The mill is described in the HRI cited. The following describes the barn:
The barn is a 26’ x 70’ rectangular structure with two pairs of hinged doors on the north gable end wall (similar to a tobacco shed), and one pair on the west wall near the southwest corner. A brick chimney projects above the roof north of the doors and located near the west wall. The walls are sided with plywood which covers the original materials; the doors consist of narrower tongue and groove vertical boards with metal strap hinges; some are 18” or more long iron strap hinges, likely 19th c., while others appear to be more recent triangular replacements.
The roof is a pitched gable with slight overhangs at the eaves and none at the gable ends. Recent asphalt shingle roofing is in fair condition; some deformation of the structure is visible as viewed from the east. On the east side, a 6-8” exposure of fieldstone foundation wall is visible below the siding; on the remaining elevations grade meets the siding and no foundations are visible.
Mill Brook, the source of water power to the mill in the 19th c., has been channeled into a tunnel below grade. The brook runs underground below the barn, emerging to the east through an arched tunnel.
Modified New England barn with a side entry: The New England barn or gable front barn was the successor to the English barn and relies on a gable entry rather than an entry under the eaves. The gable front offers many practical advantages. Roofs drain off the side, rather than flooding the dooryard. Although it was seen by many as an improvement over the earlier side entry English Barn, the New England barn did not replace its predecessor but rather coexisted with it. In this case the two styles are combined; both a gable entry and an eave entry are used. The inclusion of a brick chimney suggests that this barn may have functioned as a workshop, accessory to the adjacent mill, during part of its history.
The barn is associated with Boynton's Mill, which is located adjacent to the east. Both are on the bank of Mill Brook, the outlet of Lake Wamgunbaug, source of water power for South Coventry's mills in the early 19th c. Boynton's was the first of the mills, built in 1815 to power carding machines for processing wool. Modifications to the brook were made including fieldstone embankment walls for a wheel pit and a stone arched tunnel which channels the stream flow under the barn; the outlet is visible on the downstream side of the barn. Later uses of the mill included fabrication of windmills for agricultural use to pump water, percussion cartridges, twine, grist milling, blacksmithing, and apple cider and vinegar. The barn is noted in the HRI by Barbara Lewis as a contributing resource; no details as to its use. Located in S. Coventry Historic District, contributing resource. Public informational display located on Lake Street.
The barn is associated with Boynton’s Mill, which is located adjacent to the east. Both are on the bank of Mill Brook, the outlet of Lake Wamgunbaug, source of water power for South Coventry’s mills in the early 19th c. Boynton’s was the first of the mills, built in 1815 to power carding machines for processing wool.
Charlotte Hitchcock, reviewed by CT Trust
Photographs by Charlotte R. Hitchcock & Julie Rosen 11/09/2009
Town of Coventry Assessor’s Record Map/Lot 000L/0065/00011.
Andrews, Gregory, and Lewis, Barbara, Historic and Architectural Resources Survey of Coventry: the Coventry Village Area, 1980.
Sexton, James, PhD, Survey Narrative of the Connecticut Barn, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Hamden, CT, 2005, http://www.connecticutbarns.org/history.
Visser, Thomas D., Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings, University Press of New England, 1997.