Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The barn

I have fond memories of this barn, which was located on the Locust Lawn property not far from our home.
This month I have written about playing inside the barn.   See Playing in an old barn, published in The Danvers Herald on Thursday May 5, 2011.

I was happy to find these old photographs (taken in 1956 by my father, copied from slides to prints years ago, and now scanned from the prints into my computer).

We loved to play in these fancy stalls, pretending to be horses, or more often, riding on top of the stall walls as jockeys in a race.  To climb up so high, we'd have to move some boxes or furniture into place; our legs were too short to get up there without a platform to climb on.

I wish we had a photo of the antique hand-pulled fire cart that was kept in this section of the main floor.

Upstairs was a wide open room or hay loft, used for games and square dances.  Note the banner of dancers posted above the horizontal window.

I believe this barn was built in 1856 as part of the Kimball estate.  In Country Estates of Old Danvers, Charles S. Tapley wrote (on page 43) 
 "Locust Lawn" ...
(Nichols Street)
     In 1856 Edward D. Kimball of Salem, a prominent merchant and ship owner, built on the side of "Dale Hill" a fine residence.  ...
     Mr. Kimball died in Paris in 1867. ... The next owner was Philip H. Wentworth of Boston, who improved the grounds by laying out more avenues through the wooded places and planting many shrubs. The huge elm tree near the entrance gates was one of the largest in the country. ...
     Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth were instrumental in forming a Unitarian Church in Danvers.
     In 1893, Mrs. Leopold Morse acquired this estate and she resided there during several summers.
     In 1917, Dr. and Mrs. John Holyoke Nichols* bought "Locust Lawn" but they never occupied it, and the mansion was torn down several years ago.    [The mansion was torn down in 1944.]

This barn survived until the Route 95 construction project (1970) removed it and the eastern side of Dale Hill.   I hope that some of the contents and the wonderful old wood (e.g., those fancy stalls, the big beams) were salvaged and re-used somewhere.  
*"Uncle John," a brother to my grandfather, was the Superintendent of Tewksbury State Hospital. After retirement, he lived in the Silvester-Howe house (see p. 56 in Tapley's book) on Peabody Ave, Danvers.  He was married to Oda Howe. She was deaf and my father --a clever math-physics major-- figured out how to help amplify sounds for her, thus making his first hearing aid.  Later, my father began to make hearing aids for others, forming the Nichols & Clark, Inc., factory in my grandfather's garage on Preston St.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sandy--I am enjoying the barn pictures. I remember roaming through there a few times as I was doing yard work for your mother and father--I mowed the lawn one spring/summer--probably my first real paying job. I think I remember that the power lawn mower was kept in the barn. I also think that your mother's horse was stabled under the barn adjacent to the paddock.

Best regards,

Sandy said...

Yes, in later years the lower level of the barn was cleared out to make way for horses. My mother kept a horse (or sometimes two) there with easy access to the paddock.