The old dairy barn


Posted: September 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: barns, history, life, yard | No Comments »


the old dairy barn

The old dairy barn finally seems to be coming down. It was on the way out when we bought the place in 2009 but it’s hung on surprisingly long, through a few hurricanes and a lot of wet heavy March snowstorms. Every time we get a big storm, we can’t wait to go check out the barn and see what’s fallen down. We’ve talked about having it demolished but we keep hoping Mother Nature will do the job for free. It’s a kind of picturesque wreck and I hold it no grudge (in 2011 we got married in the backyard with the collapsed dairy barn as backdrop), but it was always wayyyy too far gone to think about saving it. (Also we don’t have any cows or anything, though a big old barn in better condition could’ve been a great venue for movie screenings, barn dances, yoga classes…)
Based on old photos and some historical society documentation, we think the original barn burned in the 1930′s so this barn was probably the replacement for the old barn lost to fire. It was a dairy barn; the Brunk farm sold milk to the Locust Farm Dairy that used to be in Limington.

Locust Farm Dairy
evidence of the Locust Farm Dairy

A few years back, we found some neat cattle tags(?) buried in the yard next to the barn while doing some yard work.

found these buried in the yard.

Typical 20th century construction, the barn was huge but nowhere near as sturdily built as the older ell and house. Leaky roof and time and no maintenance is presumably what did it in. By the time the Brunk family sold the property by the early 1980′s, the farmers would’ve been aging and dairy farming in Maine was becoming increasingly unprofitable, so (like so many rural Maine dairy operations) it’s no surprise that they didn’t put too many resources into maintaining a dairy barn with a leaky roof. Since the 80′s it seems like the barn’s been mostly ignored and used for dumping junk. Day by day it’s sinking and slumping. We go out and check after every big storm and often we’re surprised that nothing has budged, despite howling winds and whipping rain and wet heavy snow, even when the yard is littered with tree limbs and debris, the barn holds up. But this week’s been peaceful and sunny and beautiful, and we just noticed that it’s gone down dramatically while we weren’t paying attention.
I wish we’d managed to set up a proper time lapse record of the changes, but we’re not so organized.

backyard  view from the 2nd floor

a handsome barn

this is the barn when we first arrived in March 2010.

photo of the barn inside the ruined barn

left: found photo of the barn (1960′s?). right: inside the barn, 2010.

our new dumpster!!!

front of barn. 2010

fall barn

fall 2010

snow

2011

barn fell down a bit more

Feb 2013

the old dairy barn

spring 2013

barn falling down

Sept 2013

And here’s the back.

dogs, barn, Judy
March 2010

the barn before the hurricane

August 2011 (before Hurricane Irene)

the barn, after the hurricane

the barn, after the hurricane

August 2011, after hurricane Irene

the old dairy barn

the old dairy barn

Sept. 2013

wow. this is our house


Posted: February 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: history | No Comments »


a long time ago!

our house.

I wish we knew the date of this. Folks around town generally say “Oh, the old Brunk place!” when we tell them where we live. They bought the house in 1949, well after the date of this photo (I’m not sure who lived here at the time of this picture). It’s been through a bunch of owners since they left, but they were here the longest, Mr. Ed Brunk ran the dairy farm in the barn out back and Mrs. Doris Brunk, who just passed on recently, ran a beauty parlor out of one of the front rooms. Anyway one of our neighbors is their grandson, he spent a lot of time in this house growing up and it’s always a treat to chat with him about the history of the place. His wife kindly emailed us this photo, and it just made my day. My year, really. What a delightful view of the house in better days. This is so inspiring! I’m guessing this is late 1800′s or early 1900′s (if I knew anything about the history of photography I could probably date it better). It’s interesting to see that at this time, it had a side porch but no front porch. Also, obviously the old barn was still there. That’s the furthest structure on the left. We heard it burned down (and I don’t know how it burned without taking the rest of the house with it). The trees out front were elms, which woud have been wiped out by Dutch Elm disease in the nineteen-thirties or forties. The two windows to the left of the porch are the kitchen windows, and above them the room that’s currently my studio – someone later added a dormer there, to fit three full-sized windows instead of those tiny eyebrow windows. I could stare at this picture forever.


old wallpaper


Posted: April 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: history, photos | Tags: , , , | No Comments »


we’ve been absolutely totally busy working on the new house all the time! Lots of details and stories over here: http://www.limingtonfarmhouse.org/blog/ among other delights, It’s been great discovering layered bits of old wallpaper around the house.

goofy wallpaper layers of old wallpaper

peeling back the layers of wallpaper on the old chimney in the kitchen

more old wallpaper

a tiny snippet of wallpaper in the attic

kitchen chimney

the old chimney in the kitchen was covered with wallboard; behind that we found many layers of wallpaper and horsehair plaster over the bricks!

old wallpaper old wallpaper

old wallpaper in an upstairs closet

old wallpaper

in an upstairs bedroom

more wallpaper

more wallpaper from the kitchen

old wallpaper old wallpaper

layers of wallpaper in an upstairs closet

We got a tour of our neighbor Mike’s place, also a historical house undergoing renovation. He had some great old wallpaper too!

old wallpaper

at our neighbor Mike’s house

old wallpaper

at Mike’s house


Buxton, Hollis and Limington


Posted: March 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: history | Tags: , , , | No Comments »


I want this book! I just stumbled upon lots of great photos from the book on Google Books.

old photos

Saco River. this view is now underwater due to damming of the river.

old photos

old photos of Hollis and Limington


poor old barn


Posted: March 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: history, photos | No Comments »


poor old barn

sunrise over the old barn

This is the barn on the back of our property. It used to house a dairy operation, cows and milking, we think it was probably built in the 1940′s or 50′s. There are old beams in there that look more than a hundred years old, like lots of farm buildings I think it includes some parts that have been recycled and repurposed many times over the past century, possibly longer. Right now this barn is not good for much besides wood. It looks like the structure had been altered in a number of ways (to accommodate the dairy operation) that compromised the original strength of the structure. Then the roof got leaky and, unattended, the water rotted out the structural beams that held the roof until they stopped holding the roof up anymore… We found a snapshot of it standing, looks like that was in the sixties or seventies.

photo of the barn

found this hanging in the ell. Looks like the sixties or seventies? When the barn was in better shape.

a handsome barn

the barn now, seen from our driveway

Right now it’s filled with junk and debris. There’s a huge toy race car perched on top of a soggy sofa. There are dozens of winter boots under a pile of rubble and broken glass. There is a rusted fridge on its side. There is a big stack of old storm windows which I think we might be able to salvage and reuse. I’ve peeked inside the doorway and gone a few steps in, but I won’t walk further in because I don’t trust the floor to hold up.

inside the ruined barn

inside the barn (first floor)

For the moment we don’t have any plans for this poor old barn. We’ll probably have to take it down someday, but for now we’re just admiring what remains, it’s quite a sight. Richard salvaged two big boards from the barn to use for building our new work table! Hopefully we’ll be able to use more of the wood for projects and repairs.

dogs, barn, Judy

the back side of the barn


A Tidbit of House History


Posted: October 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: history | No Comments »


we’ve gotten some confirmation from the realtor: tomorrow (Thursday) should indeed be the final closing date!! Hooray!!
meanwhile, we’ve gotten some historical documents from the State of Maine, it’s the official paperwork regarding the Limington Historic District, of which our house is a part. We read through and found the description of our house!

Moulton Family House, c. 1880-C,
Route 11
This two-story three-bay frame house is comprised of what appears to be an earlier side gable building to which have been added a pair of Queen Anne style corner towers and a wraparound porch. Presently, the dwelling is clad in asbestos siding. The original house has corner pilasters with round arched panels and gable end returns, whereas the alterations feature three-sided towers with two-over-one windows and turned porch posts with sawn brackets. A one-and-a-half-story ell extends to a small, much altered barn. To the northwest is a larger, free-standing barn.

According to local tradition, this house was erected in the 1870′s or early 1880′s by the Moulton family. Its materials are said to have come from two houses that had been dismantled in Hiram.

this is interesting – my parents had thought the house was older, I wonder if we’ll ever find more historical info about this! I know that my parents’ house in Gorham included several structures – including an original house and an ell, which had been taken from a location a few miles away and dragged off its foundation by oxen, in its entirety, and transported across the fields using rollers made from giant logs, a team of oxen pulling the whole structure to its current location, where it was just tacked on to the side of the original structure. So I wonder if our house was also transported from Hiram in the same manner? or was it dismantled and re-assembled on the current location? Anyway, it would also be fun to find old photos of the house someday…


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