“The History of Agriculture as Told by Barns” with John Porter, February 20

“The History of Agriculture as Told by Barns” with John Porter
Stratham and Exeter Heritage Commissions
Venue: Stratham Municipal Center, 10 Bunker Hill Ave, Stratham, NH
Date: Friday, February 20, 2015
Time: 7 pm
Free and open to the public

The Stratham and Exeter Heritage Commissions are co-hosting a talk on old barns by John Porter, UNH Cooperative Extension professor and dairy specialist emeritus. Porter and retired UNHCE Extension Engineer Francis Gilman coauthored the book Preserving Old Barns: Preventing the Loss of a Valuable Resource. Porter will speak on “The History of Agriculture as Told by Barns,” with a slide presentation of historic barns that can still be seen in Stratham and Exeter. Exterior and interior photos will include a look at architectural details. In early November Porter and Stratham Heritage Commission member and farmer Nathan Merrill toured and photographed 14 barns–11 in Stratham and three in Exeter. Nate Merrill has also used the photos and information gathered from the tour and other research for a booklet for the Heritage Commission on the barns of Stratham. This guide to reading the historic agricultural landscape will include a section on “missing barns” that no longer stand in town for reasons ranging from lightning-strike fires to changing technology to loss to development.

Stratham and Exeter have adopted the RSA 79-D discretionary easement provision enacted in 2002 to grant property tax relief to owners of historic barns or other agricultural structures that meet the criteria for eligibility. RSA 79-D aims to ensure that repairing and maintaining a historic barn will not result in increased tax assessment. The Stratham and Exeter Heritage Commissions hope the barn talk will encourage more barn owners to take advantage of the barn easement.

Rebecca Mitchell, Stratham Heritage Commission chair, says each of the many early barns still standing in the Seacoast region has a story to tell about how the area evolved. She says the barn talk is an opportunity “to recognize and thank the many barn owners who keep these iconic structures standing in our midst.” The program is free and open to the public, and will be held at the Stratham Municipal Center, 10 Bunker Hill Avenue on Friday, February 20th at 7:00 pm.

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