History of the
a young Rehoboth minister, George H. Tilton, decided that something should
be done to preserve the remnants of the townís colonial past. Thus
inspired, he founded the
Antiquarian Society in March of that
year. The Society was established for several purposes: to preserve
artifacts relating to Rehoboth's history, to maintain a meeting hall, and
to run a consolidated school. The first Goff Memorial Hall,
a large, wooden Victorian-style building, was dedicated in March
1886. The antiquarian room was housed on the first floor. In July 1911,
the building was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.
Fortunately all of the artifacts were saved. A new Goff Memorial Hall was
quickly planned and built (this time of brick), and was dedicated in May
During America's bicentennial year, as community interest in local history
was at a peak, a decision was reached to build a separate structure to
house the collection of the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society. Backed by the
donation of land and money from Elsie and E. Winsor Carpenter, a fund
drive was launched to raise funds to build a new museum on Locust Avenue.
Despite the doubts of many as to the feasibility of this project, the
Carpenter Museum was constructed entirely by donated funds at an eventual
cost of $73,000. Hundreds of volunteer hours were devoted to this large
after a local 1760 gambrel-roofed house, the Museum contains exhibit
rooms, artifact storage area, and social room with kitchen facilities.
Also on the grounds is a reproduction of a 1746 post-and-beam barn. It was
constructed in 1993 with a community barn raising, one of the events that
celebrated Rehoboth's 350th anniversary.
was built in May of 1993 as one of the celebratory
events commemorating the 350th anniversary of the founding of Rehoboth.
Eighty men and woman came together and built the basic structure in a
traditional barn raising over one weekend.
Although the barn was
constructed in one weekend, this event came after months of preparation and
hard work. In the fall of 1992, red and white oaks and white pines from the
land of E. Otis Dyer were cut and hauled to the A+R Sawmill on Hornbine Road
where they were sawn into timbers. The timbers were in turn taken to the
grounds of Goff Memorial Hall. During the winter and early spring, two
master craftsmen, Hans Schaeffer and his brother, Peter, cut all of the
joinery work into the timbers with the help of several volunteers. The
finished timbers were then hauled to the museum site for the barn raising.
The Barn is based on one
built in Rehoboth in 1746 on the property of Sylvanus Martin. (That area of
Rehoboth became the town of Seekonk in 1812.) The Martin property later
became the Horton dairy farm, and the barn was used until 1938, when it was
blown down by the Great Hurricane. Actual plans of the barn, however, had
been drawn up as part of a public works project during the Franklin
The Barn is built in actual
size and scale, and in the style known as an English Barn, Yankee Barn, or
Connecticut Barn. The Barn is three bays long. A bay is the distance between
the timber frame bents, roughly 16 feet. Spanning the barnís width, each
bent is made with three posts and four beams, joined with mortise and tenon
joints, held together by wooden pegs.
In the original barn, the
right hand bay housed dairy cattle, oxen, or draft horses, while the left
bay stored hay. The huge loft area was also used to store hay. The middle
bay was used for threshing grain with both sets of doors open. This created
a wind tunnel effect which speeded winnowing. The large doors also allowed
hay loaded wagons access to the loft.
based on an 18th century model, the barn at the Carpenter Museum was
designed and built to be used as a display area for items in the museumís
collection. The building is heated and fully insulated, and has a
modern basement. Current displays include a collection of
antique firearms, woodworking tools, farm implements, American Indian
artifacts, and the recently acquired diorama of the Mason Barney Shipyard.
Dedication of the E. Otis Dyer Barn ~ October 18, 2003
On the 10th anniversary of the building of the barn it was dedicated as
the E. Otis Dyer Barn
in recognition of his outstanding service to the Rehoboth Antiquarian
and to the vision and effort that made this building a reality.