Everyone knows that the Big Chicken Barn Books & Antiques store on the Bucksport Road in Ellsworth is a wondrous place to shop for and browse through relics from the past, but there may be one piece of its history that you're not aware of.

Well, let us enlighten you.

Peter DeGiosafatto Sr. was born in Italy and then moved with his family when he was 8 years old to Plainfield, New Jersey.  The man who was good with his hands would eventually serve his new county in the Korean War Conflict.  When he returned he and his wife Evelyn, who once worked as a secretary for billionaire Doris Duke, started a family, and according to his daughter, Cynthia Nemeth, the family that included four kids would then move to Maine in 1974 to begin a new life, and something that Peter had never done before.

"We left everything to move to Maine", Ms. Nemeth would post to Facebook.

Mr. DeGiosafatto purchased the big chicken barn that sat beside Route 1 just a little over 8 miles from downtown Ellsworth, and he also bought the house across the street where a gravel pit now resides. The chicken barn at one time raised chicks, thousands at a time, which would then be shipped out of Ellsworth to customers all over northern New England.

Ms. Nemeth tells us that her dad was dedicated to the farm and its chickens that he raised in it, and she remembers helping him take care of them, if not for only a few years.

"We embraced a living we didn't know, then in only a few years it was ripped away from dad", she said.

"The poultry business went belly up when the big poultry company shut down.  One by one all the chicken farmers lost their farms. My dad was picked up by a Canadian company for a year, but then they said that the farm (in Ellsworth) was too far away", Ms.Nemeth posted.

"My dad was the last chicken farmer," she told us.

Peter DeGiosafatto would lose the barn and his dream of farming would end, but the man who could work with his hands would continue on. He opened Pete's Welding across the road and just up the street from the big chicken barn, which sat there within eyesight as a reminder of what once was. He welded things for everyone including big businesses like Allen's Blueberry, for years.

When Peter and Evelyn retired they would enjoy time in both Florida and at their camp on Branch Lake in Ellsworth. When Peter died on February 3, 2009, the couple had been married for 53 years. Evelyn passed in April of 2020.

Mike Lee photo
Mike Lee photo

Peter DeGiosafatto Sr. was a part of the Ellsworth V.F.W. and his grandson Mike Lee remembers how the members of the local organization teared up at Peter's service while remembering his "Pop", as Mike would call him.

The Big Chicken Barn is now undergoing renovations and both the current owners, clients, and customers alike are excited about the final outcome.

Cynthia Nemeth and Mike Lee have a dream that one of the aisles within the new and improved Big Chicken Barn will be someday be named after Peter DeGiosafatto, a man that followed a dream that wouldn't end well, but all the while gaining the respect of the local community by being a hard-working family man and veteran.

Ms. Nemeth says, "I love shopping for books there. I imagine seeing all the chickens and taking care of them. He was dedicated. He was the last chicken farmer."

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