This is a 1 ½ - story eave-entry gambrel-roof bank barn with a shed-roof addition encompassing the entire length of its north gable-end and a cylindrical silo connected to its southwest corner. The south gable-end of the barn faces East Pond Meadow Road while the ridge line runs north-south, almost perpendicular to this portion of the road. The main façade of the barn is the east eave-façade with the main entrance at the center through a pair of exterior-hung double-height sliding wagon doors. The grade level along the main east façade gradually declines towards the south of the main entrance revealing the un-coursed un-mortared fieldstone masonry foundation and drops abruptly towards the west to form the bank along the south gable-end of the barn. The bank level of the south gable-end of the barn has an entrance towards the east through an exterior-hung sliding pass-through door. An oval signboard displaying ‘MAPLE BREEZE FARM’ is centered at the first floor level while a six-over-six double-hung sash window can be seen just below the apex of the roof. The wooden stave cylindrical silo with a two-tiered conical metal roof rises from the bank level and is connected to the main barn along its southwest corner. The low grade level wraps the barn around its west eave-side to form the bank level which has a shed-roof addition with the loose earth retained by coursed fieldstone masonry. The south side-wall of the shed-roof addition flush with the south gable-end of the main barn at the bank level has an exterior-hung sliding pass-through door towards the west and two three-pane windows towards the east. The pitch roof of the shed-rood addition acts as a ramp to access the first floor level of the west eave-side of the barn which has an entrance at the center through a pair of exterior-hung double-height sliding wagon doors. The west side-wall of the shed-roof addition on the north gable-end of the barn is flush with the west eave-side and has an entrance towards the extreme north through an exterior-hung sliding wagon door. The west side-wall of the shed-roof addition appears to have a hay door towards the south, above the wagon door entrance, taking the profile of the pitched roof.
The main gambrel-roof barn and its shed-roof additions are supported on un-coursed un-mortared fieldstone foundation. The complex has red painted vertical siding and metal roofing.
The oldest barns still found in the state are called the “English Barn,” “side-entry barn,” “eave entry,” or a 30 x 40. They are simple buildings with rectangular plan, pitched gable roof, and a door or doors located on one or both of the eave sides of the building based on the grain warehouses of the English colonists’ homeland. The name “30 by 40” originates from its size (in feet), which was large enough for 1 family and could service about 100 acres. The multi-purpose use of the English barn is reflected by the building’s construction in three distinct bays - one for each use. The middle bay was used for threshing, which is separating the seed from the stalk in wheat and oat by beating the stalks with a flail. The flanking bays would be for animals and hay storage.
The 19th century saw the introduction of a basement under the barn to allow for the easy collection and storage of a winter’s worth of manure from the animals sheltered within the building. The bank barn is characterized by the location of its main floor above grade, either through building into a hillside or by raising the building on a foundation. This innovation, aided by the introduction of windows for light and ventilation, would eventually be joined by the introduction of space to shelter more animals under the main floor of the barn.
The gambrel roof enclosed a much greater volume than a gable roof did, and its shape could be formed with trusses that did not require cross beams, which would interfere with the movement and storage of hay. Also known as the curb roof, the double slopes of the gambrel offer more volume in the hayloft without increasing the height of the side walls.
When chopped cornstalks are compressed to prevent their exposure to the air, the silage ferments instead of spoiling, providing nutritious food for the dairy herd and allowing them to produce milk through the winter. Early silos were built inside the barns, but by the 1890s free-standing silos were being built outside dairy barns. Constructed much like a very large wooden barrel, with adjustable steel hoops holding the vertical grooved staves together, the round wooden stave silo was widely accepted by dairy farmers in New England from the 1890s through the 1930s. Conical roofs are most common on wooden stave silos, usually covered with composition sheet roofing and topped with a metal ventilator. Removable wooden access doors extend up one side. The hoops were loosened in fall to accommodate the swelling of the wood as it absorbed moisture from the silage, and tightened over the winter as the silage dried.
My husband’s ancestors received a grant from the King of England to settle the original part of our farm in Westbrook, circa 1710. One of Silas A. Posts’ four sons, Joseph C. Post (1829-1908) married Eunice M. Chittenden (1831-1911). As his inheritance, he received a portion of the farm. He built our farmhouse on East Pond Meadow Road in 1850. Joseph and Eunice had three daughters and two sons. Both sons died in infancy. One of the daughters, Ellen, married Henry Wright. They had three daughters, one of them being Anna J. Wright (1886-1952). Next to the farm on the west is the Pond Meadow One Room School House. After school, Anna spent her time with her grandparents at the farm. When she was of age, she became the school teacher and stayed with her grandparents until she married. Anna met John L. Hall (1885-1972) and fell madly in love with him. They married in 1910 and added on to the farmhouse. They had two daughters and a son, John L. Hall Jr. (1923-2001). He married Jane D. Green. They had a son and a daughter. This is where I married the love of my life, their son, John L. Hall III. Now we come to present day 2011. It is an exciting time for us at Maple Breeze Farm. Although food has been grown at our farm for centuries, lately ‘locally grown’ has become important to families interested in knowing where their food comes from. Now, thanks to Tarzia Meat Packing in New Milford, CT. a USDA-inspected site, we are able to offer our pork and beef to all. We are proud members of Connecticut Farm Bureau. John has been on the board of directors for Middlesex County for a dozen years. He currently serves on the executive board of directors. We are also members of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and John is President of the American Milking Devon Cattle Association. - Bonnie Hall - http://maplebreezefarm.com/
The 16.03 acres parcel, Property ID: 124/001 and Account number – H0150000_1, is located towards the north of East Pond Meadow Road. The property is situated in a sparsely populated residential area with individual plots separated by dense woodland. Residential plots can be seen towards the north, east and the south-west of the plot while dense woodland covers the area towards the northwest and the west. Open land surrounded by dense woodland can be seen towards the south of the property, across the road. High tension voltage line cuts across the property from east to west.
The barn is located in the southwest corner of the property with its ridge line running north-south parallel to this parallel to this portion of East Pond Meadow Road. The north gable-end of the barn opens into a fenced area surrounded by cluster of trees. The main farm house and its associated outbuildings can be seen towards the east of the barn in the adjacent parcel, Property ID: 124/002. A a patch of open land is located towards the north of the barn while a water body can be seen in the southeast corner of the plot, abutting to East Pond Meadow Road. Few sheds are scattered in the southwest corner of the property while dense woodland covers the area towards the north.
T. Levine and M. Patnaik, reviewed by CT Trust
Field notes and photographs provided by: Meg Parulis, 09/10/2010
Assessors’ records retrieved on March 24th, 2011 from website http://host.appgeo.com/WestbrookCT/PropertyRecordCard.ashx.
GIS information retrieved on March 24th, 2011 from website http://host.appgeo.com/WestbrookCT/Map.aspx .
Photograph/Information retrieved on March 24th, 2011 from website http://www.google.com
Photograph/Information retrieved on March 24th, 2011 from website http://www.bing.com.
Photograph/Information retrieved on March 24th, 2011 from website http://www.zillow.com.
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.