The Shaker Barn will be lifted on Wednesday, June 14th from 7 am to 12 noon. The work will occur, rain or shine, and the forecast predicts rain. The lifting process will be slow depending on many variables.
The barn’s 85′ long rear section will be held on cribbing 12’-15’ in the air for 2-3 months while a specially designed foundation is installed to correct most of the building’s structural problems. Late summer/ early fall, the barn will be lowered onto its new, restored foundation, and in-kind repairs will be made to the hand-hewn timbers nearing 200 years old.
You may watch the process from a safe distance if you’re in the area. See firsthand how Federal funding contributes to the perseverance of Shaker culture, farming in Maine, place-based community learning, and tourism. This is a historic opportunity for photography, video, and time-lapse.
Here’s a little more detail about the project:
National Park Service Award
Despite widespread attempts to classify the Shakers as designers and craftspeople, they are farmers by their own definitions, occupations, and identities. Today, the Shaker Farm is one of Maine’s oldest farms under its original ownership with continuous farming operations. This is the only Shaker Great Barn still used entirely for farming and agriculture. The massive 160’ long structure was created by the Shakers in 1891 when they joined two pre-existing 1830 barns. Through time, frost and erosion have left weight-bearing sills unsupported, and weight-bearing joints have spread to the point of failure. The barn continues to house 50 tons of hay each season, as well as tractors and other equipment critical to the operation of the Shaker Farm. Years of deferred maintenance will be addressed to avert catastrophe.
The National Park Service awarded a $500,000 grant through their Save America’s Treasures program to rescue this landmark structure. The grant requires a 1:1 match, and the match was secured from a single charitable fund within weeks of the award.
The plan is dramatic. The 1891 connector has been deconstructed. The 85’ rear section of the barn will be raised using hydraulics about 15’ into the air, where it will be held on cribbing. Excavators will install concrete perimeter frost walls to grade and frost piers at required intervals beneath the building. A historic mason will completely restore the granite foundation walls before the barn is lowered to its original position and reattached to the front barn. Maine-based Preservation Timber Framing will make in-kind repairs to the structure and its joinery to ensure that the barn will be capable of functioning for another hundred years. We’re very happy to tell you that site work started two weeks ago.
This project has been 3 years in the planning, review, and approval stages. We’ve raised $1 million toward this $1.34 million project to save the only Shaker barn in America still used by the Shakers for its original functions. Since COVID, construction costs have skyrocketed unexpectedly, and we need to raise an additional $340,000 to ensure this project is completed and the barn is preserved for at least another century of use. If you’d like to help us preserve one of America’s most-important Shaker treasures, please use this form to make a secure online donation: