Curtis and Stephanie Richard purchased their property in late 2013. The property, located in New Durham, boasts an antique cape-style home, open field and forest, and a weathered, yet well-built 30’x30’ post-and-beam barn. “We love it here; New Durham is a welcoming community that really embraces its history and its rural identity. We are so grateful for the many conservation and preservation efforts in our neighborhood, town, and state and are honored to be able to share in those efforts as we maintain and restore our own barn,” said Stephanie.
The house dates to c. 1790 and the barn was likely constructed around that time as well. The Richards have a county map dated 1856 that shows the home and barn and labels the owner as “L.H. Pinkham”. The neighborhood was once known as “pig pen corner,” so the property was likely home to pigs or other small livestock.
We’re highlighting this barn as one of the 52 Barns in 52 Weeks to celebrate the Richard’s commitment to the stewardship of the building as they continue its agricultural use. The barn currently supports the Richards in their efforts to produce meat and vegetables for their growing family. The couple raises chickens, ducks, and pigs, tends two large gardens, and enjoys fruit from the property’s mature apple trees and blueberry bushes. The barn serves as storage, a workshop, a potting shed, and a winter home for their cats and chickens. The couple has also used the barn as entertaining space for their wedding reception and birthday parties. Renovation of the barn will greatly increase its usefulness, as the leaking roof and deteriorated siding now allow easy entry for the elements and wildlife.
After several years of consideration, the Richards looked to the NH Preservation Alliance for help and were pleased to receive a grant for a Barn Assessment during the second grant round of the 52 Barns in 52 Weeks initiative. It was clear the roof needed replacing, but the couple questioned whether that was the best first step, worrying that future repairs may cause damage to the new roof. Ed Pape was selected to assist with the barn assessment and provided them with advice on the best course of action for restoring and preserving the structure. Based on Ed’s recommendations, the Richards are aiming to start with sill replacement work next year. Curtis said of Ed’s visit, “It is great to have professional advice about how to move forward, and I also enjoyed hearing Ed’s assessment of the barn’s construction and history. I’m excited to know that the framing and bracing are rugged and sturdy and am encouraged that the barn can be restored.”
The goal of this 2017 initiative is to help at least 52 barn owners across the state with assessment grants, assistance in securing tax relief, and educational opportunities to help save their historic barns. Throughout the year, barns and their owners have been showcased by the Preservation Alliance to celebrate good work and offer practical information and inspiration to others.
We are grateful to all of our donors to date, and encourage others to add their support with an investment in the 52 Barns in 52 Weeks campaign so we can do more!