Architectural Description (quote from HRI for Historic District Nomination):“Projecting from the rear of the [house] ell is an attached shed with 6 over 6 windows and 4-panel doors. Behind the house is a large flushboarded red barn with a wooden cupola that has a polygonal roof and wood louvered openings. An old weathervane tops the cupola and at the ends of the main roof gable are eagles on orbs.”
The large barn consists of a simple English barn with its long side and two sliding doors facing north to High Street, and a wing perpendicular extending south. This structure is a bank barn, as the grade slopes down toward the south. Its roof line is taller than the English barn structure, so that a gable end of the ridge is visible from High Street projecting above the ridge. The south wing also has the ornate cupola, suggesting a later date for this addition.
Siding is vertical flush-boards painted red; roofing is corrugated metal.
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 name “30 by 40” originates from its size (in feet), which was large enough for 1 family and could service about 100 acres. The multi-purpose use of the English barn is reflected by the building’s construction in three distinct bays - one for each use. The middle bay was used for threshing, which is separating the seed from the stalk in wheat and oat by beating the stalks with a flail. The flanking bays would be for animals and hay storage.
The 19th century saw the introduction of a basement under the barn to allow for the easy collection and storage of a winter’s worth of manure from the animals sheltered within the building. The bank barn is characterized by the location of its main floor above grade, either through building into a hillside or by raising the building on a foundation.
This innovation, aided by the introduction of windows for light and ventilation, would eventually be joined by the introduction of space to shelter more animals under the main floor of the barn.
The house (1775) and barns are located in the South Coventry Historic District, in which they are contributing resources. The house was used as a tavern for some years of the 19th century, and as the home of Dr. Samuel Rose. The property exhibits the evolution of a late Colonial era home and farm, to a village center commerical property, and to a gentleman’s estate with the more elaborate architecture of the barn cupola.
Update: Barn block facing High Street began to deform during January-February 2011. Temporary bracing installed to prevent collapse.
Town of Coventry Assessor’s Records.
Historic and Architectural Resources Survey of Coventry: the Coventry Village Area, 1980, Andrews, Gregory, and Lewis, Barbara.
Sexton, James, PhD; Survey Narrative of the Connecticut Barn, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Hamden, CT, 2005, http://www.connecticutbarns.org/history.
Visser, Thomas D.,Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings, University Press of New England, 1997, 213 pages.