The tightly-knit complex of agricultural buildings at this property consist of a large 2 ½-story gable-entry main barn with distinctive decorative cupola and a gable roof, a shed-roof addition to this main barn, and a separate stand-alone barn building 1 ½-stories in height with an eave-entry and a gable-roof. The complex is located on the inside of a sharp forty-five degree turn in West Avon Road (CT Route 167). The road swings from a southwest to northeast alignment to the west of this complex to an east to west alignment to the east. The large cupola barn (Barn I) and the second barn (Barn II) are oriented perpendicular to each other.
Barn I is a large 2 ½-story gable-entry barn with a gable roof. The primary entry to this barn is on the north gable-end, which faces West Avon Road. It consists of a single oversize sliding wooden door, mounted on an upper track, occupying the entire east half of this gable-end. A large rectangular louvered vent is located in the gable-attic, centered beneath the roof ridgeline. The west eave-side of Barn I shows obvious ghosting from where a small 1-story gable-roof addition projected to the west from the northwest corner. Within this ghosting area are two door openings on the first-story. In the northwest corner is a modern pass-through door with nine window panes in the upper half. To the south of this modern door is a wood plank hinged pass-through door. Three double-hung windows are spaced evenly down the remaining length of the building on the second-story, beneath the eave on this side. These windows are each six-over-six.
The south gable-end of Barn I is partially obscured by Addition I, a 1-story shed-roof addition oriented perpendicular to the main barn along the first-story of this end. The second-story and the gable-attic of the main barn is visible on this end, with two external double-hung six-over-six windows symmetrically placed beneath the girt line. Within the gable attic are two vertical rectangular vents, each with louvers within, centered.
The east eave-side appears to have eight four-over-four double-hung windows occupying the majority of the first-story, with a wood-plank pass-through door and stationary six-pane window located at the northeast corner. Four six-over-six double-hung windows are evenly-spaced along the second-story, beneath the eave.
Addition I is a 1-story shed-roof structure which is attached to the south gable-end of Barn I and extends to the west. The exposed north eave-side, which is only located to the west of the main barn, appears to be blank. The west end of Addition I includes a single square window opening. The south eave-side includes five six-pane windows evenly-spaced from the southwest corner, with a very modern pass-through door and sidelight assembly located at the far southeast corner. A single square window opening is also located in the east end of this addition. A circular foundation from a demolished silo is located adjacent to the east end of this addition.
Barn I is faced in vertical wooden flush-board siding, unpainted. Addition I is of concrete cinder-block construction with wood shingles within the end-gables. The roof of each is covered with asphalt shingles. A large cupola is centered on the roof ridgeline of the main barn. Twin tall arched four-pane windows are located within each of the four sides of this cupola. These windows have decorative carved wood window hoods over the each arch. The cupola is capped by a shallow pyramid-shaped roof, and topped by a carved weathervane, with decorative soaring eagle carving.
Barn II is a stand-alone 1 ½-story eave-entry barn with a gable roof. It is oriented perpendicular to Barn I and the southwest corner of this barn is adjacent to the northeast corner of Barn I. The primary façade of Barn II is the north eave-side, which fronts West Avon Road. This entry consists of a centered pair of oversize wooden sliding doors, mounted on an upper track. A wooden pass-through door is located to the immediate west of this oversize entry. A long run of windows extending the width of the oversize entry is mounted over this doorway beneath the eave. The west gable-end of Barn II contains a single small window opening in the northern half and a small louvered vent near ground level off-center. The gable-attic contains a six-over-six double-hung window above the girt line, centered, and a louvered rectangular vent located above that, beneath the roof ridgeline.
The south eave-side of Barn II contains a small shed-roof projection in the southwest corner, which contains a pair of entry doors. These doors each appear to contain eight panes of glass in the upper portion. The remaining lower portion of the first-story on this side appears to be of mortared brownstone construction. It includes a wooden pass-through door to the immediate east of the shed-roof projection, and a paired wood-door entry near the southeast corner. The east eave-side also appears to be of mortared brownstone construction along the lower portion. This entire side is blank except for two openings within the gable-attic, placed vertically. The lower opening is a six-over-six double-hung window, and the upper opening is a rectangular louvered vent.
The exterior of Barn II is faced with vertical wooden siding, unpainted. Mortared brownstone is visible on the exterior on portions of the south eave-side and east gable-end as noted. The roof is covered in asphalt shingles.
The New England barn or gable front barn was the successor to the English barn and relied on a gable entry rather than an entry under the eaves. The gable front offered many practical advantages. Roofs drained off the side, rather than flooding the dooryard. With the main drive floor running parallel to the ridge, the size of the barn could be increased to accommodate larger herds by adding additional bays to the rear gable end. 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; both types continued to be constructed.
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 Pine Grove Farm / Marcus Thompson Farm South is listed as a contributing resource in the Pine Grove Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. See Sources for a link to the official National Register nomination.
This barn originally belonged to the farm across the street at 841 West Avon Road. These are now two separate farms. Typology: the barn at the very front was a tobacco barn, built c.1840 to 1860 the attached barn behind this was built c. 1860 to 1870 Historic significance: Pine Grove Historic District National Register of Historic Places - 1980 The farmhouse was built by Marcus Thompson c. 1840. The tobacco barn was probably built around the same time. It is an English style with asphalt-shingled pitched roof. The large barn to the rear is vertically boarded with a lantern with round-headed windows and a carved, flying eagle weathervane. An addition at the rear of this has cinderblock walls and is 20th century. One photo shows the intact covered area to the right of the barn before the snows of 2011 caused it to collapse. The large barn is almost identical to that of Sunrise Farm, 712 West Avon Road. Marcus was the brother of the Thompson who built the barn at Sunrise Farm. Both barns belonged to Pine Grove or Smith Farms directly across West Avon Road. These barns are now part of Stonewall Farm and a modern house has been built behind them for the new owners. Related features: lantern on roof peak, modern attached building Environment features: apple orchard Materials: vertical siding, asphalt roof Date of Construction: tobacco barn, c.1840 - 1860 Victorian barn to the rear, c.1860 - 1870 Locations integrity: in original location
This complex of barns is located along the south side of West Avon Road, within the inside of a sharp curve. At one time the barns were part of the farm located immediately across the street to the north, but they are now on a separate property. The modern house associated with this separate property is located some distance to the south of these barn, accessed by the gravel driveway which passes to the immediate west of the barn complex. A paddock fence runs from north to south to the east of the barns, which once enclosed a small pasture. The circular foundation for a demolished silo is located to the east of Addition I. The surrounding land in the immediate vicinity is comprised of fields of active agriculture to the west, north, east and southeast. The land to the southwest, along West Avon Road, quickly becomes a residential neighborhood with several side-streets also lined by dwellings. Woodlands are intermixed with these residences and the agricultural fields.
Barn 1,800 square feet, Barn 1,200 square feet, Barn 960 square feet
N. Nietering & T. Levine, reviewed by CT Trust
Photographs and field notes by Liz Neff.
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.
Map of Avon, CT, retrieved on June 5, 2011 from website www.bing.com/maps.
Avon Assessor’s Records - Avon Assessor’s Office Real Estate Property Information online - http://www.avonassessor.com/
Zimmerman, Sarah, (Avon) “Pine Grove National Register District,” Nomination Form No. 80004066, 1980. National Park Service. Available from the Web: http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/80004066.pdf