The earliest extant record we have found of a structure on the property of A. Bird on Upper Cedar Street is on a map that bears the date 1873. Interestingly enough, that map does not indicate a barn is on the property, although the outbuildings of other properties are shown on the map. In 1877, Almon Bird is listed as a “farmer” in the 1877 Rockland City Directory, and in 1880, we know he was keeping at least a cow, a horse, a swine, and 15 poultry on the property. Did he build the barn, and if so, when?
The footprint of the house on the 1873 map does not show the third gable that now projects away from Cedar Street and which now houses the dining room on the first floor and a bedroom above. Also the southeast gable (on the far right in the picture above) does not extend as far outward toward Cedar Street as indicated on the 1873 map.
When we moved in in 2012, the entire southeast portion of the house was an unfinished attached barn with a sliding barn door on the back. The space was clearly meant to be more utilitarian than the rest of the house, and we’ve heard that Almon stored and may have even sold some of his family’s Three Crow Spice Brand products out of this part of the house. Today that portion of the house is the Karen Talbot Art Gallery (downstairs) and Karen’s studio (upstairs). You can watch a series of videos about the 2012-1013 rennocation project on the Karen Talbot Art YouTube channel.
As a friend who is a local realtor told us when giving us a heads up that the property was coming on the market in the spring 2012, “The barn alone is worth it!” The barn is indeed a stunning structure that has been used at various times for everything from hay storage, livestock, boat repair, and, most recently packing and shipping pallet’s of Alger’s Pints.
When we moved in in the fall of 2012, there was a small workshop in the front left of the barn. The space was relatively small, not very well laid out (for a workshop) and not fully enclosed or insulated. In the autumn of 2016, with orders of Angler’s Pints reaching the 10K mark, we accelerated our long range plans for the barn and added a workshop/Angler’s Pint fulfillment center on the first floor. You can learn more about the meteoric growth of the Angler’s Pint business on the Angler’s Pint blog.
During that renovation work, we tried to stay true to the barn’s integrity, using all rough cut native wood (mostly hemlock) and keeping beams exposed where possible. Having said that, we needed a good year-round workspace, so we did insulate and update the wiring, as well as add a Rinnai. It’s proving a useful space in which to work.
The age of the barn is a bit of conundrum, and our best guess is that the structure was relocated to its current location. Assuming the 1873 map is correct and the house is older than the barn, it begs the question of why the barn construction appears older than the house. It was not uncommon to move barns or repurpose beams from old barns when building new ones. Is that what Almon did?