The historic Gorham barn has been stripped down to its bare timbers and is ready for dismantling so it can be rebuilt at Shaw Cherry Hill Farm. Contributed / Walt Stinson

GORHAM — The skeleton of a 200-year-old east Gorham barn will be dismantled next week.

The bones will be trucked to Fryeburg for storage, cleaning and repairs before the barn is reassembled next year at the 258-acre Shaw Cherry Hill Farm at the Main Street gateway to Gorham.

Scott Campbell of Maine Mountain Post and Beam hammers out a wooden peg on Monday. Campbell is in charge of the barn’s dismantling, repairs and reassembly. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Relocating the barn, now at the intersection of routes 25 and 237, is a move by the non-profit Shaw Brothers Family Foundation to preserve the agricultural roots of Gorham. It will cost more than a “half million dollars to save that old barn,” Jon Shaw, president of Shaw Brothers Construction, said Tuesday.

The barn was built in the day of Capt. Daniel Mosher, a grandson of settlers Daniel and Jane Mosher. It dates back to between 1820 and 1830, according to Scott Campbell of Maine Mountain Post and Beam in Fryeburg. “Marriage marks,” Roman numeral reference points the builders scribed on its timbers, helped Campbell determine its age, he said.

“This is an important project for Gorham,” said Campbell, who is handling dismantling, repairs and reassembly.

Walt Stinson donated the barn to Shaw Brothers and plans to build a self-storage facility at the site.

The barn’s timbers will be stored until the barn is reconstructed in 2022. Robert Lowell / American Journal

The barn might have been demolished, but Stinson knew the Shaw Brothers wanted to build barns at their Cherry Hill Farm. He said Dale Rines of nearby Walnut Crest Farm convinced Jon Shaw to accept the donation.

“It’s going to stay in the neighborhood,” Stinson said. “It’ll be a showcase.”

Some early details of the barn were revealed Monday at an on-site meeting of Stinson, Shaw Brothers officials, neighbors and Rines.

The timbers are hand-hewn pine with some hemlock and fastened together with wooden pegs. Two wall plate timbers run 80 feet, the entire length of the barn. Forty feet wide, the barn has eight, 10-foot bays.

Abbott Mosher of Mosher Road calculated the barn had capacity to store 80 tons of loose hay in the days preceding baled hay and that it could house about 25 cows.

The barn is one of “a dying breed,” Mosher said, and is the last of four original big barns built in town by the early Moshers.

Rines researched the barn through the registry of deeds and “McLellan’s History of Gorham.” Early accounts referred to it as the “Hilltop Barn.”

The early Mosher family built several houses and barns in the area including the 1810 home now owned by Albert E. Mosher.

The barn being dismantled is on the site of the “Cox Farm” that Benjamin Mosher sold in 1826  to his brother Capt. Daniel Mosher.

Rines’ research indicates it might have been Capt. Daniel Mosher, who died in 1848 at age 63, or his son, Merrill, who built the existing barn.

Scott Campbell, back to camera, meets Monday with, from left, Dale Rines, Parker Brown of Shaw Brothers, Albert E. Mosher and Walt Stinson. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Marshall Richardson owned the barn and farm in the 1940s.

Campbell has a schematic of the barn drawn to scale and he will label the pieces as they are taken down. A crane will be on site next week.

“I’ll take it apart piece by piece,” Campbell said.

Glancing upwards at a wall, Stinson said, “It’ll be quite a feat to get that 80-foot beam down.”

Campbell said he’ll re-fasten the timbers with wooden pegs that he’ll make from ash wood. Then it will be re-boarded vertically.

“It’ll be good for another 200 years,” he said.

Campbell said the barn is a testament to its builders, “all put together with hand tools and brute strength,” and it is in good shape.

Reconstructed, the barn will have an office, conference room, restrooms and tractor storage. Space could be available for a college program.

The barn will have a befitting position at Cherry Hill Farm, itself a Gorham gem. The site is a large portion of a 300-acre land grant to John Tyng in 1730 during the reign of King George II.  The public has access to parking and three miles of walking trails that lead to the Presumpscot River.

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