producing sashes, blinds, doors, and other finish items, some of which were used in the construction of Amoskeag Mill housing in Manchester. The shop continues to exist in its original form today, and many of the original tools still are used to complete repairs on the farm.
The main barn was built in 1882 using the same post and beam construction as the wood shop (with pinned mortise and tenon joints) and remains a viable, structurally sound building today. The gabled roof has a cupola in the middle for airflow and ventilation. The basement level of the barn opens to the barn yard (once the home of pigs, chickens, and calves) and includes a full cellar that housed stables and a slaughter room that long ago was used to process meat and poultry. Today, the slaughter room remains and is used for storage, but the stables have been removed to provide room for equipment storage. In its original form, the ground floor of the barn featured a 12’ wide x 14’ high center drive through, with cow stables on one side, horse stalls on the opposite and a grain room for feed storage. The barn features twelve-light transom windows above both the front and back doors. Today, the farm stand occupies the most of the first floor space.
The barn still includes two bays, seven mows, and a scaffold area over the barn floor for hay storage. The track and hay fork originally installed to lift the hay from the wagons and place it the hay mows for storage still exist today. (The barn, it has been claimed, could hold 100 tons of loose hay.)
The 22’ x 45’ barn ell with two silos was also built in 1882 and originally used as a carriage and tool house. Between 1890 and 1895, the interior was converted to calf pens and a stable for heifers. The two wooden stave silos, each 20’ high and 10’ in diameter, can hold approximately 75 tons of silage. The ell is presently used for storage purposes.
The Main House
The Victorian style main house was built in 1892 by EB Hutchinson as a replacement for the original colonial style home, which was moved across street and about 150 feet up the road (where it remains today). It was built with wood harvested from the farm’s woodlot and constructed using the balloon frame design (The same type of balloon frame design used in the construction of the Mount Washington Hotel). The main house, which measures 29’ x 38’, has three full stories with four rooms on each of the first two floors and three rooms on the third floor. The back ell of the house is 24’ x 28’ and also three stories. It contains the kitchen, a pantry, and a bathroom on the first floor, a full bath, two rooms, and a small bathroom on the second floor, and an open attic on the third floor. The numerous tall windows and doors allow abundant light and fresh air to course throughout the house. The rooms are beautifully appointed with hand-tooled Victorian casings. Many of the rooms have recently been refurbished and the remaining rooms are being restored.
The shed joining the house to the barn was built to serve multiple purposes. It provided interior access to the barn (a real bonus during New England winters), a milk room for the collection, storage, and handling of milk, firewood storage adjacent to the kitchen, a small room for harness storage, refrigeration for storing blocks of ice, space for storing buggies and sleighs, and a convenient place out of the weather to harness and unharness horses. Today, the shed continues to provide interior access to the barn and also is used for storage and parking.
The Corn Barn
Behind the main barn is a small 18’ x 15’ post and beam structure called the “corn barn.” The corn barn is built above the ground on four large corner posts and was used to dry corn for winter use. The interior bins could hold about 475 bushels of corn. One wall and half of the opposite wall are sided with narrow vertical slats with spaces between them to allow air to circulate through the bins to dry the corn. The corn barn has never been altered and exists in its original state today.
In the past, a small storage shed and a children’s playhouse (referred to as the “ledge house”) were located on the knoll a few hundred yards behind the barn. Various kinds of sleds and other horse-drawn equipment were kept in the shed, and for generations young girls on the farm held tea parties with their dolls in the ledge house. Additionally, as the knoll was one of the highest points on the farm, it was also home to the windmill used to generate power for the farm.
The Ice House
Take a short walk behind the barn, into the woodland, and down the well-marked path and you will find the site of the former ice house. The ice house was approximately 24’ x 30’ and was filled with ice cut from the small pond created in the stream that flows through the farm property. Ice was harvested in large chunks, stacked in the ice house, and packed with sawdust to keep it from thawing. The ice was used to cool the milk from the cows, to keep the milk cold during the daily deliveries, and to keep the family’s food cold in the kitchen ice box. The practice of harvesting ice was abandoned when electrical coolers, brine tanks, and household refrigerators were installed. Today, all that remains of the ice house is the granite block sluiceway that created the pond and channeled the overflow under the pathway … which it does to this day.
The Barn Yard and Hen House
The barn yard is located on the east side of the barn and was fenced in to serve as a place where the cows could be turned out in any weather. A 45’ x 8’ hen house once stood along the south wall of the barn yard and was home to the family’s chickens. At one point, pigs also lived in a portion of the barn yard. Today the barn yard is used for vegetable prep and equipment storage.
The Machinery Storage Shed
At the back edge of the field that runs behind the wood and metal shop across the street from the farm proper, is a 60’ x 20’ pole barn that was built in 1973. The barn provides a place to store much of the farm’s large machinery.
In 1998, Jane Presby built the first high tunnel at the farm for the purpose of growing tomatoes, and began to expand the array of crops raised and sold at the farm to include a variety of fresh spring, summer, and fall vegetables. Four tunnels can be seen from the roadway and run along the ridge just west of the main house and barn; a 5th high tunnel stands out behind the barn. In early spring, the heated tunnels are used get a jump on the growing season for raspberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and salad greens.