Barn drawing by Howard Bonington
Drawing by Howard Bonington
Click image to enlarge

The barn at Taylor-Bray Farm, described in this video by New England archaeologist Craig Chartier, dates from the early 19th century with an extension added sometime in the early 20th century. The barn served the Taylors, the Bray Brothers and the Williams family well and has been a focal point of the farm’s festivals for more than 20 years. But as these photos show, it has clearly suffered the ravages of 200 years of New England winters. Now the barn is being restored.

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Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge

The Barn Project

The association with key help from the town completed several preliminary tasks. Meeting space in the unoccupied caretaker’s house was prepared; the house was cleaned and the heat and utilities were turned on. Next, the barn was emptied of all that was accumulated over the twenty years of the Association’s curatorship of the farm.

Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge

Historical Commission archaeology volunteers undertook an assessment of what historical evidence might be discovered in the soil around the barn before the construction work begins and the evidence is irretrievably lost. Volunteers dug a series of pits around the perimeter and collected a small number of artifacts for evaluation.

Volunteers sifting foe artifacts

Eversource connected a service line to a new distribution box. The service was split into three different lines; one for caretaker house, one for future use with renovated barn and one for the animal shelter/pen area. This allows the farm to continue operations area during the barn renovation. 

Moving the barn off its foundatio

In the first renovation phase, the barn was lifted off its existing foundation and moved slightly north of its current location. This work was done by a local firm, Gary Sylvester’s Building Movers & Excavators.

Two I-beam tracks were placed through the barn near each end. Trollies on each track supported a network of I-beams with brackets bolted to vertical barn posts. This structure was lifted by hydraulic jacks and the barn rolled off its foundation. The barn temporarily sat just north of its old location. 

Click an image to view a slide presentation of enlarged images.

This time-lapse video of the move was provided by Robert Scott Button of Maggie’s Farm Productions LLC 

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Iron artifact discovered while digging foundation

The barn was safely moved off its foundation. The sills and floor were exposed showing the rot that had developed over the years. The floor was demolished.  The old foundation was demolished with the stone materials set aside for future use. Two of the sills that were in good condition were preserved so they could be used in repairing the barn structure.

During the excavation of the foundation, an iron artifact was discovered.  It is not certain what the object is. No conclusive identification has been determined. 

Images of this phase are shown below.

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The new foundation is in place and backfilled. New sill plates are installed. A steel support structure has been constructed for the barn floor. The new concrete undercroft floor has been poured. Finally, the new floor platform for the renovated barn has been constructed. 

Moving the barn back

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These images of the move to the new foundation were provided by Robert Scott Button of Maggie’s Farm Productions LLC 

With the barn set on the new foundation, needed repairs to the structure were made. As these images show, there was significant rot and termite damage. The repair work was skillfully done by Coastal Custom Builders using materials set aside from earlier work done on the farmhouse, saved from the preparation for the new foundation and from another site. Posts were tied to the new platform using steel T brackets and unsafe old beams were attached to posts with steel elbows. 

The barn has been made weather tight. Old windows and doors have been reinstalled which will be replaced with new materials in the next phase of the work. 

Click an image to enlarge.

While the carpentry work was done by Coastal Custom Builders, the stone work around the new foundation was done by Cape Cod Hardscape. The original barn and the early 20th century addition were built on a dry stone foundation. The new foundation is poured concrete. To preserve the look of an early 19th century structure, a fieldstone veneer was installed.

Click an image to enlarge.

Keep track of the progress of the renovation.

With that work complete, funding for the final phases, renovation of the exterior and interior, is being requested from the Community Preservation fund. Come back often to watch the process unfold.

Taylor-Bray Farm Preservation Association
P.O. Box 66
108 Bray Farm Road North
Yarmouth Port, MA 02675