Hours of Operation

Gibbs Avenue Museum
and
Blynn Davis Memorial Archives

5 Gibbs Ave., Bridgton, Maine 04009

July-August, Tuesday-Friday, 1-4

Tuesday & Thursday 1-4.   We are often around at other times, so please don't hesitate to come in if we're here. To better serve you, we strongly recommend that researchers contact us in advanc

 

 

Narramissic

46 Narramissic Rd., Bridgton,Maine

July-August: House open for tours Thursday-Saturday, 11-3.. We're happy to make appointments at other times, please contact us to arrange a time.

House is closed mid-October - June. Enjoy the grounds and the self-guided hike to the quarry any time during daylight hours. Note: since the facilities are available to rent for weddings, reunions, and other private functions, there may be times (especially Saturdays) that we are not open to the public. Please check in advance if traveling a long distance to visit.

Temperance Barn at Narramissic on Endangered List

Watch this video, thanks to Don Perkins, author of The Barns of Maine: Our History, Our Stories

 

In 2013, Maine Preservation added Narramissic to its list of Maine's Most Endangered Historic Resources, stating "Due to fiscal constraints and a lack of volunteers or paid staff, Narramissic Farm suffers from deferred maintenance. While Bridgton Historical Society, which took ownership in 1986, is a fine steward, the property urgently needs additional support." (See the "Donate" button on our home page!). Problems with the barn foundation first brought this situation to light. The door had become increasingly difficult to operate, and when volunteers went to correct the situation, they noticed that the real culprit wasn’t the door itself, but the fact that the 175-year-old structure was shifting off its foundations. The Society consulted with several historic preservation consultants and a report by Christopher Closs of Maine Preservation resulted in its "Most Endangered" listing.

Both the house and the barn face similar problems, which will be addressed in a multi-year project. Phase One, a $50,000 project to be completed in 2015, will address the root cause, by diverting the water that currently undermines the foundations with a deep interceptor drain around the buildings. Later phases, still in the planning stages, will rebuild the foundations and perform other needed stabilization procedures for the house.  Please contribute what you can to help preserve these venerable structures!

The barn, approximately 40 x 60 feet, was built in the 1830s by George Fitch, son-in-law of the house’s original owner, William Peabody. It is known locally as the “Temperance Barn,” since according to local tradition, it was raised, during a period of religious revival, without the barrel of rum that was usually part of such occasions.  Mr. Fitch was an ambitious builder, constructing this large barn next to an existing one. A few years later, he decided that it needed a cellar; he built a large wooden screw, lifted the barn up and built the foundation of huge granite slabs that he quarried from the hill behind the house. The barn has stood, through wind, rain, and sun and through good times and bad, since then.   

The barn is featured prominently in Don Perkins recent book, The Barns of Maine, as it is a noteworthy specimen of a mid-19th century barn with a very compelling story.  The barn has been used over the years as a venue for numerous events and programs, from scholarly lectures and fine artisans shows to community suppers and dances.  But no barn--or other historic structure--stands forever without repairs. It was re-sided in the late 1930s after Margaret Monroe purchased the property, and the society has worked over the years at preserving the structure, most recently by replacing the roof. Major work was also undertaken when the farm was donated to the Society in 1987. The floor was replaced at that time, and structural repairs straightened the barn and reinforced the supporting posts. Those repairs have lasted for a quarter of a century, but 25 years of water draining off the Fitch’s Hill has taken its toll, washing out the soil under the foundation.  

To read more about Maine Preservation and their Most Endangered list, visit them at http://mainepreservation.org/.

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