Barn Record Windsor

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Building Name (Common)
Thrall Preserve
Building Name (Historic)
Shelansky Tobacco shed and Thrall potato barn
Address
490 Old Day Hill Road, Windsor
Typology
Overview

Designations

Historic Significance

Architectural description:

The gambrel barn has two distinct levels.  The lowest level was built mostly underground taking advantage of the insulating effect of the earth.  The lower level included a small storage loft to the rear of the structure.  Two lines of floor joists are supported on closely spaced columns.  The floor was insulated between the first and second level.  The west wood-framed gambrel gable-end wall was insulated.  The upper level had vehicle drive in access from the east gambrel gable-end.  The roof for the most part is self-supporting.  Two large columns sit in the center of the space.  There is a built-in ladder which provides access to the upper attic.  This is a rare two-story potato barn.

Historical significance:

Potato houses or storage barns come in many different shapes and sizes all linked by the common goal of keeping harvested potatoes at a constant temperature and in the dark.  The most traditional of these are characterized by a semi-subterranean arrangement.

The barn was built during WWII for potato storage, probably soon after the Thrall Family acquired the land from Anna Shelansky in 1943.  Growing a food crop allowed the Thralls, a large tobacco farmer in the Connecticut River Valley, to obtain rationed fertilizers.  The barn was originally used for storing potatoes on the bottom level, and storing equipment and farming materials on the top level.

Field Notes

Listed on the State Register of Historic Places, 4/03/2014. Thrall Preserve – Donated Dec 2007 by Winstanley Enterprises LLC. 12 acres at Windsor Industrial Park. 2012 Barns Grant pre-application and grant. The barn was built during WWII for potato storage, probably soon after the Thrall Family acquired the land from Anna Shelansky in 1943. Growing a food crop allowed the Thralls, a large tobacco farmer in the Connecticut River Valley, to obtain rationed fertilizers. The barn was originally used for storing potatoes on the bottom level, and storing equipment and farming materials on the top level. Mr. Wassel, a neighbor, was a foreman for Thrall and remembers in the 1950s the barn being used for tractor, charcoal, tent cloth, sewing machine, and general farming equipment storage. At this point in time, potato storage had ceased. Between 1950 and 1976, the barn and property were used for the Thrall dairy business, Fleetridge Dairy. The property was used for the 1961 Warner Brothers film "Parrish." Concluding scenes in the film included the barn, tobacco shed, and farm pond, demonstrating how the preserved looked when managing a working farm raising breeding stock. The barn's structure makes it particularly well-suited for re-use as a CSA farm barn. The lower exterior wall is insulated, as is the floor between the two levels. The upper level of the barn has drive-in access on the east side. The barn has two distinct levels. The lowest level was built mostly underground taking advantage of the insulating effect of the earth. The lower level included a small storage loft to the rear of the structure. Two lines of floor joists are supported on closely spaced columns. The floor was insulated between the first and second level. The west wood gambrel end wall was insulated. The upper level had vehicle drive in access from the east gambrel. The roof for the most part is self-supporting. Two large columns sit in the center of the space. There is a built in ladder which provides access to the upper attic. This is a rare two-story potato barn. Shelansky Shed - One of the oldest tobacco barns in Windsor as it has a coal storage shed on the east side. It has a smaller footprint then most sheds, 38'x 130'. The tobacco shed was built c. 1920 and the potato barn was built c. 1943.

Use & Accessibility

Use (Historic)

Use (Present)


Exterior Visible from Public Road?

Yes

Demolished

No

Location Integrity

Unknown

Environment

Related features

Environment features

Relationship to surroundings

The site is located west of the Poquonock Avenue exit from I-91. The area was prime farmland for tobacco culture but much of the agricutural land has been developed with residential subdivisions and office parks (the latter due to the proximity of Bradley Airport). Tobacco sheds and fields can still be seen interspersed with modern develpement.

Typology & Materials

Building Typology

Materials


Structural System

Roof materials


Roof type


Approximate Dimensions

40' x 60' - potato barn, 38' x 130' - tobacco shed.

Source

Date Compiled

11/28/2011

Compiled By

Paula Jones & Vikki Reski - KY

Sources

Aerial Mapping: Windsor Maps
http://www.bing.com/maps - accessed 11/28/2011.
http://maps.google.com/ 

Town of Windsor GIS Mapping:
http://info.townofwindsorct.com/gis/default.htm .

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.

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