This is a 2 story side or eave-entry carriage house bank barn with a gambrel-roofed cross-gable. The main facade faces west towards Main Street, which runs approximately north-south. The main entry is a pair of swinging hinged doors located off center of the gambrel cross-gable towards the south end of the facade. Centered in the gambrel cross-gable on the second level is a pair of interior sliding haydoors, each with eight lites. To the south on the second level is a small gable-dormer with a six-pane window. In the north end of the facade are two overhead garage doors at main grade. Above on the second level is a shed-dormer with a six-over-six double hung window. The north gable-facade has a six-over-six double hung window at main grade in the center of the facade and two six-over-six double hung windows next to an inexplicable pass-through door on the second level. The east eave-facade has a pair of swinging hinged doors below grade next to three fixed six-pane windows. The main level has three six-over-six double hung windows and a haydoor identical to that on the opposite facade (a pair of interior sliding haydoors, each with eight lites). Beneath the apex of the roof of the gambrel-roofed cross-gable is yet another identical pair of haydoors. The structure has a concrete masonry foundation. The exterior sheathing is wood shingles painted red. The roof has unpainted wood shingles with a cupola in the center. The sides of the dormers also have unpainted wood shingles.
Until the 1830s, the horses used for riding and driving carriages were often kept in the main barn along with the other farm animals. By the 1850s, some New England farmers built separate horse stables and carriage houses. Early carriage houses were built just to shelter a carriage and perhaps a sleigh, but no horses. The pre-cursor to the twentieth-century garage, these outbuildings are distinguished by their large hinged doors, few windows, and proximity to the dooryard. The combined horse stable and carriage house continued to be a common farm building through the second half of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century, until automobiles became common. Elaborate carriage houses were also associated with gentlemen farms and country estates of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Another form of carriage barn, the urban livery stable, served the needs of tradespeople.
The building is important because it is a well-documented example of a barn designed by a well-known architect. Drawings for the structure exist in the archives of the Keeler Tavern Museum. While the building was not constructed exactly to the drawings, it is clear that this building is the one designed by Gilbert. Keeler Tavern National Register Nomination No. 82004345. Located in the Ridgefield Center National Register Historic District.
The building sits at the end of a long driveway that leads east from Main Street past the back of Keeler Tavern. Main Street in Ridgefield runs north-south through the center of town but this portion remains residential in character, with large houses and several churches set among lawns and mature trees. The Aldrich Museum is located to the north and beyond to the north is an area of shopping. The New York-Connecticut state line is less than 2 miles to the west, and Route US 7, a major through route, is parallel to the east.
Todd Levine, reviewed by the Connecticut Trust
Photographs and field notes by James Sexton, PhD.
Aerial views from:
http://www.bing.com/maps/ accessed 8/03/2011.
Ryan, Susan, Keeler Tavern National Register Nomination No. 82004345, National Park Service, 1982.
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.
Ransom, David F., Ridgefield Center Historic District National Register Nomination No. 84000817, National Park Service, 1984.