Building Name (Common)Byron Hill Farm
Building Name (Historic)Lester & Judith Hill Farm
Address77 Silver Street
This is a 1 1/2-story gable-entry gambrel-roofed barn with its ridge-line oriented north-south. It has concrete block masonry foundations on the eave sides and wood framing at the gable ends. The north gable-end once had a connecting barn attached, now gone. Most of the sheathing that covered this facade is also gone. What remains is a small covered area of vertical siding under the apex. Just below the apex is a single window space. The west eave-side has a metal silo next to the barn and a shed-roofed addition along most of the side, extending past the south gable end. Atop the gambrel roof, in the center of the barn is a metal ventilator. Both the barn and the addition have asphalt shingle roofs. The south gable-end has a centered hay door, a single window above it, and a hay hood above both. This facade is covered in vinyl siding. A series of other small outbuildings complete the complex.
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. 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.
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 for ground-level stable barns as it 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.
In 1913, a Pennsylvania brick layer, Francis Straub, invented a system of making block out of waste cinders. The product, known as cinder block, was light weight and able to hold nails. Cinder blocks are a general term and includes concrete bock, cement block and foundation block. Cinder block foundations were an inexpensive and sanitary alternative to field-stone foundations.
The first ventilators were simple wooden louvered boxes with gable roofs, mounted near the ridge of the barn. The object of the cupola (or ventilator TL) is to protect the opening of the flue from the elements, keep out birds, prevent backdrafts as far as possible, and assist in drawing the foul air from the barn. Later, metal ventilators were introduced to offer more efficient ventilation with less maintenance. By the early twentieth century, prefabricated galvanized-steel ventilators were being marketed across the country. Despite sometimes being ornamented with finials or weathervanes, they lacked the romantic feel of the wooden cupola. The factory-produced steel ventilator symbolized another step in the movement towards an industrial approach to farming.
A substantial dairy farm with a gambrel barn, a shed along the southwest side, and indications of a former addition to the north, now demolished. Possibly not in active farming at present.
1954 house/ dairy barn 37x98 1875/ 16x70 addon 1970/ pole barn 28x60 1968/ 2c gar 22x 25 1942/ shed 4x7/ milkroom 14x14.5/ bank silo 32x80 barn& shed 14x35/ shed 14x14. coop 9x12/ hen house 14x18/ shed 12x16