Maine couple protects a piece of history on their property

Paul and Helen Goransson are restoring an 1860s barn on their property in Eliot. (WGME)

ELIOT (WGME) -- A Maine couple is protecting a piece of history on their property.

Driving down Depot Road in Eliot comes with a new view these days -- a barn essentially on stilts.

It's a view, once featured on a postcard, that Paul and Helen Goransson are committed to keeping intact.

"We've preserved a big sort of iconic view of Eliot,” Paul said.

The Goranssons, who run Bondgarden Farm, purchased the abutting property when the previous owner passed away.

"The primary reason to acquire the property was to protect the land,” Paul said.

In addition to dozens of acres of land, they got a 1740s house and the 1860s barn.

“Which was in just terrible, terrible shape. Really most people who looked at that barn would have said it needs to be demolished,” Paul said.

To them, demolition wasn't an option.

“We've been losing historical barns right and left in this area, this whole area being so prone to development, when people see an old barn they just basically demolish it to put something better there,” Helen said.

So, work is underway to repair and restore it.

“The undercarriage was totally rotten, and in order to support the super structure, what we've decided to do is to eliminate the basement and basically we're going to turn the structure down to this level with no basement,” Paul said.

They called in a special company which raised the barn feet off the ground.

“They just know how to put these steel beams underneath the structural elements of the barn. Once those steel beams are there, they have an array of hydraulic jacks and it just takes very little time to just lift the building up in the air,” Paul said.

But the Goranssons say it's worth it to save a piece of history and an iconic view in their town.

"We just really cherish the effort that some group of carpenters put in this in the late 1800s and it just rubs me the wrong way to tear apart the work that someone did so long ago that's still standing,” Paul said.

The Goranssons plan to use the barn to board horses.

They say the contractor work will continue until October, and then they’ll finish up the stalls.

They hope to have horses in there and start operating by next spring.

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