A group of three 1 ½-story gable-roofed structures are connected to form a U-shaped barnyard opening toward the east. The center barn (IIb) has its ridgeline oriented roughly north-south, parallel to the road. Projecting perpendicular toward the east from the left (south) end of the eave-side is a 1 1/2-story gable-roofed structure (IIa) with an eave-line and roof peak slightly lower than the central structure, forming an L-shape at the south and west sides of the barnyard. Both of these are bank barns, with their outer eave-sides at grade and their inner barnyard sides opening to the barnyard at the basement level. Fieldstone foundations are visible on the south and west outer sides below the wall siding.
On the west eave-side of Barn IIb, there appears to be a barn door in the center of three bays. At the southwest outside corner, the barn is notched in plan, and the outline of a silo foundation is visible. The silo is not extant. The south gable-end of Barn IIb is flush with the south eave-side of Barn IIa. There is a double hay door accessing the attic loft, and a projecting hay hood above the hay door. The hay door appears to open by sliding downward. Along the south elevation of both structures are a series of three window openings just above grade level, giving light to the lower level, and glazed with glass block in a three high by five wide pattern. There are two shuttered openings high under the eave on this side, staggered in relation to the glass block windows.
The south gable-end of Barn IIa has a fieldstone foundation wall above the sloping grade and two window openings with sills at the foundation top. At the apex of the attic there is a square 4-pane window set on the diagonal under the peak. The east eave-side wall has a small shed addition flush with the south wall, which has a lower fieldstone foundation and a window opening in the south end wall. Further to the right along this east wall is a concrete block masonry chimney abutting the exterior wall and there appears to be additional window openings in the main level.
The east eave-side of Barn IIb has an open basement level, with the main level supported on some concrete block masonry piers and some wood posts. Cattle appear to move freely from the basement to the barnyard. At the main level, there is a pair of hinged barn doors in the center bay, opening into the air one level above the barnyard. A 6-pane fixed sash window is above the door.
The north gable-end of Barn IIb has a diamond window opening high up at the apex of the attic, and lower the shed roof of an addition to Barn IIc ties into the wall.
Barn IIc forms the north side of the yard, with its ridgeline oriented east-west perpendicular to Barn IIb and to the road. This is a 3-bay long 1 ½-story gable-roofed structure with its south wall open at grade level to the barnyard. Three open doorways have chamfered corners, apparently covering diagonally braced framing. The east gable-end has a sliding door at the grade level and a hay door opening in the attic level. The north eave-side wall is blank except for a pass-through door near the west end and some gaps in the siding. A concrete foundation is visible several feet above grade, poured on top of an older fieldstone foundation wall. The building is separated from Barn IIb by a distance of roughly eight feet, and a one-story shed addition projecting west from the west gable-end extends the full width of the gable end and also spans the gap to abut the north gable-end of Barn IIb, closing the northwest corner of the yard. The shed addition has its west side opening at the lower grade level, and a high fieldstone retaining wall divides the upper grade from the lower, flush with the north face of Barn IIb.
All the roofs have overhangs at the eaves and rakes and all are roofed with wood shingles. Siding is vertical boards; in some areas the siding is of the v-grooved tongue and groove type common to tobacco sheds while some walls are flush boards. Siding is stained a light gray with white board trim at openings.
Barn IIb appears to be of the English bank barn style, with alterations to the openings. Barn IIc resembles a wagon shed or sheep shed, with its open doorways.
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.
A fire in 2010 destroyed two of the three structures in this complex. See Part I for barn complex on southeast side of Sterling City Road. Note mailing address given as Old Lyme.
This group of three barns is associated with a large farming complex, the remainder of which is located across the street on the southeast side of Sterling City Road. There are two associated houses on the south side – a 1 ½-story cape-style house directly across the road and a 2-story colonial to the southwest. The ridge-line of the houses parallel Sterling City Road. The larger barn complex is described in entry Part 1.
These barns form a sheltered east-facing barnyard which is accessed from Sterling City Road. The barns are surrounded by open land which appears to be used as pasture and hayfields.
To the west the site is bordered by Hamburg Road, to the northeast and southeast is dense woodland and wetlands bordering Falls Brook which runs northwest into Hamburg Cove and the Connecticut River.
The total size of the site is 200 acres, consisting of at least four parcels of varying sizes north and south of the road.
Charlotte Hitchcock, reviewed by CT Trust
Field notes and photographs by Jane Montanaro.
Fire photographs courtesy of the Lyme Fire Department and Limeline.com: Barn Fire Tuesday at Tiffany Farm in Lyme By: Published 09/22/10 Updated 02/24/10
Town of Lyme Assessor’s Record
http://maps.google.com accessed on 10/04/2010
http://www.bing.com/maps accessed on 10/04/2010
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.
Online news article in the New London Day, 9/23/2010: http://www.theday.com/article/20100923/NWS01/309239253