Barn Record Lebanon

Building Name (Common)
Graywall Farms
Building Name (Historic)
Graywall Farms
49 Chappell Road, Lebanon



Historic Significance

Architectural description:

This is a series of three large pole barns, next to and parallel to one another. The ridge-line of all three are parallel to Chappell Road, which runs approximately east-west. Each pole barn has open eave and gable-facades. The gable attics of each are made of metal and the two northernmost pole barns have a window opening beneath the apex of the roof; the southernmost barn is blank with a lean-to. All three have ridge vents. The northernmost barn is the largest. The middle pole barn is actually two pole barns attached gable to gable, although combined they are still not as long as the northernmost pole barn. The southernmost pole barn is approximately the same size as one of the attached middle barns. Extending to the east from the middle barns is L-shaped addition with the bottom ell gable-facade facing south. Nestled between the L-shaped addition and the southernmost pole barn is a number of sheds.

Historical significance:

Most ground-level stable barns and free-stall dairy barns built since the 1970s have no hayloft. Instead, the roofs are supported by prefabricated wooden trusses covered with metal roofing. While most single-story truss-roofed barns in New England are constructed with concrete foundations and stud-framed walls, pole barns with open sides are becoming popular, especially for sheltering large herds of dairy cows, heifers, and beef cattle. Many of these large truss-roofed structures are free-stall barns, introduced in the late 1940s.

Field Notes

A major working farm, a member of The Farmers Cow which markets Connecticut-grown milk and eggs. Multiple structures. Graywall Farms, operated by Robin Chesmer and his son Lincoln, started business in 1989 when they leased a 185-acre dairy farm and purchased 80 dairy cows and farm equipment. The farm real estate was purchased in 1992 after the owner sold the development rights to the State of Connecticut therefore making the land more affordable for farm use. Graywall Farm has grown to include 700 acres of owned land, 400 dairy cows and 280 calves and heifers, mostly Holsteins. They grow corn and hay to feed their animals. Significant capital investment has been made in new cattle barns, milking facility, feed center and a manure management system. Six employees help them on the farm including Robin’s son-in-law, David Hevner who manages the calves and young stock. Facility design places high emphasis on labor efficiency and cow comfort. Graywall Farm has been honored in many ways. The farm was selected as a Connecticut Dairy Farm of Distinction in 1991, and was named the Connecticut Dairy Farm of the Year for New England Green Pasture Program in 1998. The Chesmers hosted a visit from Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman in 2002, and recently hosted the Celebration of Connecticut Farms, Food, Wine & Art event to raise funds for farmland preservation with honorary chairs Meryl Streep, Faith Middleton and Jacques Pepin. Lincoln Chesmer is the General Manager of Graywall Farms. Lincoln manages all aspects of the dairy farm operation including the milk herd, growing crops, and managing employees. He majored in Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, and utilized his architectural skills in planning and designing the building projects that include a new milking center, free stall barns and manure separation & storage facilities. He and his wife have three young children. Lincoln and Robin were both founding members of Very Alive. Acting as the managing member of The Farmer’s Cow, LLC, Robin studied Business Administration at The University of Connecticut, but owning a farm has always been a life-long dream. Source: Aerial photographs by G. Leslie Sweetnam

Use & Accessibility

Use (Historic)

Use (Present)

Exterior Visible from Public Road?




Location Integrity



Related features

Environment features

Relationship to surroundings

This series of barns are just north of Cappell Road, with their ridge-line running east-west and the eave-facade of the southernmost barn fronting the road. Within the barn complex are numerous sheds used for active agriculture. North of the barns is an open circle structure, possible a walled pen. To the north and east of the barns are large tracts of open space. Across the street to the south is open space. To the south west are two small bodies of water. The total size of the site is 179.40 acres.

mblu = 220//1

Typology & Materials

Building Typology


Structural System

Roof materials

Roof type

Approximate Dimensions

17424 S.F. 11616 S.F. 9504 S.F.


Date Compiled


Compiled By

Todd Levine, reviewed by the Connecticut Trust


Field notes by Charlotte R. Hitchcock, quoted from

Aerial photographs by G. Leslie Sweetnam.

Sexton, James, PhD; Survey Narrative of the Connecticut Barn, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Hamden, CT, 2005,

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

Town of Lebanon assessors office, 579 Exeter Road, Lebanon, CT 06249.

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