Barn Record Farmington

Building Name (Common)
Nelson Keyes Barn
Building Name (Historic)
Julius Gay Barn
36 Main Street (Route 10), Farmington


Historic Significance

Architectural description:

This is a 2-story eave-entry tripartite bank barn with a gable roof.  The barn is oriented parallel to Main Street, which passes the property at a southwest to northeast angle. 

The primary façade of this barn faces Main Street and is the southeast eave-side.  The center and north bays on the first story are occupied by single-stall panel overhead garage doors.  The doors are four panels in height and six panels in width.  The third row of panels has been replaced by six panes of window glass in each.  The center bay of the second story is occupied by a pair of inward opening hinged doors, clad in diagonal wooden planks.  These lead out onto a projecting second story porch, which is centered over the garage door beneath it.  The porch has a decorative wooden railing and is supported by wooden brackets below.  A decorative porch light is hanging from below this porch.  A modern security light is present mounted to the south bay on the second floor.  The southwest gable-end shows the banked site of this barn as the ground slopes down from south to north.  The first story contains three window openings: a double-hung type near the west corner, and two smaller square window openings in the center and eastern half.  A single double-hung window is centered on the second floor.  The northwest eave-side exposes the full lower level.  This entire side appears to be blank.  The northeast gable-end contains two columns of openings, symmetrically placed on this end.  On the first floor, a double-hung window is present in the east half and a pass-through door in the west half, covered by a projecting shed roof.  The second story has two double-hung window openings, in vertical alignment with the door and window on the story below. 

The exterior of this barn is clad in vertical wooden flush-board siding, painted white.  The doors are painted black.  The roof is covered in dark gray asphalt shingles.  Centered atop the ridgeline is a small square cupola.  Each side of the cupola contains a square ventilation louver, painted black.  The remainder of the cupola is painted white, with dark gray shingles on the pyramid-shaped roof.  A gutter with downspout is present on the southeast eave-side façade.

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 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.

Field Notes

Historic District Nomination No. 72001331, National Park Service, 1972. Contributing resource in Farmington Village National and Local Historic District. The house on the property ("Julius Gay House") was built by Nelson Keys in 1873. Julius Gay was a town clerk, historian, surveyor and President & treasurer of the Farmington Savings Bank. The original use of the barn was for animals, hay and eventually horse(s) and carriage. Based on an English barn type, has vertical wood siding, asphalt shingle roof, decorative "balcony" and brackets. Location of carriage house (and an ice house to its rear) is in a dense residential/school zone. Current use by Miss Porter's School (MPS) is as a Financial Development Office and an Alumnae guest house. MPS has undergone an assessment of their some 60 buildings (some barns included) for a 10-yr "maintenance and restoration" program. Ice house deterioration poses a threat. Some modifications to carriage barn on property known as "Julius Gay House."

Use & Accessibility

Use (Historic)

Use (Present)

Exterior Visible from Public Road?




Location Integrity



Related features


Environment features

Relationship to surroundings

The barn at this property is situated parallel to Main Street and set back a short distance from the road.  The house associated with this barn is located to the immediate south of the south corner of the barn.  The barn is accessed from the street via an asphalt driveway, which widens along the side of the house and in front of the barn to provide several parking spaces.  The lawn on which the barn and house sit extends to the south and southwest, to the corner of Main and Porter Streets.  The northeast wall of the barn is located very near to the northeast property line.  A small parking lot is present beyond the this property line, followed by an academic building for Miss Porter’s School, of which this house, barn, and many surrounding buildings are all a part.  The backyard behind the house and beside the barn includes a horseshoe shaped hedge and small ice house at the rear.  A small woodland with pond is present to the northwest of the barn, behind this property.  The surrounding blocks are full of residential properties and the other academic buildings of Miss Porter’s School.

Typology & Materials

Building Typology


Structural System


Roof materials

Roof type

Approximate Dimensions



Date Compiled


Compiled By

N. Nietering & T. Levine, reviewed by CT Trust


Photographs by Meyer/Macomber and Todd Levine.

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

Butterfield, Richard D., Thompson, James McA., Farmington National Register Historic District Nomination No. 72001331, National Park Service, 1972.

Visser, Thomas D.,Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings, University Press of New England, 1997, 213 pages.

Map of Farmington, CT, retrieved on April 9, 2011 from website

Farmington Assessor’s Records - online -

PhotosClick on image to view full file