Barn Raising in Wolcott - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

"Made in Vermont"

Barn Raising in Wolcott

Wolcott, Vermont - June 17, 2005

Ever think they just don't make things the way they used to?

Well think again.

"I can look at barns and houses built 100 years ago, study the methods, and be certain they'll work for the future," says Keone Maher.

Maher runs "Old School Builders."  They get their name from the "old school" methods they use.

"We're still holding onto slate and clapboard and things we don't want to lose from our art."

Don't get them wrong -- the builders do use new tools. But they try to recreate the look and feel of a Vermont barn-raising from long ago. Never letting heavy rain dampen their spirits.

"I have a friend who says there's no such thing as bad weather -- just bad clothing," says Newton Wells.

Wells bought into the idea of reclaiming a bygone era. He's actually helping build his own high-end barn. Alongside the paid contractors.

"Newton's going to feel good about the slate on his cupola because he helped do it. He got wet doing it, and muddy, and he's going to bleed," says Maher.

"I wanted to finish the project having some idea of what went into it for work," says Wells.

The barn is part two of a building project. The Old School crew designed Newton's house next door.

"Finally inside for a change today," says Wells.

We escape the rain, but not the noise.

Kids come to work with their builder dads. It's all part of the barn-raising tradition. A community turns out to celebrate the structure.

"You're raising a house and barn in the family environment. By the time you're done, you've already had a great family experience in the building," says Wells.  "These guys don't do anything conventional."

A chimney twists through the roof and trees appear to help hold up the structure.

"Those two pieces were one tree trunk eight feet tall, split down the middle, flipped upside down, so it would frame the door. Then they peeled off the bark with a dry shaver," explains Wells.

With local materials and a "Made in Vermont" spirit, this family business hopes to build on the past.

"We build it like they used to, but like they haven't done it yet," says Maher.

Jack Thurston - Channel 3 News

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