Barn Record Chaplin

Building Name (Common)
Gurley Tavern Barn
Building Name (Historic)
Gurley Tavern Barn
42 Chaplin Street, Chaplin


Historic Significance

Architectural description:

This is a 2 and ½ story barn oriented north-south, parallel to the street. A wagon shed addition is attached to the west (front) side near the north corner. Grade rises toward the street, the west wall of the wagon shed is a field stone retaining wall at the ground level. The wagon shed has a south eave-side façade with an open bay the full width and vertical flush board siding above. Its upper floor is accessed from the upper grade where the west gable-end façade has horizontal clapboard siding with corner board trim. The north portion of this façade is behind and appears to be connected to the rear of the tavern/house structure. The visible portion of the façade has a pass-through door flanked by eight-over-twelve double hung windows. A six-light sash is in the attic below the peak.

The main barn has a sliding door in the west eave-side façade in the south bay and a pair of sliding doors in the south gable-end façade. The east façade has no openings. The barn has unpainted vertical flush board siding except the west façade of the wagon shed which has clapboards painted white. The pitched gable roofs of barn and wagon shed are wood shingles.

Historical significance:

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. It this case, both an eave entry and a gable entry are used.

Distinguished by the long shed or gable roof and the row of large openings along the eave side, the typical wagon shed was often built as a separate structure or as a wing connected to the farmhouse or the barn. These open-bay structures protect farm vehicles and equipment from the weather and provide shelter for doing small repairs and maintenance.

Historical background:

The Chaplin Historic District is an entire village built between 1815 and 1840, standing today in complete integrity, free of intrusions. The church, tavern, Town Hall, store and nineteen houses in late Federal and early Greek Revival styles provide a unique example of the architecture and ambience of a New England village - entirely constructed in a compressed period of time a century and a half ago, and unaltered since that time.
Connecticut has many villages which are older than Chaplin and many towns founded earlier than Chaplin in which can be traced continuing architectural and community developments from a century or more before through a century or more after the fabric demonstrated by Chaplin. Chaplin is unique because it was created on site where before there had been no settlement, was created complete in a brief span of time, and subsequently has experienced no development or changes. Chaplin provides a unique record of the architecture and community planning of the 1820’s and 1830’s (Ransom, p. 7).

Field Notes

National Register and Local Historic District. Architect believed to be Jonathan Clark. c.1822 - also known as Silvanus Snow House Barn connected to house. Also 19' x 13'7" extension- Post & Beam construction- connecting barn to house. Connected. House formerly a tavern. Bank owned, foreclosure?

Use & Accessibility

Use (Historic)

Use (Present)

Exterior Visible from Public Road?




Location Integrity



Related features

Environment features

Relationship to surroundings

The former tavern and the barn behind it, are in an area of closely-spaced 19th-century homes, many with barns. Chaplin St., formerly the main highway, is now a secondary road since Route 198 has been straightened to bypass the village center.

Typology & Materials

Building Typology


Structural System

Roof materials

Roof type

Approximate Dimensions

36'6" x 17'3"


Date Compiled


Compiled By

Charlotte Hitchcock, reviewed by CT Trust


Field Notes by Catherine Lynch and Hill Bullard 11/25/2009. Photographs by Catherine Lynch, Hill Bullard, and Stephanie Lessard.

Town of Chaplin Assessor’s Record Map/Lot 75/4.

Ransom, David, Chaplin National Register Historic District Nomination, No. 78002856, National Park Service, 10/11/1978.

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.

Works Progress Administration Writers’ Project: Architectural Survey, Census of Old Buildings, Reference Group 33, Box 226 “Bolton-Chaplin,” Hartford: Connecticut State Library Archives, Chaplin No. 38.

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