Hazen-Davis Barn off Lancaster Road, Shirley, Mass.
I originally titled this "Circle B Barn" since when I drew it there was a sign to that effect at the end of the driveway. I am older and wiser now (November 8, 2004) and know that it is really the Hazen-Davis Barn.
It was kind of interesting having a working farm nearby. I read in the police reports about animals getting loose from here occasionally. The tenant (Circle B's owner) had a tangle with the Board of Health about sanitary conditions and sort of aggravated things by riding his horse into a public hearing.
We on the Conservation Commission talked to him as well since the brook in the foreground and the pond (not visible) fall in our jurisdiction. I don't know how we'd have felt about him bringing his horse to a meeting. Maybe we could have handled a pig. One of our former members brought in her dog occasionally which was almost as big as a horse.
In the March 18, 1998, issue of the Public Spirit, I read that he was being taken to court by the Board of Health. Maybe the horse should have been arrested as well. Animals aren't always as innocent as they look.
Someone from the farm (probably Tom Brownell who often worked there) came over on a horse to check out my drawing. A dog on a walk with its mistress took an interest in me as well. It took me awhile to thaw out my feet after I returned home. I realized the ground can be pretty cold even when the air is a reasonable temperature.
From my near-sighted point of view it looked as if someone had painted a sort of green-hilled landscape across the side of the barn, but now I think is was just some plastic fencing. It's high time someone did some outdoor murals in Shirley. No graffiti please.
I've heard the barn was originally used as a warehouse for goods being shipped to (and from?) Boston by train. It shares its site with an old apple orchard. You can find photos of the barn and its environs and more on its history at the Shirley Historical Society. Since I did this picture the Circle B group has moved out.
For several years a large housing development was planned for the site. The Conservation Commission spent over a year reviewing the plan for the housing development. The plan was filed by Apple Orchard Estates, LLC (owned by Robert Berman who presumably was/is part of the organization in Bala Cynwyd that Mott mentions in the SHS narrative). The review started with a public hearing on January 24, 2001, and ended when the Commission voted to deny permission (due to lack of information) on April 10, 2002. The plan was much complicated by the need to remove pesticide residues from much of the site. This was discovered in the middle of our deliberations. After further discussion and expensive legal wrangling, the plan was finally permitted under the jurisdiction of the State, and the tract has been in construction for some years.
Though no houses were ever to go on the barn's site, its fate was for all the years since Circle B's departure uncertain. Finally, in January, 2008, it was dismantled and moved to Martha's Vineyard as a new aquisition of the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society. It is somewhat of a disappointment to see the barn leave town, though I am thankful it wasn't demolished. Perhaps the vistas opened up by its departure will be a boon to the residents in that area and passersby.January 2, 1998