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To the best of my knowledge this is the last barn standing in Quincy, Massachusetts. As far as barns go it's a small one but with lots of character and a great history.
The barn is currently owned by Roger McCormick who is the grandson of the original builder. The barn was built in 1904 by Francis McCormick.
As Roger told me, the grandfather had four children, two daughters and two sons. The daughters had been married off and were no longer living at home. The grandfather had started construction on a two family home for the two sons that were still living at home. The daughters caught wind of this and began to complain because they weren't going to get anything. At some point during the construction of the new double entrance house the grandfather became sick of the bickering and said, "Fine, no one gets a house! I'm turning it in to a barn!"
The barn was originally used as a hay barn. There sat a larger barn that was up the street a couple of houses that used to be the home of 60 Jersey & Gernsey Cows for milking. (The larger barn sat at what is now 40 Gilmore Street). At one time the "Francis McCormick" Dairy had over 600 customers in Quincy and warm milk was delivered in bottles daily by horse and buggy. The cows were herded over to what is now Pagent Field for grazing every morning by Francis and his two collie dogs, Prince and Beauty. Occasionally the cows would be taken across the tracks of the New Haven Railroad to graze in the back yard of the Adams Mansion, the home of the former presidents of the United States.
(The tracks sit just outside the back entrance to the hay barn. They were built and used by the Old Colony Railroad, then the New Haven, and now Boston's Commuter trains and Red-line subway.)
In 1932 the McCormick's milk routes had been sold to a larger dairy. They had to sell most of their cows and the larger barn was taken down. They did keep 2 cows and moved them from the "big" barn to the "hay" barn - the barn this kit is of. Then in 1933 the last two cows were finally sold.
During the time of the dairy farming Francis McCormick became friends with Brooks Adams, the grandson of the second President of the United States. Brooks had hired Francis to help with maintenance and grounds keeping around the Adams Mansion. Three generations of McCormicks worked to help maintain the Adams Mansion - Francis R., his son Francis R. Jr. and his son Roger. The hay barn was no longer used for hay or cows it was used to store maintenance and grounds keeping equipment.
The McCormicks no longer keep the grounds at the Adams Mansion. It is now done by the National Park Service. But every once in a while Roger, who is now in his late 80's, comes over to take care of the barn and pulls out some of the old tools and still keeps the place looking nice and neat.
Update: (sad news from the Patriot Ledger, a local Quincy newspaper)
Roger J. McCormick
QUINCY Roger J. McCormick, a lifelong resident of Quincy, November 19, 2008. Brother of the late Helena McCormick. Cousin of Edward Fitzgerald of Quincy. Roger worked as an accountant at the Fore River Shipyard/Bethlehem Steel/General Dynamics in Quincy for 33 years before retiring in 1965. He lived in the President Adams Home in Quincy until 1927 when the federal goverment took over
I'll miss Roger and the talks we used to have.
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