Barn Record Avon

Building Name (Common)
Old Connecticut Horse Guard Barn
Building Name (Historic)
Connecticut Horse Guard Barn
232 West Avon Road (Rte 167), Avon


Historic Significance

Architectural description:

This is a 1 ½-story, gable-entry, gable-roof barn.  The main façade faces west and the ridge-line is perpendicular to West Avon Road, which at this point runs approximately north to south.

The main entry is centered on the west gable-façade and consists of a pair of exterior hung sliding doors with a hooded track.  Set within this entry, and seen when the exterior hung sliding doors are open, is an interior over-head door.  Located on the south corner of the west gable-façade is what appears to be a pass-through doorway that is now boarded up.  Found in the gable-attic of the west gable-façade of the barn is a louvered vent.

The grade drops significantly along the south eave-side of the barn, revealing a full basement level.  Wooden brackets are visible under the eave of the roof.  Near the east corner of the south eave-side is a window opening and just to the east of this is a six-pane window.  On the basement level is a double window, just below the wood siding.  Toward the east corner is a window opening and an over-head door with panels.  Both the window and door are located beneath a shed-roof hood that protrudes from the south eave-side of the barn.  There are no other features found on this side.

Attached to the east gable-end of the barn, encompassing the south half of the basement level of this side, and extending to the east is a gable-roof addition.  Above the addition, found in the gable-attic of the east gable-end of the barn is a louvered vent.  A shed-roof extension encompasses the north half of the basement level of the east gable-end of the barn, and extends to the east. 

On the west eave-side of the gable-roof addition is a set of six window openings.  An over-head door with panels and four window openings is on the east gable-end of the gable-roof addition.  Located just above this, in the gable-peak, is a louvered vent.  Along the north side of the gable-roof addition are four windows with trim.  A doorway opening is found on the east side of the shed-roof extension, and a double window with trim is on the north side.

A double window with trim is located in the basement level on the east corner of the north eave-side of the barn.  Attached to the north gable-side of the barn is another gable-roof addition.  The ridge-line of this addition is parallel to that of the barn.  On the east side of this gable-roof addition is a shed-roof extension.  A pass-through door is found on the east corner of the north side of the gable-roof addition.  Just to the west of this is what appears to be a boarded up window opening.  There appear to be no openings on the west gable-end of this gable-roof addition.  The grade rises along this side of the barn.

The barn is clad in board-and-batten siding painted white on the west gable-façade.  The south eave-side is clad in vertical flush-board siding painted white with asphalt shingles on the basement level.  On the east gable-end is asphalt shingle siding with vertical flush-board siding painted white along the north eave-side.  All the additions and extensions are clad in asphalt shingle siding.  The roof has asphalt shingles with a large tarp covering them.  The foundation is fieldstone and brick.  Centered atop the ridge-line of the roof is a large metal ventilator.  A small cupola sits atop the ridge-line of the gable-roof addition extending from the east gable-end of the barn.

Historical significance:

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 to the sides, 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 19th century also 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 on 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

Listed on the State Register of Historic Places 6/04/2014."Oldest continuously operating cavalry unit in the United States. Located on a 35 acre state-owned military reservation, it contains a 40-stall barn, 30-40 horses, a drill field, 2 outdoor rings, and wooded trails. Organized in 1778, it was chartered as the Governor's Independent Volunteer Troup of Horse Guards in 1788 with the purpose of escorting the Governor. After 1911, the Troop became part of the Connecticut National Guard and participated in battle in Texas against Pancho Villa. In 1946, the unit joined the CT State Militia and is currently still a member. Sponsors horse shows in June and October. Visit their website for further information." Originally a dairy barn, converted to have stalls for horses when the Horse Guard moved in during the 1950s. -Avon Historical Society. 2011 Barns Grant Applicant 2012 Barns Grant Recipient

Use & Accessibility

Use (Historic)

Use (Present)

Exterior Visible from Public Road?




Location Integrity

Original Site


Related features

Environment features

Relationship to surroundings

This barn sits on 35 acres of land that is owned by the military.  The west gable-façade of the barn faces West Avon Road and extends to the east.  The new Horse Guard Barn is located to the northwest of this barn.  The property is boarded on all sides by wooden fences painted white with some wooded areas towards the east.  The property the barn sits on is entirely used as grazing space for horses.  To the south of the property is Miller Foods, located at the intersection of Arch Road and West Avon Road.  To the north are wooded areas and residential neighborhoods.  Further to the north is the boarder of Simsbury with numerous shopping complexes and commercialized areas.  Directly to the west of the barn is the Horseguard State Park Scenic Reserve.  To the east are wooded areas and residential neighborhoods.

Typology & Materials

Building Typology


Structural System

Roof materials

Roof type

Approximate Dimensions

30' x 40'


Date Compiled


Compiled By

K. Young & T. Levine, reviewed by CT Trust


Photo Credit: (2nd and 3rd photos) Carmen Slaybaugh with Avon Patch:

Additional photos from 2011 Barns Grant Application and Peter Wright.

Aerial Mapping: Avon Maps - accessed 3/13/2012.

Avon GIS Maps and Tax Assessor’s Records: - accessed 3/13/2012.
Map: 013
Lot: 1090280

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

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

PhotosClick on image to view full file