In 1870 the railroad came to Madison and with it a whole new area of town was developed. The Madison Railroad Station was located at the head of Silver Lake and around it several inns were constructed to provide accommodations for summer visitors. Inn advertisements promised beautiful walks, ascents of Mt. Chocorua, extended carriage trips to the summit of Mt. Washington as well as visits to Madison Boulder and the Cascades. One such inn was the house and livery stable originally built in 1897 by current owner Henry Forrest’s grandfather and known as Wayside Farm.
The large barn was constructed over a full basement of cut granite foundation walls. Cellars were constructed under barns of this period to provide cover for animal manure. Uncovered manure left outside leached out and was not as valuable for use as fertilizer. This barn’s southern foundation wall provided access to the cellar to retrieve the manure in the spring for spreading on crop fields. A trap door on the first floor facilitated easy disposal of the manure into the cellar when the stalls were “mucked out.”
The first floor of this barn was originally designed to provide stabling for horses and storage of carriages and wagons. Later the barn was enlarged to house cows. Instead of a drive-through design with single bays on either side, the front of this barn provided an area for harnessing horses and working on wagons. Behind this work site was a tack storage area and large grain bin. Horse stalls were constructed along the back wall of the first floor. Each stall had its own hay shoot which allowed hay from the loft above to be raked down to the animals. The hay loft could hold 300 tons of hay. Hay was lifted into the loft by use of a mechanical hay fork which ran along a track attached to the ridge pole. The fork was dropped down from the hatch above the front door and lifted loose hay from a wagon into the second floor loft. Mr. Forrest intends to demonstrate the working of the mechanical fork during the tour.