Jon Shaw is overseeing construction of a cattle barn and fencing at Shaw Cherry Hill Farm in Gorham. Robert Lowell / American Journal

A crew is busy these days building a steel-framed cattle barn and a mile of fencing at Shaw Cherry Hill Farm in Gorham.

The barn will house a herd of Black Angus and some Belted Galloways. Jon Shaw, president of Shaw Brothers Construction, expects the cows to be in the pasture by August.

Construction of the 135-by-65 foot cattle barn with a 70-by-100 foot storage wing is well underway.
The fence installation likely will take half the winter. The fence has steel rails and concrete posts anchored up to five feet in the ground.

“We don’t want to chase cows,” Shaw said, adding that future generations “won’t have to build a fence for 100 years.”

The nonprofit Shaw Brothers Family Foundation is working to preserve the town’s agricultural heritage at the nearly 300-acre Cherry Hill Farm on Main Street/Route 25. The site now has three miles of walking trails with access to the Presumpscot River, a parking lot and an ice skating rink for public use.

A new cattle barn, right, is going up at Shaw Cherry Hill Farm in Gorham. To its left is the 200-year-old barn that Shaw Brothers Family Foundation saved, dismantled, relocated and rebuilt. Robert Lowell / American Journal

The cattle barn is rising adjacent to a white, two-century-old barn the foundation saved from destruction and reconstructed at the site. Originally built in the area by a grandson of early Gorham settler Daniel Mosher, the barn has two timbers running its 80-foot length.


The old barn soon will house the Gorham Historical Society, which has begun moving in with help of Public Works. The historical society will be located on an upper level, accessible by a stairwell and an elevator.

Historical society President Suzanne Phillips said Wednesday that public accessibility to the archives is the chief benefit of the new site, along with available parking. The society will most likely have an open house in February, she said.

Kelly Dearborn, archivist for the Gorham Historical Society, checks out the organization’s new space in the reassembled historic barn. Robert Lowell / American Journal

The barn will include a farm manager’s office, a kitchen, two restrooms and a conference room.

In the future, Shaw would also like to set up an agricultural learning classroom in the barn. He said he envisions, for example, students learning how to plow and harrow soil at the farm.

The new cow barn features a loose housing concept with cattle free to roam inside. Hay will be stored on the upper story with a concrete floor accessed by a concrete ramp for trucks and tractors to drive up to unload bales.

The cows – up to 30 of them – will be fed a home-produced hay mixed with brewer’s grain, a by-product left from manufacturing beer. Shaw said cows will drink Sebago Lake water and the land will be free of so-called forever chemicals.


The finished barn will have red, exterior synthetic shingles. It will be powered by electricity produced by the Shaw Brothers solar plant in Buxton.

A chunk of Cherry Hill Farm acreage goes back to 1730 when John Tyng of Massachusetts was granted 300 acres on the Presumpscot River during the time of King George II. It predated any other grant in what was to become Gorham.

It was the first farm in Gorham and it’s poised to possibly become the last farm in town.

It will never be sold, Shaw said.

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