Barn Record Roxbury

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Building Name (Common)
Pratt's Farm
Building Name (Historic)
Charles R. Hurd Homestead
Address
329 Painter Hill Road, Roxbury
Typology
Overview

Designations

n/a

Historic Significance

Architectural description:

Barn I:

This barn is significant as part of the Charles Hurd homestead. The illustration (see page 3) in the 1881 History of Litchfield County, Connecticut with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches; Prominent Men and Pioneers shows a barn in this location that is almost certainly the same building. A notable feature is the hood in the roadside gable peak, used to protect the tackle for hoisting bales of hay into the loft—an improvement
that was probably added in the early to mid-1900s. This barn is one of three barns associated with 329 Painter Hill Road at the intersection of Cross Brook Road.

The barn stands on the west side of Cross Brook Road, just to the north of a smaller barn. A third barn is across the road. The site is overgrown to the south and west. The house stands on the north side of Painter Hill Road. Features include: 32 x 20; peak-roofed barn stands with its gable ends to the northeast and southwest; primary elevation to east; two garage doors to south of center; fieldstone foundation; large corner stone at south gable; angled hood at north gable peak; loft door below; rolling doors at ground level; pair of 6-over-6 double-hung sash at south gable; ; concrete floor; vertical tongue-and-groove barn board, red paint with white trim.

Barn II:

This 19th-century barn is significant as part of the Charles Hurd farm, and notable for its stone foundation, which includes some exceptionally large and beautiful slabs of granite. This barn may be the small peak-roofed building shown to the right of the house featured with its other outbuildings in the illustration published in the 1881 History of Litchfield County, Connecticut with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches; Prominent Men and Pioneers (see page 3). The narrow barn is located on a small ledge about 25 yards to the east of the c. 1855 house, on the northeast side of Painter Hill Road at the intersection of Cross Brook Road. Features include: 8 x 20; peak-roofed barn stands with its gable ends to the east and west; fieldstone foundation banked to adjust to westward-sloping site; entry located in east gable end; roller door on horseshoe mounts; granite slab threshold; post-and-beam frame (hewn and sawn members); red paint (worn).

Barn III:

This rear ell of the Charles R. Hurd farmhouse is significant as an example of a backhouse, a type of small attached rear barn that here may have originated as a woodshed. The barn doors suggest livestock may have been housed here at one time, possibly sheep or pigs. This back house may have originated as a
separate building, attached at some point to the farmhouse by means of the clapboard-covered section closest to the house. The backhouse is attached to the rear (northeast) of the house on this property, which stands on the northeast side of Painter Hill Road at the intersection of Cross Brook Road. Features include: 30 x 14; peak-roofed structure, attached to house, extends with gable end to the northeast; pronounced cornice returns; roller doors on exterior mounts on gable end and southeast elevation; vertical tongue-and-groove barn board; white paint.

Barn IV:

Traces of whitewash on the interior of this barn indicate that cows were milked here. The history of the barn is something of a mystery. The hand-hewn post-and-beam framing would seem to indicate an early date, but the structure does not resemble the barn shown in an illustration of the Charles Hurd homestead in the 1881 publication, History of Litchfield County, Connecticut with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches; Prominent Men and Pioneers (see page 3). That drawing shows a smaller barn with a second barn set perpendicular to it. It may be that this barn incorporates parts of those buildings. There is a fieldstone silo foundation at the west gable end. One of three barns on this site, this barn stands on the east side of Cross Brook Road at the northeast corner of Painter Hill. Its two mates are opposite on the west side of Cross Brook Road with a grassy site overgrown to the south and east. The house stands on the north side of Painter Hill Road. Features include: 40 x 26; peak-roofed barn stands with its gable ends to the northeast and southwest; fieldstone foundation; primary west elevation fronts on Cross Brook Road; symmetrical arrangement of twelve 4-pane tilt window sash; two small loft doors; canted window lintels; slab granite threshold at southwest corner door; hewn frame (propped with lally columns); vertical tongue-and-groove barn board.

Barn V:

The small stalls and whitewashed interior of the timber-framed building suggest that it may have been used as a calf barn. A barn appears in this location in an illustration of the homestead published in the 1881 History of Litchfield County, Connecticut with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches; Prominent Men and Pioneers (see page 3). This structure appears to be that building, but with the roofline and façade altered. The pressed tin roof shingles probably date from the first decades of the 20th century. One of three barns on this site, this barn stands on the west side of Cross Brook Road, just to the south of a larger barn. A third barn is across the road. The site is overgrown to the south and west with the house on the north side of Painter Hill Road. Features include: 32 x 14; peak-roofed barn stands with its gable ends to the northeast and southwest; rolling doors on primary east elevation (mostly rotted away); embossed tin roof shingles; hewn post-and-beam frame; interior whitewashed; four board stalls at north end; vertical
tongue-and-groove barn board.


Historical significance:

The New England barn or gable-front barn was 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 sides, 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 built.

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 New England barn or gable front barn was 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. 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. In this case the two styles are combined; both a gable entry and an eave entry are used.

Connected barns tied all of the functions of a farmstead - home, hearth, workplace and barn - into a series of linked buildings. This is the “big house, little house, back house, barn” of nursery rhymes.

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.

Field Notes

Information from survey of Roxbury by Rachel Carley. Charles R. Hurd (b. 1832) was the son of Jehiel Hurd, who lived at 314 Painter Hill. In 1855 Jehiel deeded his son 22 acres, and Charles built the fine Greek Revival house that still fronts the road at the intersection of Painter Hill and Cross Brook Roads. By the time Charles died around 1917 he owned 200 acres of farmland on both sides of the road. The farm was featured in an illustration published in the 1881 History of Litchfield County, Connecticut with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches; Prominent Men and Pioneers (see page 3).

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

n/a

Typology & Materials

Building Typology

Materials


Structural System

Roof materials


Roof type


Approximate Dimensions

Barn I: 32 x 20, Barn II: 8 x 20, Barn III: 30 x 14, Barn IV: 40 x 26, Barn V: 32 x 14.

Source

Date Compiled

02/06/2008

Compiled By

Melissa Antonelli - Rachel D. Carley

Sources

Additional field notes and photographs by Rachel D. Carley - 8/4/2011.

Additional photographs by Charlotte Hitchcock - 10/24/2011.

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.

PhotosClick on image to view full file