This is a 2 ½-story gable-roofed structure with its ridge-line oriented east-west. It appears likely to be three-bays although the layout of doors is atypical. The north eave-side has a sliding exterior-mounted barn door off-center toward the left (east), flanked by two six-over-six double-hung windows to the right in the center bay and one on the left (east). The easternmost bay has no openings. Two small square windows are further to the left, in the end wall of a shed addition on the east end of the barn; one window is at ground level and the second above. There is a panel of three six-over-six double-hung windows above the door.
The west gable-end faces the road, and has a shallow shed-roofed addition attached the full width. Concrete foundation walls are visible below the siding, contrasting with mortared fieldstone foundations on the north wall. Three pairs of full-height hinged doors are equally spaced on the west eave-wall of the shed addition. Above in the attic of the gable-end there is a six-over-six double-hung window below the peak, and signage identifying the YMCA Camp Sloper Outdoor Center, in large white raised letters.
The south eave-side has a hinged pass-through door in the west bay and a small sliding door in the center bay, with a pair of six-over-six double-hung windows above.
Attached at the east end is a shed-roofed addition which extends the full width of the east gable-end and extends southward approximately 20 feet. The extension has a west wall with two large picture windows at ground level and two smaller single-light windows above. The south wall of the shed has a single hinged door with a small shed hood above. This appears to be used as an entrance for a day camp space. To the east a second 12 x 30 foot shed addition is appended to the first, with a lower-pitched shed roof. The south wall of this portion has a band of double-hung windows with a similar hood roof over. The east eave-side wall of the second addition has three pairs of windows which appear to be double-hung. The attic of the main structure has a vent high up below the peak.
Siding is vertical boards painted red. The roof is asphalt shingles and has an overhang on all sides. A cupola with a gable roof oriented east-west is located on the ridge; it has louvered vents in all four faces.
The barn has been re-used for various day camp functions; it appears that some areas have been finished on the interior.
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 shed addition at the east end was constructed for sheep.
Robert Sloper, of Branford, received a State Land Grant of property in Southington and moved his family to Southington in 1730. Robert Sloper’s son, Captain Ambrose Sloper, built the present Sloper house in 1760. Cornelia Sloper Neal, willed the Sloper property to the YMCA in 1949.
The last member of the Sloper family to run this farm was William Orr, husband of Julia Sloper Orr. From about 1905, and for the next few decades, three generations of the Pocock family, who owned a farm further north on East Street, maintained the farm by growing their corn and cutting the hay. They pastured their cows on the land to the north of the pond bordering Kensington Road.
The Sloper Red Barn is one of the only standing historical sites from the earlier years when the property was operated as a farm, with the exception of the Sloper Farm House just beyond the barn. At one time, there were three barns, equally as large as the existing barn that stood on the Sloper Farm. It is estimated that the two barns that no longer stand were built in the early 1700s and the remaining barn was built in the mid 1800s, possibly dating as far back as the 1860s. The remaining Sloper Barn has seen many uses over the 140 plus years of existence on the Sloper property.
When the Sloper Farm was active, this barn was believed to be used as a dairy barn that housed cows and horses. Inside the barn, you can see the older post and beam style of construction with an existing hay loft and steel track, which was used to transport the hay. Sometime in the 1900s, the back addition of the barn was constructed to house sheep.
When the YMCA took ownership of the property in 1949, the barn became the cornerstone of the property and still serves as a historic landmark for many folks in the community. In the earlier years of the camp, the barn was used as the main building for the day camp program. Over the years, it has been used as a warming hut for cross-country skiing and winter recreation, program space for overnights, rainy day shelter, a musical theater program, and most recently it functions as a maintenance facility with a pre-school room for our youngest campers in the back portion of the barn.
The YMCA Camp Sloper staff and volunteers currently have a plan in place to preserve the Sloper Barn so that it will remain the cornerstone of the property and a historic landmark for generations to come.
- Excerpts from brochure “YMCA Camp Sloper Historical Hike”
The YMCA Camp Sloper Outdoor Center is located on 143 acres of fields, woods and streams. The 19-acre Sloper Pond is great for swimming, boating and fishing. Also available are the following activities: softball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, frisbee golf, playscape and superslide. In addition, there are miles of marked, wooded trails, excellent for hiking and mountain biking (- Sloper Outdoor Center Website).
This 143-acre property, now the YMCA Camp Sloper Outdoor Center, near the southeast corner of Southington, lies at the foot of a north-south ridge which forms the eastern boundary of Southington. Several of the early farms of the area remain nearby as agricultural land (apple orchards, goats, beef cattle) or open space. Scattered residential development occurred in the mid- to late 20th century. The Sloper Family ran a dairy farm and creamery, an early cement mill using limestone quarried nearby, and an ice harvesting and storage business. The creamery, mill, and ice houses are no longer extant. The property consists of some open fields, day camp facilities, pond, woodlands with hiking trails, and two historic buildings – the farmhouse and the red barn. The Greek Revival style house is located north of the barn. Its ridge-line is oriented east-west perpendicular to the road, and the west gable-end façade faces the road. The house is a three-bay side-hall plan with the door in the right (south) bay and a full eave return forming an attic pediment.
Charlotte Hitchcock, reviewed by CT Trust
Field notes and photographs by Charlotte Hitchcock and Helen Higgins, 8/24/2010.
Town of Southington Assessor’s Record and GIS Viewer http://www.southingtongis.com/ags_map/
Parcel No 079024 38 x 60 feet + 16 x 58 ft addition
YMCA Camp Sloper web site: http://www.ymcacampsloper.org/
Brochure “YMCA Camp Sloper Historical Hike” available as pdf download.
http://www.bing.com/maps accessed 8/24/2010.
Andrews, Gregory, Sherrow, Doris, Colonial Houses of Southington Thematic Resource National Register Nomination, National Park Service, 1987.
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.