Date listed: 1/27/2017
Criterion A: Agriculture Criterion C: Architecture Local Significance
The Freeman barn in rural Wallagrass, Aroostook County, Maine is a Gothic arched bank barn facing east on Route 11 and overlooking the Fish River. The 49’ x 73’ barn sits on a 4.4 acre lot with hay fields of the original farm to the west. The barn sits at the edge of the abrupt transition from cleared farm land along Route 11 to thick forest to the west. Wallagrass is on the edge of the larger Aroostook County potato production areas. The Freeman barn is an example of an innovative barn architecture that is becoming rare nationwide and particularly in northern Maine. The Gothic arch roof is an engineered solution to provide maximum volume for hay storage for a given floor area. The graceful curve and the voluminous loft create a distinctive architectural form. However, the form quickly becomes obsolete with the shift in farming patterns after the introduction of gasoline powered tractors and a shift to other methods of hay storage. Aroostook County farming from its beginning was diverse and required large flexible barns to provide shelter from the harsh winter for the varied harvested crops and animals. With the coming of railroad access, potato farming became a central focus in the county. The bank barn configuration and Gothic arch roof reflects accommodation for the overwhelming importance of potato farming while at the same time addressing the continued importance of hay storage and a mix of other crops and animal husbandry required to be profitable and self-sufficient through the harsh winters. The Freeman Gothic arched bank barn is significant at the local level under Criterion C for its architectural type and method of construction and under Criterion A for its association with the patterns of agricultural development. The period of significance is from the barns construction c. 1925 to 1966, fifty years prior to the date of listing since active farm use of the barn continued through that date.