I stopped by the old Daniel Day house about a month ago to check out the work being done on the south side of the house. There was the elder Daniel Day’s namesake and great-great-great grandson, Danny Day, and his crew giving the old homestead a face lift. This amazing home on Bristol Road was built in 1798 by Daniel Day when he was only 22 or 23 years old. One of our earliest settlers, it’s believed he was a lieutenant in the war of 1812 and also a deacon at what is now the Damariscotta Baptist Church.
Danny showed me some of the 200-plus-year-old boarding boards that sheathed the post and beam structure. Some of these boards were over 20-inches wide. He says that the widest one he has found so far is 29-inches wide.
As with most historical homes, trying to get a straight line is impossible. Floors heave and sag, walls tilt and ceilings undulate as the old timbers age in a constantly changing environment. At one point the foundation stone is several inches off from the sill! Mother Nature at work trying to reclaim her domain from alteration, I suppose.
But, this gem of a house is a focal point in our town so I was delighted to see the new siding going up. Showing off those wonderful 12-over-12 windows and the little vestibule side door. As the owner of an old house myself, I know how much work this type of property demands. I try to do one side a year… forever! If you let up, Mother Nature is waiting right there to sprinkle a few carpenter ants on it or plant some gross wood eating fungus on the roof.
Great work Danny Day, it’s so worth it!
Many of us locals have fond memories of when Jake Day lived there. This time of year he would display his magical Christmas windows all around the house. I lived across the street diagonally from his house so I was very familiar with all the scenes. Many times I crossed the road in the evening with my neighborhood friends to marvel at the windows. We would stand on the wooden boxes below each window to peer inside at the winter wonderlands.
I had a couple of favorites, but I think the one that stands out in my mind as being so special was a holy night barn scene. Inside the barn were the beautifully carved animals in their stalls and pens and through the hayloft window the Christmas star shines brightly into the barn. All the animals are gazing up at the star. It just brings such a sense of peace and calm that I’ll never forget it.
As we finish up our Thanksgiving leftovers and I begin to work on my naughty-and-nice list, I’m going to try to hang on to that feeling for as long as I can. Hopefully, it will keep me grounded until the New Year and who knows, maybe longer!
A special thanks to Clark Farm for being g a sponsor for our very successful “Down Memory Lane” presentation. Run over there right now and get your Christmas tree along with some delectable holiday treats!
The Damariscotta Historical Society will be busy with lots of projects this winter. And if you’d like to add a pair of hand knit hand warmers to your Christmas list let us know. We have a mini fundraiser going on and for $30 you can have the warmest hands in town! Stay tuned for upcoming events and happenings. We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire right now but that’s how we like it. Always something cooking!
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