FARMINGTON – Robert Brackley Jr. believes an old beehive discovered in a house he and his crew are dismantling was man-made and built into a wall of the structure, which he suspects was built in the late 1800s.

Brackley, of New Vineyard, the owner of Brackley’s Nostalgic Restorations, is dismantling what was known as the Thomas House on the campus of the University of Maine at Farmington. The wood flooring, bricks and other material from the old house, which is located behind the Psychology House, a former church on Main Street, will be used in Brackley’s restoration projects.

Brackley climbed up the stairs to the second floor of the house Thursday, sweat dripping from his face. He set up a ladder on a piece of wood spanning several floor joists before he climbed up next to the formerly active beehive built between wall studs near a chimney.

When they had started to tear the roof off the building, Brackley said, they found some boards that had some honeycomb on them. He began to wonder if they had bees, since he had raised them before and this was a tell-tale sign.

With more boards removed and more light let in, they could see what looked like a built-in hive.

He believes the house was built between 1870 and 1890.

All the evidence points to the beehive being built into the wall. It was active more than a hundred years ago, he said.

It was so symmetrical it looks like it was man-made, Brackley said.

There is a wooden plug near the bottom of the hive, firmly set in the hole Thursday, that would have been how the bees entered the hive, Brackley said. Honeycomb was still on the outside of the hive before it was torn down.

“It seems bizarre,” he said, but it looks like the people built it into the wall and when they wanted honey, they would go up and get it.

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