Category Archives: Vernacular

Horse Barn, Hancock Shaker Village (1850)

Horse Barn

At the Hancock Shaker Village is an original Horse Barn. It originally stood on a nearby lot owned by the Shakers. It was dismantled and reerected at its current location in 1850 by Matthew Criteden, a non-Shaker. The barn was known as Elder Louis’ barn because Elder Louis Basting kept teams of carriage horses in the barn. The slate roof probably dates to 1876, when a number of buildings at the village were re-roofed in slate.

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Laundry and Machine Shop, Hancock Shaker Village (1790)

Laundry and Machine Shop

The oldest part of the Laundry and Machine Shop building at Hancock Shaker Village dates to 1790, when the structure may have been used as a dwelling by the Goodrich family, whose owner became a convert. The Shakers positioned this building to take advantage of the penstock, or incoming water supply pipe. The building was moved in 1829 to make room for the brick dwelling. The Laundry and Machine Shop is unusual in that both the Shaker Brothers and Sisters did their work under the same roof, albeit separated into the female laundry and the male machine/woodworking shops. Both groups utilized power provided by an 1858 water turbine. An addition was built on the machine shop in 1839. (more…)

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Ice House, Hancock Shaker Village (1894)

Ice House, Hancock Shaker Village (1894)

The Shakers at Hancock Shaker Village had a number of ice houses constructed in the nineteenth century, but the one that survives was built in 1894 to replace an earlier one of 1866. Sister Emoretta Belden described the new ice house in the Shaker Manifesto of December 1894:

We have long anticipated the possession of a new ice-house, with modern improvements. Within the last two months it has been erected. The building is 22×34 ft. with brick walls 18 ft. high, laid in red-colored mortar. One half of the lower story is finished inside with Southern pine, to be used for cold storage. The ice-hall and chamber will hold about two hundred tons of ice. The outside wood-work is painted a light gray color, and presents quite a nice appearance. There are rooms for vegetables, fruits, meats, and any things that we may wish to keep for a long or short time.

Built into a hill side to use the natural insulation of the earth, the south side of the Ice House is smaller than the cooler north side, to minimize the sun’s impact. Cool air from the ice chambers vents directly into food storage rooms, and a cupola on the roof allows the warmer air to escape. For insulation, the building has double and triple hung doors and on the lower level are triple-glazed windows. (more…)

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Hired Men’s Shop, Hancock Shaker Village (1820)

Hired Men's Shop, Hancock Shaker Village

As the numbers of Shakers at the Hancock Shaker Village began to decline in the second half of the nineteenth century, farm workers were hired. These men ate and received their daily work assignments at the Trustee’s Office and lodged in a separate building. After the original Hired Men’s building at Hancock burned down, the Shakers utilized another structure, built before 1820 and originally used as a seed shop, which they moved to its current location to become the new Hired Men’s Shop in 1907. (more…)

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Garden Tool Shed, Hancock Shaker Village (1922)

Garden Tool Shed, Hancock Shaker Village

The Garden Tool Shed at Hancock Shaker Village was originally built as a screened-in structure in 1922 where the Shaker Sisters could relax and drink tea. Such a building, intended for recreation, would never have been built by the more austere earlier shakers. Moved in 1961 to serve as the ticket booth of the Hancock Shaker Village museum, it was later relocated to the foundations of an old tool shed and is now used by the museum’s garden staff. (more…)

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1910 Barn, Hancock Shaker Village (1910)

1910 Barn

The 1910 barn at Hancock Shaker Village was built on the stone foundations of an 1880 barn that had been destroyed by fire after it was struck by lightning on August 2. 1910. An even earlier calf barn on the site had been destroyed by fire in 1879. The new barn was constructed for the Shakers by the firm of Osteyee Brothers using concrete with an exterior stuccoed in cement and a slate roof, all to prevent future fires. A wooden dairy ell for Holstein cows was added in 1939 and the Hancock Shaker Village museum has reconstructed an attached equipment shed that had been demolished in the early 1960s.

Additions to 1910 barnOn the right is the 1939 dairy ell and on the left is the reconstructed equipment shed.

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Harvard Shaker South Family Dwelling House (1846)

Harvard Shaker South Family Dwelling House

Harvard Shaker Village was divided into separate complexes known as the Church, North, South, and East Families. Among the buildings that survive from the South Family is the large Dwelling House (or Dormitory), constructed in 1846/1848 (its current address is 101 South Shaker Road). It is joined at the rear to the laundry, or washhouse, built in 1823 (or perhaps as early as 1800). With their numbers dwindling in later years, the Shakers sold the building in 1899 and the remaining members of the South Family moved to join the Church family. The Dwelling House was later used as a chicken coop and in the 1940s as a fresh-air camp for city children. In 2003, it was converted into living space. The Dwelling House has a bell tower containing its original bell. The building also retains 65 original windows. (more…)

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