BETHEL — Don Perkins, author of the recently released book, "The Barns of Maine: Our History, Our Stories," will discuss the history of Maine's barns, which went through three basic phases or periods, at the Bethel Historical Society on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 1 p.m.
Using historic and contemporary images, he also will illuminate regional trends in the construction of barns throughout Maine. A former carpenter and woodworker with a longtime interest in timber framing, Perkins has been a freelance writer since 2005 and has lived near Sebago Lake in Raymond since 1994. In 2007-8, he penned a series of articles on local barns for a Gray-New Gloucester weekly that garnered much interest, running for some 20 weeks; another barn column appeared in the Advertiser-Democrat newspaper for a year and a half.
Although humble in their function, Maine’s carefully crafted barns have shaped the lives of people in the Pine Tree State for centuries. Built long before the days of plastic and plywood, the barns have survived for generations, each with a story to tell.
In Bridgton, for example, one barn offered comfort to a 16-year-old boy when his father was injured. Another barn in New Gloucester was so important to one family that its likeness was engraved on their headstones. In fact, some owners have said they would rather see their houses burn than their barns, and others have dedicated their lives and livelihoods to restoring and preserving these buildings.
In his book, Perkins examines barn structures ranging from modest English versions to grand Victorian buildings. As he describes the origins and evolution of Maine’s barns, he convincingly demonstrates the vital and precious role they play in people’s lives.
Copies of Perkins’ book will be available for purchase and signing following his program. As always, members of the Bethel Historical Society will receive a 10 percent discount. The lecture and book signing will be held in the Mason House exhibit hall, 14 Broad St.
For more information call 824-2908 or 800-824-2910 or visit www.bethelhistorical.org.