This is a 1 1/2 story tripartite side or eave-entry barn with a shed-roofed addition and a gable-roofed addition. The main facade faces south towards Boston Post Road, which runs approximately east-west. The main entry in the middle bay is a pair of swinging hinged doors with black-smithed hardware and a thick-framed, twelve-pane window inserted in each. The eastern bay has a similar window and a a pass-through door with black-smithed hardware. The western bay has a pass-through door with black-smithed hardware. Flush with the southern facade is the side of the shed-roofed addition, which extends to the west from the west gable-facade. The addition has two pairs of swinging hinged doors on the south side. The west side of the addition has three boarded openings that match the south side openings in appearnace. It encompasses the entire facade except for the gable attic, which has a six-pane, thick-framed window. The north eave-facade is blank except a pass-thrpigh door. Encompassing the west gable-facade of the barn is a gable-roofed addition, also painted white. The barn has board-and-batten unpainted siding and a wood shingle roof. The gable-roofed addition has board-and-batten siding painted white and a wood shingle roof. The shed-roofed addition has board-and-batten siding on the north side and flush-board siding on the south side, painted white as well as a wood shingle roof. The additions have mortared field-stone foundations.
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.
Board-and-batten siding became a popular alternative to wooden shingles on barns during the mid-nineteenth century, especially after the development of the circular saw made the production of long wooden battens easier. Typically measuring about one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half inches wide and about one-and-a-quarter inches think, these battens were nailed over the gaps between the sheathing boards.
The property was the home and farm of Nehemiah Bushnell & Sarah Ingham Bushnell in the early 1700's. When Nehemiah died, his son, David Bushnell, sold his inheritance to pursue his education, going on to invent the first submarine. It is believed the barn was built in the early 1700s & used for agriculture, including horses & cows. The 2 attachments on either side of the barn were added in recent times; the one on the right used as a carriage house and the one on the left is an active blacksmith shop. The 40' x 28' 2 story English style barn is post & beam construction with vertical siding & wood shingle roof. It currently houses an extensive collection of antique agricultural equipment, including plows, tractors, threshers, horse-drawn equipment & farming implements. The owner, Herb T Clark III, is maintaining the property true to its colonial era, with the historic house, barn & many outbuildings, stone walls, & gateways, a historic treasure in Old Saybrook.
The barn sits northeast of the house in a lot bordered by a stone wall. The lot also has two sheds, an outhouse and what appears to be a saltbox-roofed barn towards the rear of the lot. The house is centered in the lot, leaving open space and wooded areas all around. A small pond is east of the house. Northwest of the house on the other side of the stone wall is a cottage with features similar to the house.
Todd Levine and the Connecticut Trust
Photographs and field notes by Cherie Robinsin.
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.
Town of Old Saybrook assessors: www.ceo.fando.com/oldsaybrook.
Ransom, David F., Elisha Bushnell House National Register Nomination No. 78002850, National Park Service, 1978.