The Hanson Farm on Narragansett Trail in Buxton circa 1900s.

BUXTON — One of the town’s oldest, 18th century homesteads is taking on new life after being spared from demolition.

North East Housewrights of Gorham is restoring the dilapidated Hanson Farm on Narragansett Trail  (Route 202) for Matt Albrecht, owner of River Drive Cooperage-Millwork. The cooperage, which imports and rehabs wooden barrels for craft brewers, is located on the the 40-acre farm site.

“My priority is to preserve a piece of town history,” Albrecht said this week. “The outside facing the street will be historically accurate.”

Fallen into disrepair, the old Hanson Farm in Buxton is under restoration. Courtesy photo

Albrecht, who lives in Buxton, is undecided whether to live in the house or rent it out when the renovations are complete. The major exterior work is expected to be finished this summer.

The house had been vacant for about a decade and was slated to be bulldozed to make way for a subdivision that didn’t materialize, and Albrecht bought the property.

Craig Gilbert of North East Housewrights said the house is actually two buildings. The oldest portion is a cape style that he says dates back to the mid 1700s, based on the handmade nails, hand-planed boards on interior walls and hand-hewn timbers he’s found.

The older house was moved to its present site from across the street. A two-story ell was added in the early 1800s, he said.

Gilbert gutted the structures to the framing. Basically all the interior woodwork is salvageable, he said.

The roofing hadn’t been replaced since the 1940s.

He credits the pine used to build the house and quality workmanship for the house’s endurance.

“Old growth pine and construction saved the building,” Gilbert said.

The edges of the exterior boarding were beveled and the tight fit helped protect it from the elements, he said.

The rear wall had to be replaced, however.

Workers replace the roof, which was last updated in the 1940s. Courtesy photo

The earliest accounts of the Hanson Farm are sketchy.

Brent Hill of the Buxton-Hollis Historical Society said an “1852 map shows the owner as Stephen Hanson and the 1872 map has S. Hanson there.” 

A longtime neighbor who grew up near the Hanson place, Jim Dearborn, said the Hansons were prominent in the area and owned a lot of property. He vaguely remembers Jim Hanson, the last in a long family line to live at the farm.

Hanson, a bachelor, died about 1953 and the house had “wonderful antiques,” Dearborn said. After Hanson’s death, an auction conducted by Edgar Carswell of Gorham liquidated the furnishings.

During Hanson’s lifetime, the house was not served by electricity and Dearborn recalled a “big round Portland stove” in the dining room.

After Hanson died, the property went to a relative, the late Ralph Temm of  Scarborough who was a Hanson family descendant.  Temm bought out the other heirs and rented out the place.

Restoration of the front of the Hanson Farm will be historically accurate.

When Albrecht bought the property in January of 2016, it had been neglected for 20 years. The big barn had fallen apart in a rotted pile and the carriage house previously had been dismantled because of disrepair. He said he hopes to rebuild both.

Restoration got under way in early 2019, Albrecht said.

Gilbert said windows for the rear of the house arrived Tuesday and installation was to begin immediately.

The entire exterior is expected to be completed this summer. “It will look real nice from the road,” Albrecht said. “It was one of the older houses in town.”

In keeping with the farm’s roots,  fields will be available to rent for farmers.

Comments are not available on this story.