Cartwrites: Community raises a barn for a (big!) cider press

Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 in Features

Cartwrites: Community raises a barn for a (big!) cider press

by Steve Cartwright

Pharmacist Ted Wooster remembers hearing the old one-lunger engine being so noisy that the whole village knew it was apple-pressing time in Waldoboro.

Wooster was harking back to the 1960s, when local folk would bring their barrels of apples to the Winchenbach fox farm, where the old press stood. But later that decade, the practice was abandoned, and the press stood idle, well preserved with layers of grease, until just recently.

Wooster, son of the local druggist and a town selectman, was a key player in arranging for the Winchenbach heirs to donate the commercial cider press to the Waldoborough Historical Society. But rather than have a static exhibit somewhere, Wooster and the society thought the press should be a working piece of history, once again serving the community.

This century-old cider press is impressive. So big that supporters designed a 16-by-20 foot post-and-beam barn to house all the machinery. Then, on November 25th, scores of people gathered for a barn-raising that included expert carpenters and people who just held spiked poles and pushed upward.

Press inside barn frame

The event included a potluck, an outdoor fire and hot cider, and by any measure it was a grand success. As the wall frames were pushed and pegged into place, and then rafters fitted together, the crowed cheered, and a young pine was nailed to the roof peak.

Chris Davis at work

Barn restorer Jim Derby of Waldoboro volunteered many hours of his expertise in timber frame construction, and another local builder, Evan Emmott. researched the "No. 2 Screw Press with drag platform" and found information on it through the Stanford University library. Total cost back then, including clothes for straining, eight racks, elevator, grater and supporting frame and chute, came to $300.

The entire rig was manufactured by Boomer and Boschert Press Co. of Syracuse, NY, sometime after 1894, Emmott learned.

Storer Lumber, a multi-generational business on the site of a Waldoboro shipyard, donated all of the specially milled lumber for the timber frame structure.

Raising the walls

The site of the barn-raising is a 1700s homestead, a couple of blocks from downtown Waldoboro, that includes a dilapidated original house and rolling, undeveloped fields...and one gigantic cider press.

The rafters

Entrepreneur Jeff Hurd, who founded The Narrows Tavern in Waldoboro, and local contractor Josh Howell, recently purchased Cider Hill Farm. Both men are concerned about restoring old buildings, reviving business in town, and boosting community spirit.

They hope to turn the antique cape into a farm-to-table restaurant, and to use the mowed field, with views of the Medomak River, as a place for public and private gatherings.

Barn raised

Wooster is looking for anyone who'd like to donate an old gasoline engine to power the venerable cider press. Cider making is anticipated by next fall.

blog comments powered by Disqus