PTF began work on the undercarriage of the True-Randall barn in November 2012, and recently completed a comprehensive timber frame repair of the house, barn and ell. George and Karin Look, owners and custodians of the True-Randall Farmstead, researched the history of their property extensively and are deeply committed to ensuring its preservation. The following account is a summary of their findings, which they’ve graciously allowed me to publish here.
True-Randall Farm: A Quintessential Maine Connected Farmstead
In 1813 Deacon Ezekiel True’s twin sons, Moses and Paul, built him a “house on the hill” above his mills on the St. Georges River, in what is now South Montville, Maine. A barn, which has the same timber frame construction as the house, was built for the farm across the road in 1814. Its largest timbers, primarily second growth hemlock, were hand hewn, most likely on the farm. They include 60 foot long continuous timbers for the plates. The farm passed by marriage from the True to the Randall family in the mid 1830s and remained in that family until 1984.
In 1889 the barn was moved to its current position and connected to the house by an ell. Local history indicates that it was rolled across the road using oxen and logs and that a small American Elm run over during the move stood back up and grew into a giant tree in front of the barn. The roof was removed before the move and roof elements, including the purlins, were used in building the deck for the barn, which was converted into a bank barn. At the time of the move an original eve wall was moved to the east 6 feet to increase the size of the milking parlor to accommodate the new, larger breeds of dairy cows that were becoming popular at the time. Also, the new roof was built with higher pitch to allow for storage of more hay. The barn was in use in a dairy operation until the 1970s.
Another of Deacon True’s sons, John, built the Mill at Freedom Falls (Maine), in 1834. PTF was intimately involved in the restoration of that Mill in 2012.
-George and Karin Look
Read our first post about True-Randall farm, about leveling the barn, here. In upcoming blog posts, we will describe our process for repairing the timber posts in house and barn, and in-place tie beam repair.