Resources for Barn Owners

The following is a collection of resources related to the Connecticut barn. If you have information or a resource you wish to add to this growing collection, please contact us.


Designating a property as architecturally and historically significant can encourage preservation, promote awareness, and protect a sense of place and character of our communities.

There are a number of different programs in which to list a property as historically and architecturally significant. Some offer limited restrictions and protections and others offer more. Generally outbuildings including barns are not designated as an "individual" building but part of a larger designation. There may some barns which merit individual designation but for the most part there are included in a larger site such as a National Register District or part of a property with primary building and other outbuildings. Some examples in Connecticut include the Randolph Chandler Barn which is found in the Thompson Hill National Register district and Hilltop Barn which is located in the Hilltop Farm National Register listing which includes a portion of the original farm land and other outbuildings.

A general overview of designations are provided below. To learn more about designating a property please visit the Connecticut Trust's website at

National Historic Landmark

National Historic Landmark is the highest level of designation available. Properties given this foremost form of recognition are deemed significant to all Americans because of their exceptional values or qualities, which help illustrate or interpret the heritage of the United States. The National Historic Landmark program identifies, designates, recognizes and protects buildings, structures, sites and objects of national significance.

National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of historic buildings and sites worthy of preservation. Listing on the Register indicates that a property is significant because of its architecture or its association with important persons, events or cultural events. Listing does not restrict what a property owner may do with the property unless the owner is using federal assistance.

State Register of Historic Places

The State Register of Historic Places is the official listing of those sites important to the historical development of Connecticut. Listing on the State Register does not restrict the rights of the private property owner and offers limited protection.

State Historic Resource Inventory

The State Historic Resource Inventory identifies and evaluates historic, architectural, archaeological, cultural and industrial resources. The surveys which serve as the basis for most other designations is also a useful tool for municipal officials, local planners, preservationist, property owners and researchers in helping them make sound preservation and development decisions. There are no restrictions associated with the Historic Resources Inventory.

Local Historic Districts/Properties

Local Historic Districts/Properties offer the most protection for significant architectural buildings in the State of Connecticut. The State General Statutes allow municipalities to establish historic districts and historic properties for which exterior architectural changes are reviewed by a local preservation commission. This allows towns, which have Local Historic Districts/Properties to ensure that alterations, additions, or demolitions are in keeping and consistent with the special character of the designated area.


The Historic American Building Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) identify and document important architectural, engineering and industrial sites throughout the United States including Connecticut. Organized and managed by the Federal Government, each building or property recorded features a complete set of measured drawings, large-format photographs and a written history.


The Historic American Landscapes Survey, like HABS/HAER, is a record of significant American landscapes documented by the Federal Government. This archive of landscapes was created to help us better understand our rich ethnic and cultural heritage.


One of the best ways the owner of an historic property can ensure that the property will be protected in the future is through the gift of a preservation easement. A preservation easement is a legal agreement that grants a limited right to qualified nonprofit organization, like the Connecticut Trust, to protect the property from changes which are not in keeping with its historic, architectural or natural character. The easement allows the owner of an historic property to retain title and use of the property and, at the same time, to ensure its long-term preservation. The owner does not give up title, use or control of the property or the right to sell, donate or will the property. Easements are usually given in perpetuity, and filed in the land records. The easement runs with the property and is binding on both the owner who grants it as well as on all subsequent owners during its term. The owner retains the major interest in the property and can sell it or will it to whomever he or she wishes.

A preservation easement may perform three functions:

  • Limit the kinds of alterations and additions that may be made to the property's historic structures;
  • Require proper maintenance of the structures to preserve their historic character and structural integrity;
  • Control the owner's right to develop the property by prohibiting subdivision of the land or development of open space.

The preservation easement may also require that certain changes be made to an historic building to restore it to an appropriate condition. The restrictions usually apply to the building's exterior only, but could apply to significant interior features if the donor desires. The protected features of the property are clearly defined in the easement document.

Eligible Properties

Eligibility is determined by the Trust's Staff on a case-by-case basis, but to be considered the property must be listed or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.


The benefits of a preservation easement include knowing that your historic property will be protected for generations to come. Another benefit is that a federal income tax deduction is available to a qualified donor of an easement in the amount equal to the reduction in value of the property resulting from the granting of the easement. In addition, such reductions in market value should reduce estate taxes and local property taxes. A preservation easement can be donated to the qualifying nonprofit organization to preserve a historic structure or historically important land area.

A federal income tax deduction is available to a qualified donor of an easement in an amount equal to the reduction in value of the property resulting from the granting of the easement. In addition, such reduction in market value should reduce estate taxes and local real property taxes. Tax benefits vary according to each donor?s situation and therefore you should consult your attorney, accountant or tax advisor.

How do I establish an easement?
The Connecticut Trust will provide a draft of an easement agreement for review by your attorney and tax advisor. The Trust will also supply a written and photographic record of the property. The donor must retain an appraiser to determine the market value of the easement. The Trust can help find a qualified appraiser.

What are the costs of creating an easement?
The donor must pay a modest application fee to the Connecticut Trust as well as the costs of establishing the easement, including fees for attorneys, tax consultants or appraisers. In addition, the donor must make an agreed upon donation to the Trust's monitoring fund to cover the Trust's long-term costs for periodically monitoring the property and for legal enforcement of the easement, if necessary. All costs are also generally tax deductible.

For additional information on easement restrictions and tax advantages please visit the Connecticut Trust's website at

Local Surveys

The Barns of East Granby: Our Architectural Heritage

This is book is the most accessible and, perhaps, the most extensive barn survey undertaken by any local group. It provides both photographs and text describing the barns on more than 40 properties in the town of East Granby. Sadly, a number of barns have been demolished since this work was first published. By Guinan, Betty and Ted Holly, East Granby Historical Society, 2000.

New Canaan Historical Society Survey of Barns

In response to the demolition of barns in the community the New Canaan Historical Society has undertaken a field survey to identify the remaining barns in their town.

Fairfield Historical Society Survey of Barns

The Society has created a database of barns based on documentary evidence of their existence. They have yet to confirm that these buildings still exist through fieldwork.

Historic Sturbridge Village

In 1976-78 two researchers from Old Sturbridge Village performed a survey of barns in four communities in the northeast corner of the state - Canterbury, Pomfret, Thompson, Woodstock. The 273 identified barns were documented with photographs and notes. This information is available at the Old Sturbridge Village Library.

If you or your community has information about your historic barns that you would like to have added to this site, please contact us.

Barn Links

The following is a collection of links related to the Connecticut barn. If you have information or a link you wish to add to this growing collection, please contact us.

General Links for Connecticut Barns:

The Barn Journal
This site provides a wealth of information regarding historic barns including books, newsletters, links, and technical information.

Barn Restorations, Conversions and Dismantled Barns
This site from Clem Labine's Traditional Building lists firms whose expertise includes barn restoration, conversion and dismantling.

The Barn Pages
This site is dedicated to the preservation and adaptive reuse of barns, rural American architecture and farm buildings.

The Barn People
The Barn People feature vintage barns dismantled and reassembled, feasibility studies, consulting, restoration and preservation.

The Barn Coalition
Great site from the New York State Barn Coalition featuring valuable information and resources.

Barn Again
Barn Again is a national program that provides information to help owners of historic barns rehabilitate them and put them back to productive use on farms and ranches.

Barn Again Traveling Exhibit
Description of traveling exhibition by the Smithsonian.
Barn Related Online Program Resources.

National Barn Alliance
The National Barn Alliance (NBA) grew out of an informal network of Cooperative Extension educators, historic preservationists, and concerned citizens involved in statewide barn rehabilitation programs. This group aligned in an effort to support the National Trust for Historic Preservation's BARN AGAIN! program and promote mutual understanding of the technical assistance and educational programs that existed or were emerging across several mid-western states.

Vermont Heritage Network
Taking Care of Your Old Barn - Ten Tips for Preserving and Reusing Historic Agricultural Buildings.

American Farmland Trust

Michigan Barn Preservation Network
The Michigan Barn Preservation Network is committed to rehabilitation of barns for agricultural, commercial, residential and public uses.

Old Barn Wood Site
Lists barns for sale throughout the United States.

Thumb Octagon Barn
Historic Octgaon Barn located in Michigan.

Supportive Resources and Literature for the Wisconsin Barn Preservation Initiative

This document identifies technical information, publications and audiovisual materials that are available to assist barn owners with the process of barn rehabilitation.

The National Trust - Barn Again

Preservation Massachusetts - Preserve Mass Barns

New Hampshire Preservation Alliance - Save That Barn

Vermont Division for Historic Preservation - Barn Grants

A Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings by Thomas Visser

Connecticut Agricultural Resources:

Working Lands Alliance - Alliance for the Preservation of Connecticut Farm Land

Connecticut Rural Development Council

Connecticut Department of Agriculture

Connecticut Farmland Trust

Books About Barns

The following is a selection of books related to historic barns. If you have a book you would like to recommend to this growing collection, please contact us.

American Barns: A Pictorial History
Caranvan, Jill
Courage Books, 1995

American Barns: In a Class by Themselves
Schuler, Stanley
Schiffer Publishing, 1984

An Age of Barns
Sloane, Eric
Voyageur Press, reprint 2001

Vlach, John Michael
W. W. Norton & Company. 2003

Barns, Sheds, and Outbuildings
Halsted, Byron D.
Alan C Hood & Co., 1995 (reprint)

The Barn: A Vanishing Landmark in North America
Arthur, Eirc, and Whitney, Dudley
A & W Publishers, 1975

The Barn as an Element in the Cultural Landscape of North America: A Bibliography
Calkins, Charles F.
Vance Bibliographies, 1979

The Barns of East Granby: Our Agricultural Heritage
Guinan, Betty and Holly, Ted
East Granby Historical Society, 1989

Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England
Hubka, Thomas C
University Press of New England, 1984

Building the Timbeframe House
Benson, Tedd
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1980

Connecticut Valley Vernacular:
The Vanishing Landscape and Architecture of the New England Tobacco Fields

O'Gorman, James F.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002

Early Domestic Architecture of Connecticut
Kelly, J. Frederick
Dover, NY: originally published in 1924

Farm Builder's Handbook
Structures Publishing Co.

Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings
Visser, Thomas D
University Press of New England, 1997

Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay
Cummings, Abbott Lowell
Harvard Press, 1979

Living Barns: How to Find and Restore a Barn of Your Own
Burden, Ernest
New York Graphic Society, 1977

The New World Dutch Barn: The Evolution, Forms, and Structure of a Disappearing Icon
Fitchen, John
Syracuse University Press, 2001

The Old Barn Book
Noble, Allen G
Rutgers University Press, 1996

Pole & Post Building Construction
Extension Agricultural Engineers
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

Practical Plans for Barns, Carriage Houses, Stables, and other Country Buildings
Loveless, David and Joan
Berkshire Traveller Press, 1978

The Preservation of Historic Barns (National Park Service Preservation Brief 20)
Auer, Michael J
Available online at

Storehouses of Time: Historic Barns of the Northeast
Zeigler, Philip C.
Down East Books, 1985

The Timber-Frame Home
Benson, Tedd
The Taunton Press, 1988

Timber Frame Construction
Sobon, Jack, and Schroeder, Roger
Garden Way Publishing

Tobacco Sheds of the Connecticut River Valley
Darcy Purinton & Dale F. Cahill
Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2009

Available online at

Agricultural Resources

Connecticut Barn and Agricultural Resources

Working the Land: The Story of Connecticut Agriculture

Working Lands Alliance - Alliance for the Preservation of Connecticut Farm Land

Connecticut Rural Development Council

Connecticut Department of Agriculture

Connecticut Farmland Trust

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