The oldest section of this L-shaped bank barn is the east part, which was moved from Ranney Hill by Lewis and Alden Hurlbut and enlarged. The new section to the north rests on a beautiful stone foundation, which was rebuilt but probably dates from an earlier building. The re-located portion of the barn to the east was built onto a new concrete block foundation, but portions of a stone foundation can be seen on the lower west wall. This barn is notable for its massive hewn timbers and probably dates from the 19th century. It once held upwards of 800 chickens.The barn stands on a hill on the south side of Church Street, to the west of the farm stand and to the east of the house. The barn complex lines the drive running up the hill and past this barn, which is the nothernmost outbuilding in the group. Features include:1080 square feet; peak-roofed barn consists of two banked sections attached to form L-plan; north section, oriented with gables to the east and west; rests on fieldstone foundation (dry laid) that adjusts to eastward sloping grade; primarily concrete block construction with open bays, under flared roof eaves, facing to the south; east section is oriented with gables to the north and south and banked down the hill on a concrete block foundation. Interior of east section incorporates deep fieldstone foundation on west side of lower level; post-and-beam (massive hewn beams, log joists).
This barn was built by Alden and Lewis Hurlbut, probably with materials (the hewn beams) recycled from an earlier barn, and with additional wood milled in the Hurlbut sawmill. The concrete-block construction and ground-level, gambrel-roofed design indicate a mid-1900s date. The Hurlbut brothers kept sheep and cows here until 1980, and kept pigs after that. The barn is the next to last (south) in a grouping of buildings lining a driveway running up the hill from Church Street. It is on the east side of the drive, with fields to the east. Features include: 50 x 24; gambrel-roofed barn stands with gable ends to the east and west; flared eaves; wall construction of concrete block; gables framed and sheathed with barn board; hinged doors (cross braces) centered in east gable end with rolling loft door above; post and (hewn) beams; wood box stalls; metal stanchions to east; hay loft; wood trusses (stock millwork); vertical tongue-and-groove barn board.
This barn was built by Alden and Lewis Hurlbut, and currently used for a ram and duck pen. The shed is located in a grouping of buildings lining a driveway running south up the hill from Church Street. It is on the east side of the drive, to the north of the gambrel-roofed barn on this property, with fields to the east. Features include: 20 x 12; peak-roofed shed stands with gable ends oriented to the north and south; primary façade faces west; single door opening to right of window opening covered with wire mesh; single glass light in gable; two stalls inside; wood frame; vertical tongue-and-groove barn board.
This barn was built by Alden and Lewis Hurlbut, and evidently cobbled together using old window sash, the top of a barn and a new concrete base. It long served as the Hurlbuts’ “picking house,” used for plucking chickens, turkeys and geese. The shed is located in a grouping of buildings lining a driveway running south up the hill from Church Street. It is on the east side of the drive, to the north of the equipment shed, with fields to the east. Features include: 14 x 18; peak-roofed shed stands with gable ends oriented to the north and south; walls of concrete block; wood-frame gables with clapboard sheathing; single door located in south gable; pair of ten-pane sash set above.
This barn was built by Alden and Lewis Hurlbut, and appears to have been assembled from recycled timbers, probably from old Hurlbut outbuildings on the property. The shed is located in a grouping of buildings lining a driveway running south up the hill from Church Street. It is on the west side of the drive with fields to the west. Features include: 46 x 15; peak-roofed shed stands with gable ends oriented to the north and south; four open bays supported by braced posts; hewn timbers; vertical tongue-and-groove barn board; bead board.
This barn was built, probably in the mid-1900s, by the brothers Lewis and Alden Hurlbut as part of a complex of outbuildings on the property owned by Lewis. The barn is located to the south of the c. 1825 house at this address; approached by a driveway running south up the hill. This is the southernmost building in a complex scattered along the drive with fields to the east and south. A pond is located to the east. Features include: 42 x 18; peak-roofed barn with simple rectangular profile, oriented with gable ends to the east and west; main elevation faces south; two uneven garage openings set to the east; scattered loft and window openings (glazing missing); single hinged door in west gable end; wood frame.
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 New England barn or gable front barn is the successor to the English barn and relies on a gable entry rather than an entry under the eaves. The gable front offers many practical advantages. Roofs drain 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 as both types continued to be constructed. 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.
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.
A shed is typically a simple, single-story structure in a back garden or on an allotment that is used for storage, hobbies, or as a workshop. Sheds vary considerably in the complexity of their construction and their size, from small open-sided tin-roofed structures to large wood-framed sheds with shingled roofs, windows, and electrical outlets. Sheds used on farms or in industry can be large structures.
Information from a survey of Roxbury by Rachel Carley. The house was built c.1825 by Garry Hurlbut (b.1802) and eventually passed through Norman Hurlbut to his sons Lewis and Alden Hurlbut, who had dairy and poultry farms on both sides of Church Street. The farm is now owned by Lewis’ daughter Cathleen Hurlbut Bronson, who acquired it with her husband, Howard Bronson, from her father in 1981. The land has been in the Hurlbut family, it is believed, since the 17th century. Located in the Roxbury Center National Register and Local Historic District.
Barn I: 1080 square feet, Barn II: 50 x 24, Barn III: 20 x 12, Barn IV: 14 x 18, Barn V: 46 x 15, Barn VI: 42 x 18.
Rachel D. Carley - CH
Carley, Rachel D., Barn Stories from Roxbury Connecticut, Roxbury Historic District Commission/Town of Roxbury/CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, 2010.
Cunningham, Jan, Roxbury, A Historic and Architectural Survey, Roxbury Historic District Commission, 1996-97.
Plummer, Dale S., Roxbury Center National Register Historic District Nomination No. 83001271, National Park Service, 1983.
Sexton, James, PhD; Survey Narrative of the Connecticut Barn, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Hamden, CT, 2005, http://www.connecticutbarns.org/history.
The Roxbury Historic District Commission, Roxbury Past & Present: A Survey of the Evolution of Roxbury Center’s Historic District and Walking Tour, 2007.
Visser, Thomas D.,Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings, University Press of New England, 1997, 213 pages.