Old Sturbridge Village, Piggery
June 4 @ 9:30 am - 5:00 pm EDT
An event every day that begins at 9:30 am, repeating until June 4, 2023
Join us to celebrate the newest old building at the Village: the Allen Piggery. Farmers built piggeries, or hog houses, as dedicated and efficient spaces in which to raise swine. The reconstructed Allen Piggery will officially open at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 3rd. Throughout the weekend, guests can see the pigs in their new home and explore a variety of pig-related topics throughout the Village, from livestock care and feeding to animals in stories and art to early 19th-century pork recipes and smoking techniques. Kids can enjoy a pig craft in the Bixby House too! Be sure to also stop by the Miner Grant Store and Ox & Yoke Mercantile for a variety of pig-related products like stuffies, books, and hats.
The Piggery will officially open at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 3, 2023.
Raising Pigs in Early 19th-Century New England
Keeping pigs was an important activity on most early 19th-century New England farms and pork was by far the most common meat in the Yankee diet. Pigs are relatively easy to care for and could be cheaply fed with farm and household waste, especially “dairy wash,” the whey, skim milk, and buttermilk left over from making butter and cheese.
In the 1830s, John Partridge Allen added a two-bay timber-framed piggery to his farm in the town of Sturbridge. At the time, this structure was the “state of the art” in porcine accommodation, incorporating features recommended in agricultural periodicals like Thomas G. Fessenden’s popular weekly, The New England Farmer, along with English advice books like Robert Henderson’s Treatise of the Breeding of Swine. A stone-lined well for fresh water was located just outside a door while a brick hearth was located inside to support a large cast-iron set kettle for cooking slop. The upper level held a granary with wooden bins for storing dry feed while an enclosed shelter for pigs was located below.
Few buildings like Allen’s piggery survive today. In 2014, Gary and Beckie Galonek donated the Allen Piggery to the Village in memory of longtime Sturbridge teacher Alice Kelly. Gary is a local businessman and member of the Village’s Council of Ambassadors. Village staff have worked on restoring and re-erecting the Piggery over the past few years.