Jan and John Maggs Antiques

THE RESTORATION OF JABEZ NEWHALL’S TAVERN

CHAPTER 2 -- OUTBUILDINGS: SEPTEMBER 1985-- p. 1



In addition to the two buildings of the residence, our new property included several outbuildings. The largest and most intimidating was the barn in which we now have our showrooms. The inspector who was sent in response to our first mortgage application advised us to demolish it, since he and the bank would consider it "a liability." His glib statement cost his bank our patronage and strengthened our resolve to preserve this huge, ailing treasure.

Inside and out, the barns and sheds showed the same signs of neglect and abuse as the house. The barn, long in disuse as a dairy, had become a storage and dumping ground for a local mason. Littered with broken boards and tons of discarded masons’ supplies, the outbuildings were, at best, hazardous. The massive doors of the barn had long ago been lifted from their pintels, nailed to the closest beams, and had remained open for most of the 20th century. As if invited, a resident flock of pigeons had taken residence and, to show their gratitude, had deposited a deep mound of excrement under the ridge of the roof from the doors to the rear wall. The acidity of this and a century of cow manure had rotted at least 50 percent of the floor boards, rendering the barn virtually unenterable. It was no wonder that the dozens of builders and would-be restorers who had looked at the property wrote it off as a hopeless cause.

 


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