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What makes a shed a shed?

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • A tour of sheds on various Hancock properties, as well as a talk on the history of local sheds, is planned for Saturday, July 23. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • A tour of sheds on various Hancock properties, as well as a talk on the history of local sheds, is planned for Saturday, July 23. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • A tour of sheds on various Hancock properties, as well as a talk on the history of local sheds, is planned for Saturday, July 23. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • A tour of sheds on various Hancock properties, as well as a talk on the history of local sheds, is planned for Saturday, July 23. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • A tour of sheds on various Hancock properties, as well as a talk on the history of local sheds, is planned for Saturday, July 23. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • A tour of sheds on various Hancock properties, as well as a talk on the history of local sheds, is planned for Saturday, July 23. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • A tour of sheds on various Hancock properties, as well as a talk on the history of local sheds, is planned for Saturday, July 23. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • A tour of sheds on various Hancock properties, as well as a talk on the history of local sheds, is planned for Saturday, July 23. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • A tour of sheds on various Hancock properties, as well as a talk on the history of local sheds, is planned for Saturday, July 23. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 6:53PM

If you ask Howard Mansfield, there’s really only one kind of building: a shed.

“From woodsheds to barns, to houses, meetinghouses, and covered bridges, they are all sheds,” Mansfield writes in the introduction to his latest book, aptly titled “Sheds.” Mansfield’s home, Hancock, houses all those different iterations of the shed, and more, and on Saturday, folks will have a chance to tour the highlights.

The Tour de Sheds 2016, a fundraiser for the Hancock Town Library, kicks off Saturday at 11 with a talk by Mansfield at the library, where he’ll discuss “Sheds.”

“It’s a fun, interesting way to spend a Saturday in summer in New England,” said librarian Amy Markus, “and it benefits a good cause.”

After Mansfield’s talk, tourists will be given a map to seven Hancock sheds, each of which will be staffed by a tour guide of sorts who will explain their rich history.

One of those destinations is the Elliots’ famed off-the-grid property on Depot Street. That plot features at least five sheds, though, Bill and Eileen admit, the real draw there is probably their vast gardens and unique home.

Their finest shed, perhaps, is the one at the top corner of their fertile gardening grounds, used to house tools. It was a long road from conception to reality, but as Bill tells it, that was somewhat by design.

“This was on the to-do list for about 35 years,” Bill said. “We hemmed and hawed about it, had discussions about how big, where, what was going to be in it. As long as it was sort of unsettled, then I didn’t have to do it, so it went on for a long time.”

The sturdy structure will be around for a long time, too – “long after we’re gone,” Eileen said – which is one of the defining characteristics of a shed, per Mansfield.

“There’s this quality,” Mansfield said, “that they are just ordinary and they are simple, and that’s why they go on for centuries and centuries. They kind of stand back and let life flow through them.”

Tickets are $25 and include the talk, the tour, and a copy of the book, which is priced at $25. They are available at the Hancock Town Library, the Hancock Inn, and the Hancock Market.