Big Chicken Barn | Ellsworth, Maine - Atlas Obscura

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Big Chicken Barn

It's a repurposed treasure trove of history, located just an hour away from Acadia National Park. 


In the small town of Ellsworth, Maine, stands a structure that’s as fascinating as it is improbable: a barn that’s home to neither poultry nor livestock, but an astonishing assortment of antiques and books. The Big Chicken Barn, stretching over 21,000 square feet, is a testament to the unusual, the nostalgic, and the whimsical.

The barn’s name is not a misnomer, but a nod to its history. Erected in the 1950s, the massive structure initially served as a chicken house for over 20,000 hens. Today, however, its wooden floors echo with the soft rustle of flipping pages and the murmur of intrigued visitors.

The barn’s upper level teems with antiques, from vintage furniture and rustic kitchenware to historical memorabilia and quirky collectibles. Each piece tells a story, transporting the onlooker to a bygone era.

Downstairs, the barn has been transformed into a massive used bookstore, home to over 150,000 titles. It’s a veritable paradise for the lover of a good tale, and an unsuspecting find. The book collection spans all genres, including rare editions and out-of-print titles that would enthrall any book hunter.

Walking through the Big Chicken Barn feels like stepping into a different world—one where time slows, objects whisper tales of the past, and the joy of discovery is around every corner. Every visit promises something new, thanks to the ever-changing inventory sourced from auctions, estate sales, and individual sellers.

Not only is the Big Chicken Barn a treasure trove for antiques and books, but it’s also a testament to the magic that can occur when space is repurposed and transformed. Once a bustling hub of the poultry industry, the barn now serves as a sanctuary for lovers of history, literature, and the eclectic.

Whether you’re a dedicated collector, a casual browser, or a traveler looking for an offbeat experience, the Big Chicken Barn offers an adventure in exploration. And like the best adventures, you never know what you’ll find.

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July 18, 2023

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