This is a traditional 1 ½-story barn with a gable-roof and several wagon-shed additions. Such an addition projects to both the west and east from the gable-ands of the main barn, and a shed-roof wagon-shed stretched the full-length of the façade of this barn, the south eave-side. An additional shed-roof addition occupies much of the north eave-side. This barn is situated well back on the property, but is parallel to West Avon Road, which passes this farm at an east to west alignment.
The primary façade of this barn is the south eave-side. A full-length shed-roof addition is located on this eave-side. It contains three evenly-sized stalls. The east stall is open with no door. The center stall is filled with vertical wood siding, with a wood-plank pass-through door centered within. The west stall has a vertical siding wall recessed inside it, also with a centered pass-through doorway. The east gable-end of the façade addition is blank, but the gable-end of the main barn does contain openings. A six-pane window is situated in the southern half of this gable-end, with two hatch entries near ground level in the northern half. A wood-plank hay door with hinges is centered on this gable-end beneath the girt line. Within the gable-attic is a twelve-pane window, centered.
A shed-roof addition projects to the north across much of the northern eave-side of the main barn, and extends one bay to the west. The north eave-side of this addition appears to be blank. The west gable-end contains a single double-hung window opening within the gable-attic. The south eave-side of this northwest addition includes a wood-plank pass-through door near the southwest corner, and a square wood hay door beneath the eave at the southeast corner. The west gable-end of the main barn includes two rectangular frames on the first-story, where windows have been covered over with siding. A twelve-pane window is located within the gable-attic, centered. A nine-pane horizontal window is located in the west gable-end of the façade addition.
The exterior of the main barn and façade addition is faced in vertical board-and-batten wooden siding, unpainted. The roof of both is covered in a new roof of rolled metal panels, painted hunter green. The northwest addition appears to be of concrete construction, with an asphalt shingle roof. The walls are painted white on the exterior.
A third wagon-shed style addition projects off the east gable-end of the main barn to the east. It is three bays in length with a shed-roof. It is constructed of vertical wooden siding, unpainted. This structure also has a new rolled metal roof, painted hunter green.
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.
Distinguished by the long shed or gable roof and the row of large openings along the eave side, the typical wagon shed was often built as a separate structure or as a wing connected to the farmhouse or the barn. These open-bay structures protect farm vehicles and equipment from the weather and provide shelter for doing small repairs and maintenance.
The Pine Grove Farm / Marcus Thompson Farm North is listed as a contributing resource in the Pine Grove Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. See Sources for a link to the official National Register nomination.
The Marcus Thompson Farm, set at the crest of the hill which rises
behind the school, is a modest, but well-preserved farm grouping. The
house, c. 1840, is a 2-story, clapboarded structure with a pitched roof.
Barely visible beneath a porch, bay window and 1-story extension added
late in the 19th-century, is the core of the house, a transitional
Federal/Greek Revival vernacular structure. The barn, across West
Avon Road from the house, is almost identical to the barn at Marcus’s
brother Oliver’s “Sunrise Farm”. It also has a lantern with round-head
windows; the weathervane is a carved flying eagle. Also included
are another large barn (probably the original, c. 1840) and several smaller outbuildings. The farm consists of approximately 90 acres;
hay and apples are grown there presently, though, during the 19th
century, tobacco was grown.
Marcus Thompson Farm (841 West Avon Road): C. 1840, transitional
Federal/Greek Revival vernacular farmhouse with pitched roof with partial
gable return, Doric corner capitals, a wide frieze with narrow windows
visible on south wall, late 19th-century porch, bay window, 1-story extensions.
House is 2 stories with clapboarding. C. 1870, vertically
boarded barn with a lantern with round-head windows and a carved, flying
eagle weathervane. Also, 2 1-J story barns, and a garage/shed (Zimmerman, Section 7).
Building name: Smith Farm Building name historic: Pine Grove Farm Address: 841 West Avon Road Typology: English with pitched roof with shed attached to the front Historic significance: Pine Grove Historic District National Register of Historic Places - 1980 The farmhouse was built by Marcus Thompson, c.1840. There are two barns across the street at 860 West Avon Road that originally belonged to Smith Farm. One is a tobacco barn, built c.1840 - 1860, and the other is a Victorian barn, built c.1860 to 1870. These were sold sometime in the last 20 years to another family, along with some of the apple orchard. Use historic: agriculture Use present: agriculture Visible from road: yes Interior accessible: one side has a room open to the public with apples, vegetables, and berries for sale Related features: garage to the left that may have been a barn at one time; several outbuildings behind the barn Environmental features: apple orchard, woodland behind that Threats: none known Materials: vertical wood siding, green metal-seamed roof Date of construction: unknown but the farmhouse was built c.1840 Ownership: private County: Hartford Location Integrity: original location
This main barn with additions is set well back from West Avon Road, which it parallels, but may be difficult to see. This farm at one time also owned the historic barn complex across the road to the south, but this has since become a separate property. The grade slopes down slightly to the immediate north of the barn complex at this address. Additional small sheds are present to the immediate east and southwest of the central complex of agricultural buildings on this site. The surrounding land in the immediate vicinity is comprised of fields of active agriculture to the west, north, east and southeast. The land to the southwest, along West Avon Road, quickly becomes a residential neighborhood with several side-streets also lined by dwellings. Woodlands are intermixed with these residences and the agricultural fields.
N. Nietering & T. Levine, reviewed by CT Trust
Photographs by Liz Neff.
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, 213 pages.
Map of Avon, CT, retrieved on June 5, 2011 from website www.bing.com/maps.
Avon Assessor’s Records - Avon Assessor’s Office Real Estate Property Information online - http://www.avonassessor.com/
Zimmerman, Sarah, (Avon) “Pine Grove National Register District,” Nomination Form No. 80004066, 1980. National Park Service. Available from the Web: http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/80004066.pdf