The main barn consists of a central core and a number of additions. The core structure is a 30’ x 52’ English bank barn dating from c. 1869. Its ridge-line is oriented north-south parallel to the road, and the barn is located close to the edge of the modern roadway (when constructed, it was a narrower dirt road). The barn was extended southward another 30’ c. 1900 for a horse barn addition which continues the same roofline. The east side was later expanded for a wider basement dairy stable, a connector was built to join the tobacco barn to the main structure, and a small bull barn addition was added to the east end of the tobacco barn. Siding throughout is vertical flush boards painted red with white trim. Windows are trimmed with beveled lintel and casings. Roofing is asphalt shingles.
The core structure, a three-bay English bank barn, has its main entry doors in the center bay of the west eave-side facing the road. The main doors are a pair of tall single sliding doors hung on an exterior track with a shallow hood, both sliding to the left (north). A shorter sliding door is in the right (south) bay, with the modern farm stand located inside this bay. To the right (south) is the horse barn extension, which has a row of four-pane stable windows in the ground level. Above at the loft level there are four-pane windows, and a hay door.
At the south gable-end of the horse barn where the natural grade slopes down toward the east, grading has formed a level entry terrace with a fieldstone retaining wall along its eastern edge. In the gable-end is a centered doorway with a pair of hinged doors flanked by four-pane stable windows. In the attic there is a horizontal window with three four-pane sash, and a louvered vent above at the peak.
The east side of the barn has a fully exposed basement level. Along the left (south) wall of the horse barn a fieldstone foundation wall is exposed at the basement level; at the main level is a row of four four-pane stable windows, and in the loft level are two four-pane windows. Along the length of the core block a 2-story shed-roofed addition (built before 1920) extends the width of the barn east by about ten feet. The exterior is wood siding with a concrete foundation wall exposed below. The basement level has a row of four-pane stable windows. The main level has a large double sliding hay door, corresponding to the center bay of the core block, flanked by rows of stable windows on both sides.
An infill addition built c. 1945 connects the main barn with the Tobacco barn (see below). This addition has a gable roof oriented north-south, lower than the main roof. The east eave-side wall is flush with the east side of the main barn, while the west eave-side wall is set back about ten feet from the face of the main barn’s west side. On the east, the rows of stable windows continue across this addition at both the basement and main levels. On the west there are two stable windows spaced close to the corners.
At the southeast corner of the Main barn, a concrete slab represents the location of a Milk room from the 1920s. The south wall of the Main barn addition likely had openings connecting to the Milk room.
The interior of the Main barn is a square rule post and beam structure. The typical bent has two interior posts rising full-height to a pair of purlin plates at the mid-span of the common rafters. Cross-ties in the side aisles are dropped below the plates and braced with angle braces. An upper cross tie-girt at the center aisle is low enough to accommodate a hay track mounted below the ridge. The center and north bays are open full height to the roof, and the barn is open to the northern connector addition and to the eastern extension. The south bay and the horse barn section have a loft floor above the ground level. In the basement level there were originally a root cellar in the northwest corner and a bull pen in the southwest corner.
Historical or Architectural importance:
The Sullivan Farm is significant due to the remarkable integrity of its Main barn and other outbuildings, the preservation of its large acreage as a working farm under public ownership, and the continuity of ownership by one family for 150 years. The Main barn represents an English bank barn of the second half of the 19th century as it was expanded to accommodate historical changes of use, from subsistence farming to additional sources of income including tobacco as a cash crop and teamstering, requiring a horse barn. Members of the Sullivan family have been important in town history, with James S. Sullivan serving as First Selectman in the early 20th century.
Listed on the State Register of Historic Places 3/05/2014. The Sullivan Farm is operated by the Friends of Sullivan Farm. A fully operational farm including: market vegetable gardens including seasonal onsite farm market, fruit and berry production, hay production, and Maple syrup production. The farm hosts many educational programs and is a model agri-tourism farm hosting events designed to expose all ages to New England Agriculture and Farm life. http://sullivanfarmnm.org/
To the north of the center of New Milford, several small rivers flow southward in valleys between north-south ridges. Great Brook runs through one of these. Today’s US Route 202, locally Park Lane Road, roughly parallels the brook. It heads north out of the densely populated center of town, passes through the village of Park Lane, and reaches the site of the Sullivan Farm, then continues northeast toward Litchfield.
A number of other historic resources in New Milford are recognized by listing on the National Register of Historic Places, including the New Milford Center Historic District, the Town Hall, Housatonic Railroad Station, and several tobacco warehouses. The town center area is located two miles to the south of this site. Approximately three miles to the north, the Hine-Buckingham Farms on Upland and Crossman Roads is on the National Register. New Milford farmsteads and barns included in the current thematic nomination of Agricultural Heritage resources are the Larson Barn at 388 Danbury Road, the Smyrski Barns on Merryall Road, and the Morehouse-Reynolds Farmstead at 4 Old Mill Road.
The Sullivan Farm once occupied 43 acres west of the road and 104 acres on the east side. Sullivan Farm property east of Park Lane Road slopes down from the roadside to a low point along Great Brook. The Main barn (Barn I) sits close to the road and consists of several structures joined together and added onto over the years. The Tobacco barn (Barn II) is perpendicular and attached to Barn I at its north wall and extends eastward. To the north of Barn II is a small 30’ x 40’ gable-roofed barn known as the Pa Taylor barn (Barn III), a 1 ½-story unpainted three-bay gable-roofed structure with its ridge-line oriented east-west. The two eastern bays are open at the ground level and serve as a wagon shed. East of the north end of the main barn is a c. 1960 gable-roofed shed, 35’ x 45’, known as the Calf shed, constructed in the 1960s with a metal roof. Also east of the main barn and south of the Calf shed is a Maple sugar house, a late 19th-century post and beam structure which was dismantled at the Larson Farm (see nomination for 388 Danbury Road) during the construction of the new high school. The frame was repaired and re-assembled here as a sugar house. Much of the surrounding area has been developed with subdivisions of single-family homes of the late 20th century. The Sullivan Farm contrasts with the local pattern of recent development by preserving a large tract of agricultural open space.
Charlotte Hitchcock, reviewed by CT Trust
Photographs and field notes by Charlotte Hitchcock 11/29/2012.
Correspondence with Sharon Sullivan Racis (Sullivan Family), Katy Francis (Friends of Sullivan Farm), 12/2012.
Telephone interview with Mark Mankin (New Milford Youth Agency), 12/17/2012 .
Town of New Milford Assessor’s Records and GIS Viewer: http://hosting.tighebond.com/newmilfordct/main.htm
Parcel ID: Map 50/Lot 49.
Aerial views from:
http://maps.google.com/ and http://www.bing.com/maps/ accessed 12/04/2012.
Historical aerial photography and maps accessed at UConn MAGIC:
Beers, F.W., Atlas of Litchfield County, F.W. Beers & Co., 1874.
USGS Historical Maps accessed 6/22/2012 at http://historical.mytopo.com/ .
UTM coordinates: http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html .
Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Barns of Connecticut Resource Inventory, 2010,
Devlin, William E., E.A. Wildman Co. Tobacco Warehouse National Register Nomination No. 88000731, National Park Service, 1988.
Gilchrist, Alison, Carl F. Schoverling Tobacco Warehouse National Register Nomination No. 82004446, National Park Service, 1982.
Hutson, Nanci G., “Sullivan Farm Begins a New Chapter,” Greater New Milford Spectrum, April 4, 2012.
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.
Racis, Sharon Sullivan, “150 Years of the Sullivan Farm, 1847 to 1997,” privately published, 2012, 23 pages (available at the Sullivan Farm and at the New Milford public library).
Sexton, James, PhD; Survey Narrative of the Connecticut Barn, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Hamden, CT, 2005, http://www.connecticutbarns.org/history.
U.S. Federal Census, accessed at
Visser, Thomas D., Field Guide to New England Barns & Farm Buildings, University Press of New England, 1997.