Celebrating 50 Years
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We are very excited to celebrate 50 years with you!
John began looking for work doing handyman odd jobs in carpentry and household improvement by advertising in the Yarmouth Shopping Notes. He likes to say he nearly starved during the winter of 1971-72.
John’s first barn project was an attempted repair of a dilapidated barn in Yarmouth, which the owner eventually decided to have JAL take down. In doing so, John realized for the first time how this agricultural museum had been constructed a couple centuries prior, with the timbers joined by mortise and tenons; solely joinery.
In 1974, Richard Leeman created the HBJL logo we continue to use today; except at that time it was only Barns by John Libby. The logo was eventually upgraded to add ‘Houses’ at the expert suggestion of marketing genius, Mike deLesseps in 1986/87. We were now Houses & Barns by John Libby.
The first three: JAL’s first timber frame barn was constructed in North Pownal in 1975. It was a small frame attached to the client’s home. JAL’s second timber frame barn was constructed in Boothbay Harbor in 1976 for Charles & Clarice Yentsch. JAL’s third timber frame barn was constructed in 1977 for the Simpsons of Freeport.
As our business grew, so did the size of our original shop at 19 Post Road in Freeport. In 1982, we added an office where the business happenings could take place. A few years later in 1985, we added another wing. It consisted of a 16’x24’ space, which greatly expanded our shop floor.
We finally made the leap to timber frame houses in 1982/83 (Jim Barker). Although it wasn’t our first, the Brooks House (pictured) gives a good indication of how these early timber frame homes were constructed. This one was built in 1984 in West Simsbury, Connecticut.
The Portland Public Market was another commercial project that garnered a lot of press. At the time, it was the largest post and beam structure in northern New England and its progress was often profiled on local news stations. We even received a visit from then-Governor Angus King, who helped us fly one of the 3000 lb. timber members into place.
Two current HBJL projects that are on the cusp of completion and continue our tradition of excellence in building are: a gorgeous, not-so-traditional red barn in Naples, Maine. And a beautiful seaside house with barn-like qualities in New Harbor, Maine.