Naylor said property records show that the shop belonged to a well-known “housewright and joiner,” Luther Sampson, in the late 18th century. Genealogy research revealed that Sampson was the craftsman who founded Kents Hill School in Readville, Maine.
Born in 1760 in Duxbury, Sampson served in the Revolutionary War and bought the 60-acre Philips farm on the west side of Duxbury, home of the Berrybrook School today. His high-quality handiwork, experts say, adorns the interiors of many fine houses built in Duxbury in the late 18th century, when the town was home to prosperous sea captains and merchants.
The survey team that visited the shop with Garrison last month concluded the building was worthy of National Historic Landmark status “due to its rarity and integrity,” Garrison said in an e-mail after the visit.
He urged preservation of the shop. “We won’t get a do-over with this building,” he said.
Preservation costs money, and supporters have applied for a $35,000 grant from Duxbury’s Community Preservation Act funds to help pay for an archeological survey of the site, some foundation repair, and to “repair deteriorating hand-hewn sills and joists to stabilize [the] structure.”
“While we have lots and lots of historical houses,” Garrison said in a recent interview, “as a woodworker’s shop it’s probably the oldest in New England” and possibly the country.
“It’s the rarest of the rare. And who knew? Found on the grounds of a preschool.”
DeOrsay said the school’s board of directors would be in favor of preserving the shop. “We’ll try to find out what the best option is.”
Robert Knox can be reached at email@example.com.