The brick barn … has retained a great deal of its historical character. Two stories tall, its gable roof surmounted by a plain louvered cupola, the barn’s major axis is east-west, so that the entrances to the first-story bays are on the long south [eave-]side, facing the house. The bricks on this side are laid in common bond with Flemish variation, whereas the other walls and the two interior walls are straight common bond. Three large bluntly pointed arches form openings to the interior. The east opening is the largest and is the only one not closed in. Surrounding the central opening are several windows and two doors rather unevenly arranged. Lintels and sills are made of iron. On either end of the barn are diamond-shaped openings in the brickwork, one in the peak of [the] east end. and a pair flanking the boarded-up window in the west end gable.
The interior is divided into three bays, those on the ends much smaller and apparently used for storing wagons, etc. Stalls for small animals occupy the west end of the central part, with large-animal stalls at the: other end. The. second floor is open to the roof and has only one partition between the central part and the east bay. (This brick wall extends only to a height where the attic floor would have been). The second -floor is directly accessible by a large sliding door on the north side where the ground slopes upward. Forming a corridor between this door and the stairs to. the first floor are two ranges of trap doors. These open below into each animal stall. The roof, is partially supported by two large, simple trusses ... Remaining farm machinery includes a belt-driven feed grinder and a bale conveyor suspended from the ridge.
The barn shows evidence of several modifcations which have changed the interior configuration. Unused mortises suggest the attic story once had a floor instead of being left open. On the first floor, hewn, sawn, and raw-log joists are intermixed, and one piece of flooring was salvaged from a piano crate! Several windows are now blocked off, and some things such as the sliding door are later additions. These alterations do not detract from the historical value of the barn. The present arrangement is the product of changing agricultural needs throughout a long period of use (Clouette, Section 7 Description/Condition, p. 3).
The west gable-end is blank except for a six-over-six double hung window in the peak, and the two vent openings in the brickwork on either side. The rake edges have a simple corbeled brick pattern and ornamental corbeled returns at the eaves. A 1-story open-sided shed roof supported on four posts is attached at the west end at the basement grade level.
The east gable-end has two six-over-six double hung windows at the main floor level and one vent opening in the brickwork above. Grade slopes up gradually along the east side and more steeply along the north side to the door opening which is near the center. The north eave-side has from left (east) to right (west) a boarded up window opening at the main level, a small window at the upper grade level which appears to open into the basement, and a large sliding barn door.
The barn is also of architectural interest. Brick barns are very uncommon in New’England and one may speculate that the Pinneys had some Pennsylvania connection. More likely, the fire resistance of brick and the fact that a brickyard immediately adjoined the property were factors in the choice of materials.
However atypical, the building embodies the functionalism characteristic of barns. Except for the arched openings and a saw-tooth course along the cornice, there is little of a decorative nature. The change of grade to allow entrance to the second level, the ventilators built into the gable brickwork, and the doors from the second floor to the stalls below are all features which are directly related to the needs of storing grain and moving it efficiently within the barn.
Research into legal records indicates the barn was built around 1825, making it an early specimen of a fast-disappearing form (Clouette, Significance p. 4).
The form of the barn conforms to the New England bank barn typology although the materials, brick bearing walls, are unusual.
The New England barn or gable front barn was the successor to the English barn and relied on a gable entry rather than an entry under the eaves. The gable front offered many practical advantages. Roofs drained off the side, rather than flooding the dooryard. With the main drive floor running parallel to the ridge, the size of the barn could be increased to accommodate larger herds by adding additional bays to the rear gable end. Although it was seen by many as an improvement over the earlier side-entry English Barn, the New England barn did not replace its predecessor but rather coexisted with it; both types continued to be constructed.
The 19th century also 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 on 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 David Pinney House and Barn is of local significance to Windsor Locks because it is representative of a way of life important in the towns history and because of the relative paucity of historical architecture in that town. Before the canal [on the Connecticut River] was opened, bringing trade and supplying power for manufacturing, this area (then part of Windsor) was dependent upon agriculture. Indeed, farming was the livelihood of many families even after industrialization. This property was operated as a farm until this [20th] century when it was willed to the town for public use. Not much is known of David Pinney, who owned the property when these two buildings were built, other than that he was one of Windsor Locks’ many husbandmen (Clouette, Significance, p. 4).
Noden-Reed Barn - see brochure in "Photos." According to the Reed family who spoke of the barn (they were born in the 1880's/90's) and knew that era - they wrote the history of the house (Gladys Reed, who was an accountant for the Courant b. 1891/ d. 1973) - the barn was built in 1861 (Mickey Danyluk, 9/30/2013).
The David Pinney farm is in a residential section of Windsor Locks and is part of the 22-acre Noden-Reed Park, formerly pasture. The site forms a quadrangle bounded by the house on the southern side, a garage and attached greenhouse of relatively recent construction on the west, the brick barn on the north and the street on the east side. The house is a modest two-story frame building built around 1840 on the site of an earlier house (Clouette, p. 2).
The town of Windsor Locks is located on the west bank of the Connecticut River at the fall line, where rapids prevented river travel upstream until the canal and locks were constructed in 1829. Noden-Reed Park is to the west of the town center, on the west side of West Street, in an area of residential subdivisions of the mid- to late- 20th century. Further to the west is Bradley International Airport, which occupies a large part of the land area of the town.
Charlotte Hitchcock, reviewed by CT Trust
Photography and field notes by Todd Levine, 1/23/2008.
Town of Assessor’s Record
GIS Viewer http://www.crcog.org/GPV/Viewer.aspx
Parcel ID: 27/ 49/ 24/ 21.56 acres Barn 2112 sf, greenhouse 255 sf house 1840
http://www.bing.com/maps accessed 5/23/2011.
Clouette, Bruce, David Pinney House and Barn National Register Nomination No. 77001415, National Park Service, 1977.
Andrews, Gregory, David Pinney House and Barn Boundary Increase National Register Nomination No. 94000846, National Park Service, 1994.
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.