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The Van Campen Barn, the Wagon Shop, and the Carriage Shed


  Pictures of the Van Campen barn as well as the wagon shop and new carriage shed. The first two structures were moved to the village by disassembling them and reerecting them on a foundation which was built in Millbrook specifically for the buildings. The barn was just south of the school and cemetary, and was rapidly losing its structural validity. One corner post was badly rotted, and most of the posts sat at or below ground level. Volunteers successfully took down the barn, labeled the pieces, fixed or replaced the damaged timbers, and had a barn raising to reerect the building in the village. Finally, new rafters were constructed, and a cedar shake roof was put on by our volunteers. The wagon shop was found roughly 3 miles south of Millbrook in the Recreation Area. It was originally a bank barn with a full foundation, a first story, and an upper story with a knee wall. Most of the timbers were poplar or pine, and the entire building was in great shape. We decided that this building would be great for a wagon shop, since several of our members were interested in learning the wheelwright trade. Again, volunteers gathered together for a raising and assembled the building.


You'd think that this barn had been standing in one place for 100 years, but it's actually had to walk up the road about 1/2 mile from its original site (it did have help) in 1985. The two side sheds were added within a year of the main building's erection. In the center of the building, you can also see a Conestoga style wagon (in excellent condition). During some years since its erection, the barn has had occupants of the bovine, goat and donkey type. Sadly, since we no longer have full time residents in the village, its very hard to keep the animals fed and comfortably housed.

The northern side of the wagon shed during the day that the structure was raised in Millbrook. The building consists of four bents that are tied together via cross pieces. The building was assembled one bent at a time starting from the north end and moving to the south. Bents were erected with the aid of "gin poles", which are nothing more than a temporary crane of two tall maple poles placed on either side of the building. A block and tackle was place at the top of each of these poles, and a rope was tied to the top of each bent. Muscle was applied, and the combination lifted each bent.

The interior of the wagonshop during a recent wheelwright workshop.

Securing he rim to the wheel inside the wagon shop. The hand-powered drill press is a donated piece of equipment, and works as well as it looks. In the background is one of Millbrook's covered buggies.

  Now, as usual, if you ever build something to store things in, you know what's bound to happen. It's just like a closet. If you build it, someone will find a way to fill it up to the point where you can no longer use it. In the case of the wheelwright's shop, it became so full of carriages, buggies, carts, and new projects, that it took half the day to take the wagons, carts, and buggies out before you could get to work! So, in 2002, a fairly simple carriage shed was erected to allow visitors to see and store most of our assets under roof. Pictures follow....

As you can see, it's similar to today's pole-barn, but the beams and mortised and tenoned, and held together with wooden pegs. The crews putting on cedar shakes....

Leaning toward fall now, The front doors aren't on yet, but you can see how much room is available for carriages.

Winter and the front doors are firmly in place with vehicles shut in inside impervious to the elements.