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Old Strafford barn gets new purpose in Moultonborough

Union Leader Correspondent

March 30. 2015 7:44PM
The frame of a barn from Strafford has been moved to Moultonborough, where it will serve as the dining room for the New Woodshed restaurant. (DAN SEUFERT)

MOULTONBOROUGH — Moving a nearly 200-year-old barn is tough work, especially when you move it post-by-post, board-by-board from the Seacoast to the Lakes Region during a winter that made travel of any kind difficult in the Granite State.

But Stephen Coombs, of Coombs Restoration, and his workers got the job done, moving an old barn from its home since 1820 — some former farm land off of Route 126 in Strafford —to Lee Road in Moultonborough, the property where the New Woodshed restaurant will be located.

The barn’s frame was moved to the site, where it will be covered in “barn board” and other materials in the coming months as a second building is constructed adjacent to it. The barn will serve as the New Woodshed’s 170-200 seat dining room, and the new building will be for the business part of the establishment, said Stephen Bradley, a real estate broker from Wellesley, Mass. who is running the New Woodshed project.

Bradley works for his father-in-law, G. Arnold Haynes, who now owns the property where the old Woodshed restaurant, a Lakes Region landmark, burned to the ground just before 9 p.m. on Nov. 28, 2013. The fire occurred an hour after the last employee left. No cause was determined, in great part because the building burned so completely, investigators said.

Haynes is building the New Woodshed restaurant with the flavor of the former restaurant, which was housed in a former farmhouse building, Bradley said.

“We’re trying to bring back a little of the old restaurant, but this will be a whole new business,” Bradley said. “That’s why we found a historic barn to move to the site — it fits.”

Bradley said the new restaurant will not open in the fall of this year, as had been previously planned. “The winter just made moving the barn very difficult,” he said.

Coombs agreed, saying moving the 21 posts, 14 rafters, and the rest of the 100 or so parts of the barn’s frame was slowed.

“It was tricky there for a few days, the weather made things tougher,” he said. “But we got it done.”

The barn had not been used in many years, Coombs said, and likely would have had to have been torn down had it not been moved.

“That’s the problem these days, the barns are falling into disrepair and nobody has the money or the need to repair them,” he said. “This is a nice use of this barn.”

The New Woodshed will open in the spring of 2016, Bradley said.

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