This is a five-bay, six-bent, two-aisle tobacco shed with its ridge-line oriented north-south. Entry is by a pair of hinged doors in the west aisle of both gable-ends. Siding on all sides is vertical boards painted red. Ventilation is by side-hinged operable panels composed of siding boards with surface-mounted hinges. The foundation is a series of concrete piers at the wall posts of each bent. Roofing is wood shingles.
The interior is a post and beam frame with dropped tie-girts and an additional lower tie girt, also used to support curing tobacco. Each bent has a central interior post and queen-posts above the tie-girts supporting longitudinal purlin plates. These support common rafters at the mid-point of their span. A concrete slab floor has been installed in the re-construction, for use in future museum functions.
The tobacco barn, or shed as it is called in the Connecticut River Valley, is one of the most distinctive of the single-crop barns. They tend to be long, low windowless buildings with pitched roofs. They are characterized by vented sides and roofs to regulate air flow and allow harvested tobacco to cure at the appropriate rate. Derived initially from the design of the English barn, the shed is composed of a fixed skeleton consisting of two- or three-aisle bents repeated at intervals of 15 feet to the desired length. The wood-framed bents sit on piers of stone or concrete and the bents are connected by girts and diagonal braces. Typically there are one or two door openings at each end, making the shed a “drive-through,” although some sheds are accessed through doors on the sides. The interior structural framework serves a second purpose in addition to supporting the walls and roof of the building; it provides a framework for the rails used to hang the tobacco as it cures.
The Oak Street Tobacco Shed was built c. 1870 by Adam Neuscheler who came from Germany in 1865. Its ownership changed several times ending up belonging to Consolidated Cigar Corp. (CCC). CCC was one of Glastonbury’s largest companies appearing in town about 1920 leasing land to grow broadleaf tobacco. In 1943, CCC bought from Ralph Tryon land on Oak Street for tobacco cultivation and many tobacco sheds. On that land CCC built an office and warehouse. By the late 20th century only one of those many sheds remained. That shed is the same one built by Adam Neuscheler in 1870.
Daniel Delmastro bought the shed and in 2009 donated it to the Historical Society of Glastonbury (HSG). HSG had the shed put on the CT Register of Historic Places, took it down by the numbers and reconstructed it at 972 Main St. South Glastonbury. The Shed is a prime example of a 19th century Connecticut Valley Tobacco shed.
Formerly located on Oak Street. This barn is currently being stored in two tractor trailers in South Glastonbury. It will be reconstructed at 972 Main Street, South Glastonbury, on a property known as the Welles Shipman Ward House property. 2010 Barns Grant recipient. Listed on the State Register of Historic Places, nominated by the Historical Society of Glastonbury. Update: re-assembly occurred in 2012-13. Other barns at the site include: Eastbury Barn c. 1790 moved to the property and reconstructed 1999-2000 White Barn c. 1790 ? Red Barn c. 1870 ?
The barn is located, as of 2013, on the east side of Main Street (Route 17), on the campus of the Glastonbury Historical Society in South Glastonbury. The Connecticut River is located to the west across the street. The nearby land was formerly an agricultural area focused on tobacco farming. Residential subdivisions now occupy many of the former farms, but some tobacco fields and sheds remain. Roaring Brook runs westward a short distance to the south.
Charlotte Hitchcock, reviewed by CT Trust
Photographs and field notes provided by Jim Bennett, Glastonbury Historical Society, 5/30/2013.
Assessors’ records and GIS Map http://gis.glastonbury-ct.gov/ceo/ and http://ceo.fando.com
Photograph/Information retrieved on from website http://www.google.com
Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation Barns Grant application, 2010.
O’Gorman, James F., Connecticut Valley Vernacular: the Vanishing Landscape and Architecture of the New England Tobacco Fields, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002, 144 pages.
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.