bIG HOUSE, LITTLE HOUSE, BACK HOUSE, BARN
Maine farms developed onward from the middle 1700's after the initial clearing of the land by early settlers and the building of simple dwellings. The farmsteads evolved over time as barns and other structures, including farmhouses, were built. Throughout the 1800's, a unique layout of connected farm buildings developed, based on functional needs including shelter from the winter weather. They were referred to as :
Following the initial earth-houses and log cabins, simple farm houses built in the traditional Cape Cod style provided greater comfort for the family as the farm developed. The initial house faced the road and was small, with a one room deep plan. The size increased over time to a width of two bays and a height of two stories. The house, called the Big House, provided the farm family with formal living quarters and bedrooms which were seldom used in the daytime.
The building connected to the Big House was the Little House. This included a kitchen area, a general workroom, and a connection to the wood-house. It provided the general living space for the farm family during the day.
Connected to the Little House was the Back House which included a wagon bay, a multi-purpose work area, storage for the house and barn, and the farm privy.
The Barn terminated the connected building complex. It was the functional focus of farm activities with primary uses as stables for the animals, storage of their hay and other food, and a central threshing bay. The style was of the English Barn type with heavy timber construction.
The architectural details of all the buildings in the complex was the Greek or Gothic Revival style, with the house having the most elaborate enrichment.
Three courtyards adjoined the connected farmstead: the formal Front Yard between the road and the farmhouse; the convenient Work Yard adjacent to the doors between the house and the barn for a variety of farm activities; the Barn Yard
at the end of the barn for cattle and other chores.
Reference for more detailed information:
BIG HOUSE, LITTLE HOUSE, BACK HOUSE, BARN: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England by Thomas C. Hubbka
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