The Great Barn that was once located on the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Homestead is now the Hadley Farm Museum — which commuters pass every day on Route 9. In this digital extra, Marla Miller, distinguished professor of history at UMass Amherst, shares the story of how this structure made its way to Hadley’s town center.
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Marla Miller, Distinguished Prof. of History: The farm grew during the period that Charles Phelps was at the helm, and he built a very large barn, they call it The Great Barn in 1782. And it served the farm for a long time and stood here through the 19th century. And in time when one of the descendants named James Lincoln Huntington started to have the idea of restoring the house and making a museum here – he was approached by two other museum makers in Hadley.
And so in Hockenheim, which is the village at the south end of town, there were a couple of brothers, Henry Johnson, who is well known in Springfield as the bookseller. Many people, I think, remember the Johnson bookstore. And he and his brother Clifton, who was a well known author and illustrator and photographer. And so the story that I’ve always heard is that they came here to ask Dr. Huntington if he would let them replicate his barn to house their museum.
And that Dr. Huntington said, you know, if you would like the barn itself, you know, you would be welcome to it. And so the project began, and this great barn was moved from this site down to Hadley Center, where it still stands today and is still the home of what’s called now the Hadley Farm Museum.