Sean Hurley

For the first time in their history, the Shakers at Sabbathday Lake in Maine have authorized production of an authentic Alfred Shaker Chair.  While the Shakers will oversee the process, the actual chair will be made by Adam Nudd-Homeyer of Sandwich [Adam's story can be heard here].  

The village at Sabbathday Lake itself is not surprising.  An 18th century New England colony of red barns and white meeting houses clustered around a four story homestead where the last 3 living Shakers in the world reside.

Sean Hurley

Though Tappan Chairs have been made in Sandwich and only in Sandwich since 1819 the  historic brand of Shaker style chair was nearly lost to time.  

39 year old Adam Nudd-Homeyer is the only man in the world who makes Tappan Chairs.

"We still use machinery from the 1800s. So it's not only the same machine that's been making chairs, you know it's the same pattern running on the same machine doing it exactly the same way."

Abraham Tappan made his first chair in 1819, so the story goes. His son Daniel powered his lathes on the currents of the Cold River.

Ella Nilsen / NHPR

I was listening back this week to New Hampshire Daily, a half hour NH news program we aired from October, 1989 to February, 1992. I was listening to the programs from the week of 14 May, 1990. Among the news of the day (including the death of Jim Hensen, and Lithuania’s independence negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev) was a four part series we produced about the Canterbury Shaker Village.

Tibetan Monks Meet Shaker Tradition

May 18, 2012
Todd Bookman/NHPR

This weekend, the Canterbury Shaker Village opens its doors for the season.

It’s 600 acres of stillness, of restored buildings and manicured fields. But there’s one thing missing.

“Visitors come here expecting to see Shakers,” says Funi Burdick, Executive Director of the Village.