Although this barn no longer serves an agricultural purpose, it is well maintained and a good example of a large mid-20th-century ground-level barn, designed to hold baled hay and a milking parlor. It is also noteworthy for its two silos. The wood-stave silo is a well-preserved example of the type and one of relatively few to stand in Roxbury. The angled loft doors are a noteworthy design detail. The barn stands in an open lawn on the north side of Wellers Bridge Road, to the west of the house, which is located at the northwest corner of Hemlock Road. Rolling fields and stonewalls are to the west.
Features include: 2176 square feet; large, peak-roofed barn oriented with gable ends to the north and south; each gable end designed with triangular hood at roof, paired loft doors angled into roof peak; single door at center; paired doors (paneled with cross stiles) at ground level; fenestration primarily 6-pane tilt windows; concrete foundation; peak-roof milk house wing intersects at east elevation; concrete-stave silo at northeast corner; wood-stave silo at northwest corner (mansard roof, wood board with battens); wooden feed chute at south; tractor and loft doors, north gable end; drop siding; white paint.
The building is currently used as a workshop. The barn stands to the rear of the main barn in an open lawn on the north side of Wellers Bridge Road, to the west of the house, which is located at the northwest corner of Hemlock Road. The site slopes to rolling fields and stonewalls to the west. Features include: 32 x 12; long peak-roofed structure stands with its narrow gable ends to the east and west; banked gradually to the west: primary façade faces south; low-pitched roof; concrete block at east gable end; drop siding; overhanging eaves; milled purlins; 6-over-6 double-hung sash at east gable end; asphalt shingle at west gable end; white paint.
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 term dairy barn is used as early as the 18th century (along with “cow house”). Modern dairy barns are characterized by their interior arrangements of stanchions and gutters to facilitate milking and the removal of manure. In some cases this is just a few stalls in the corner of a barn, in others it can be a large barn dedicated to that single purpose.
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.
Concrete silos were sometimes poured in place in one piece, but the more common practice was to pour large interlocking rings that were then stacked, or vertical concrete planks. As with wooden stave silos, the structures are held together with adjustable steel hoops, spaced about fifteen inches apart. Since concrete does not expand and contract with changes in moisture levels, the hoops on concrete stave silos were usually tightened only once after the structure was built. Inside, these silos are coated with a cement wash. In the mid-20th century, a system of metal panelized silos became the most advanced technology for silo construction, until silos were rendered obsolete by the current method of plastic shrink-wrapping.
When chopped cornstalks are compressed to prevent their exposure to the air, the silage ferments instead of spoiling, providing nutritious food for the dairy herd and allowing them to produce milk through the winter. Early silos were built inside the barns, but by the 1890s free-standing silos were being built outside dairy barns. Constructed much like a very large wooden barrel, with adjustable steel hoops holding the vertical grooved staves together, the round wooden stave silo was widely accepted by dairy farmers in New England from the 1890s through the 1930s. Conical roofs are most common on wooden stave silos, usually covered with composition sheet roofing and topped with a metal ventilator. Removable wooden access doors extend up one side. The hoops were loosened in fall to accommodate the swelling of the wood as it absorbed moisture from the silage, and tightened over the winter as the silage dried.
Information from a survey of Roxbury by Rachel Carley. Hallock’s Farm was a dairy farm started by John Hallock in the late 1940s. The house adjacent to the east was built around 1870 by George Hurlbut. The farm passed out of the Hurlbut family in 1905 and during the first half of the 1900s was a country retreat for a number of New York City families. John Hallock purchased the farm in 1948.
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.
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.