Chamberlin Free Public Library hosting barn presentation

Published: 08-23-2023 8:38 AM

John C. Porter will present “The History of Agriculture as Told by Barns” Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. at Chamberlin Free Public Library, 46 Main St. in Greenville.

In the colonial period, New Hampshire was a rural, agrarian state and small subsistence farms dotted the landscape. An important part of these farmsteads was the barn, which housed animals and stored crops. Early barns used traditional building methods and followed the English barn style, with a low-pitched roof and doors under the eaves.

As time went on, the farms expanded to accommodate changes in agriculture. This presentation will follow the progression of barn styles that evolved to handle the increased productivity required to meet the needs of a growing population and respond to changes in society caused by the railroad and the Industrial Revolution.

Porter, author of “Preserving Old Barns: Preventing the Loss of a Valuable Resource,” will demonstrate how these barns represent Yankee ingenuity, hard work and skilled craftsmanship, as well as providing a link to the past that adds to the state's scenery.

Porter was raised on a dairy farm in Lebanon. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a bachelor’s degree in animal science, and then went on to get a master's degree from Cornell University in animal nutrition and farm management. In 2005, he earned a master's degree in education administration from Bob Jones University.

He served as a dairy specialist for the UNH Cooperative Extension from 1974 until his retirement in 2006. He still works part-time for UNH, specializing in structures and farmstead planning. In 2001, he co-authored the book “Preserving Old Barns,” and in 2007, he was editor and contributing author of "The History and Economics of the New Hampshire Dairy Industry." In 2011 was a contributing author of “Crosscurrents of Change,” an updated history of Concord, and in 2019, he published the new edition of “Preserving Old Barns.”

Chamberlin Free Public Library can be reached at 603-878-1105 or at

This program is made possible by a grant from New Hampshire Humanities.

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