Lawrence Barn exhibit honors agricultural past

HOLLIS – The Lawrence Barn Community Center now has a historical agricultural exhibit in the hayloft thanks to donations from area farmers and their heirs and approval by the Hollis Board of Selectmen.

"The display will inspire conversation and education on all age levels about our way of life centuries ago. This will be the perfect companion to the historic beams we view during every gathering at the Lawrence Barn Community Center," Mary Lou Ward said at a selectmen’s meeting while presenting the proposed exhibit.

It was unanimously approved by Selectmen Mark Le Doux, Peter Band, Varij Manoukian, Frank Caldwell and David Petry.

Apples are a large part of Hollis history, and the display has a vintage cider press (Lawrence family), apple grader (Lull family) and apple boxes (Hildreth family). Soon, the original apple ladder from the Lawrence family will be displayed in the rafters.

Also included: wooden chicken crates (Clarence L. Howe of Howe Brothers), oxen yoke (Gerry Glover family), wooden barrel (Hildreth family), milk can (Howe Brothers), sap sled (Sharon Howe family), sheep/goat/dog treadmill (Gerald Glover family), wagon base (Lawrence family) grain bin and rake (Hildreth family via Sue Birch).

Volunteers including Dave Sullivan (Heritage Commission Chairman), Gene Ward, Freddi Olson, Lynn Schur, Honi Glover and Liz Barber aided the Public Works staff headed by Tom Bayrd to move and place the items. Eleanor Whittemore of Brookdale Farms volunteered their forklift to lift items to the loft. Trevor Hardy operated the forklift.

The Lawrence Barn Community Center was completed in 2006. It was built from the original Lawrence Barn beams, some from the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s, as well as keeping the original threshing floor. The restored structure includes insulation, heat, water, electricity and plumbing while honoring the original barn design.

The Lawrence Barn is used regularly by Hollis groups such as senior citizens, Woman’s Club, Garden Club, Hollis Arts Society, Recreation Commission, Hollis Area Equestrians, soccer club, NorEasters Snowmobile Club, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Drama Club and D.A.R. It is also used for elections and private events.