Restoration of Historic Douglas Orchards Bank Barn

This classic gable bank barn overlooking scenic Lake Champlain has been part of the Shoreham landscape and local community since the early 1800’s. The barn has evolved over its life, at one time having been used as a dairy barn to house milking cows and heifers. Currently, it stores farm equipment used for the operation of both Douglas Orchards and nearby Champlain Orchards.

200 years of active use has taken a toll on this iconic barn. To ensure that it remains vital for the next 200 years, a 2-phase restoration is planned. Phase 1 kicks off in Spring 2024, when the barn will be lifted off its current foundation in order to facilitate excavation of a new foundation and improve structural support timbers. Phase 2 will complete the structural updates and restore the barn to its former beauty.

We’re hoping that the local community, our awesome orchard visitors, and anyone who appreciates preservation of historic buildings, woodwork and craftsmanship from a bygone era will join us to be part of a modern-day “barn-raising”.

Any donation is appreciated! In appreciate of donations of $200 or more, you will receive:
$200+: Douglas Orchards ball cap
$500+: Douglas Orchards hoodie
$1,000+: Invitation to a special cider pairing dinner at Douglas Orchards (date tbc)

You can follow the Douglas Orchards Bank Barn’s progression on our websites (douglasorchards.com and champlainorchards.com), and on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

More from Douglas Orchards Owner, Bill Suhr:

We are grateful you have invested the time to learn more about our aspirations to stabilize and renovate the Douglas Orchards bank barn, which has been a part of our actively farmed Shoreham landscape for over 200 years. The northern portion of the barn was initially built in the early 1800’s. A sister barn on the adjoining Witherell orchard has a date of 1809 inscribed on a timber. The Douglas family purchased this farm in 1898 and Scott and Bob Douglas remember when milking cows were sold and the barn was used for raising heifers. The Douglas brothers most recently utilized the barn to store straw for mulching strawberries and to store equipment.

Our goal is to gradually restore the Douglas Orchard bank barn so it can be available to future stewards of the conserved property. Phase 1 of our work will require around $200,000 of funds. We will be working with Miles Jenness of Vermont Heavy Timber to jack up the entire 40x80 bank barn in the spring of 2024. This winter, Miles will harvest native trees in Huntington, Vermont where his sawmill will cut necessary timbers to replace all wood from the first floor to the posts in the basement level of the barn. In the spring of 2024, Miles will jack the entire 40x80 barn five feet in the air which will allow us to remove the existing stone and concrete foundation and floor. Joe Tomasi of Tolin and Sons in Fair Haven will be responsible for pouring new concrete foundation walls and concrete floor. Miles will then replace the sills, joists, and basement posts and lower the barn down on the new foundation.

In an effort to make the barn more usable for farm customers/visitors and the community, we also plan to bring water and power to the building during the site work associated with Phase 1 construction.

The end result of Phase 1 will be a barn that will enable us to store ample farm equipment in the basement with easy access in and out on the south and western walls. The renovated first floor, accessed from the eastern side of the barn off Basin Harbor Road, will provide a uniform and level open floor plan where we plan to seasonally offer a community gathering space and storage during winter months.

Future work on the barn will include repairing and replacing joinery that has failed above the first floor, adding new clapboards/siding to the exterior of the barn, repairing and adding authentic windows, and repairing/replacing slate and metal roofing and gutters.

Thank you for contributing as much as you are comfortable sharing. We feel we are the current stewards of the land and it would be fun to create a plaque that describes our efforts so future generations 200 years from now can reflect on life today as well as life 400 year prior when the barn was built. Hopefully they will invest further in keeping the Douglas farm and barn viable for the next 200 years.

It is an honor to steward today and we are ever grateful to Scott, Bob, Sue, Terry, and Amy Douglas for having the confidence that we would care for their land and family legacy. We are also ever grateful to Vermonters who indirectly helped us purchase Douglas Orchards with concurrent conservation funding through the Vermont Land Trust, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.
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Donations 

  • William L Dills Jr
    • $25 
    • 1 mo
  • Erika LIiljestrand
    • $75 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
  • Isabelle Nichols
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $500 
    • 2 mos
Donate

Organizer

William Suhr
Organizer
Shoreham, VT

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