I wrote about the 1846 Shaker South Family Dwelling, shown in the background, a few years ago for Yankee magazine. I paid the homeowners in Harvard, Mass. a recent visit and marveled anew at the stone barn ruin on the property.
I learned that it’s comprised of two wythes of stone. (Wythes are vertical sections of a masonry wall that are one unit thick.) The exterior stones have more regular shapes and are tightly coursed; the interior stones have less regular shapes and are more loosely coursed. The two layers are connected by select through stones that join one wythe to the other. Over time, the roof collapsed, and water infiltrated between the two wythes, subjecting them to the forces of expansion and contraction. Today, all that’s left are the lower portions of the walls, complete with enormous lintels, and some perilously tall corner remnants.
The owners have been collaborating with the Harvard Conservation Trust in hopes of raising funds to stabilize the structure to prevent it from deteriorating further. If you can help preserve this landmark, contact the Trust.
by Katie Hutchison for the House Enthusiast