Building Name (Common)Falcon's Flight Barn- Cheney Barn
Building Name (Historic)Falcon's Flight Barn- Cheney Barn
Address188 Beach Street
This barn was built as part of Falcon’s Flight Farm c. 1906, the date the farm was started by the brothers Dr. Joseph A. and Francis Blake, who in 1905-1906 compiled several old farms on Beach Street to amass an estate of several hundred acres. The name is a reference to the Blake ancestors, who reportedly hunted with falcons in England. The Blakes raised Guernseys and sold milk and cream door to door. In 1914 the Blakes sold the property in twelve pieces to Dr. B. Austin Cheney (1888-1945), a prominent New Haven surgeon, who retained the name. The deeds indicate that the barns existed at the time of the sale, which included four parcels with houses and outbuildings. These were the old Bishop Farm at no. 155 Beach Street, the William H. Plumb house at no. 209 Beach Street, and the Levi Coe Farm at No. 231 Beach Street and the Ames Place, all on the west side of Beach Street, formerly known as Weataug Road. Cheney announced his attention to maintain the herd and make it entirely thoroughbred Guernseys, while using the Bishop Farm as a country residence about half the year. This barn was situated on the east side of the road, which divided the 125-acre Bishop property. As of 1929, the farm consisted of 704 acres and 25 buildings, in addition to the four houses. Upon the death of B. Austin Cheney in 1945, the farm property passed to his sons Alton Austin Cheney and Dr. Charles B. Cheney. A 112-acre parcel containing this barn was sold to Antonio Damiani in 1946.
See “Historical and Architectural Resources Survey of Litchfield, CT: Bantam/Milton Area,” 1987 IF #4 for description. Consturction is plaster over tile block, including northwest silo, which is original to the structure.
By the early 20th century agricultural engineers developed a new approach to dairy barn design: the ground-level stable barn, to reduce the spread of tuberculosis bacteria by improving ventilation, lighting, and reducing the airborne dust of manure. A concrete slab typically serves as the floor for the cow stables. Many farmers converted manure basements in older barns into ground-level stables with concrete floors. Some older barns were jacked up and set on new first stories to allow sufficient headroom. With the stables occupying the entire first story, the space above serves as a hayloft. By the 1920s most ground-level stable barns were being constructed with lightweight balloon frames using two-by-fours or two-by-sixes for most of the timbers. Novelty or tongue-and-groove beveled siding is common on the walls, although asbestos cement shingles also were a popular sheathing. Some barns have concrete for the first-story walls, either poured in place or built up out of blocks. The gambrel roof design was universally accepted as it enclosed a much greater volume than a gable roof did, and its shape could be formed with trusses.
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.
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.
Materials: stucco, hollow tile block, seamed metal
Colonial Revival style.