This is a 1 1/2-story Dutch-gambrel-roofed structure with its ridge-line oriented north-south. The south gable-end faces the road and has been adapted for use as a chicken coop by the addition of three rows of square windows. The ground level appears to have 10 six-pane windows in a continuous row. Above, the loft level has eight similar windows. In the attic level there are four slightly taller windows, also six-pane, flanked by two shorter window under the slope of the roof. Two small windows flank these at a lower elevation, near the attic floor level. There is a louvered vent at the peak below a projecting hay hood.
The west and east eave-sides have no visible openings, where typically a gambrel barn would have stable windows. Asphalt siding covers these walls, concealing any alterations.
At the north gable-end there is a two-story tower addition with a low-pitched shed roof, similar to the towers often found between the modules in purpose-built chicken coops. It has a pass-through type door in the west side at grade and at the second level.
The roof is asphalt shingles, and there is a metal ventilator at the center of the roof. A narrow brick chimney is located north of the north gable-end, possibly out of the tower addition.
A one-story gable-roofed shed is located to the south of the barn in a location where it would block sun from reaching the windows of the barn’s lowest floor.
The New England barn or gable front barn is the successor to the English barn and relies on a gable entry rather than an entry under the eaves. The gable front offers many practical advantages. Roofs drain 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 as both types continued to be constructed.
The gambrel roof enclosed a much greater volume than a gable roof did, and its shape could be formed with trusses that did not require cross beams, which would interfere with the movement and storage of hay. Also known as the curb roof, the double slopes of the gambrel offer more volume in the hayloft without increasing the height of the side walls.
During the 1930s and 1940s, poultry farming was adopted by many farmers in New England as a replacement for dairy farming. Many large cow barns were converted into chicken barns with the addition of more floors and numerous windows and dormers.
Poultry farming grew in popularity during the second half of the 19th century, and by the early 20th century most farms had small chicken coops. These lightly-built structures often feature a gabled or shed roof and large windows on the south side. Often chicken coops have a small stove and chimney for heat to protect young chicks during cold weather. Small openings near the ground provide the fowl with access to the yard. Inside are nesting boxes for the laying hens. During the 1930s and 1940s, poultry farming was adopted by many farmers in New England as a replacement for dairy farming.
Liebman Farms [at 1629 Exeter Rd.] is significant historically because it is a large commercial poultry operation run by a Jewish family for several decades. The first Liebman acquired the farm in the 1920s. The next generation, Harold Liebman, who grew up in the house, increased the farming activity, turning to poultry, as evidenced by the large coop. He also owns coops across the street at 1624 Exeter Road and 1640 Exeter Road. His daughter’s family now occupies the house.
The premises are a well-preserved example of a substantial farm operated with emphasis on poultry by a rural Jewish family, with the family continuing to own and reside on the site. The several buildings, their relationship with one another, and the continuing family ownership, combine to make Liebman Farms an unusually significant resource in Connecticut Jewish rural history.
Jewish Farms and Resorts - documentation by Cunningham and Ransom. See also 1624 Exeter Rd. and 1629 Exeter Rd.
The Liebman property at 1644 Exeter Road is located on the north side of the road, just east of the outlet of Williams Pond, and consists of 159 acres with a 3.6-acre parcel with a house at 1624 Exeter Rd. subdivided and under different ownership (by a family member). The Liebmans own a 74-acre parcel south of the road including the house at 1624 Exeter. The Assessor’s map shows three long structures which are no longer extant (as seen from aerial mapping). One was north of the gambrel barn at 1644, one was east of the house at 1624, and the third was east of the house at 1629. Two of these were photographed by Ransom (1995).
The site is near the western edge of Lebanon in an area of mixed woodlands and open farmland, along with several lakes. Bartlett Brook is the outlet of Williams Pond and runs southeast.
Charlotte Hitchcock, reviewed by CT Trust
Town of Lebanon Assessors Record and GIS viewer: http://www.mainstreetmaps.com/CT/Lebanon/
Parcel ID: 242-33 1644 Exeter Road 159 acres. 30 x 43 ft barn, 12 x 25 ft shed.
Aerial views from:
http://www.bing.com/maps/ accessed 12/03/2010.
Cunningham, Janice, and Ransom, David; Back to the Land: Jewish Farms and Resorts in Connecticut 1890-1945, State of Connecticut Historical Commission and Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, 1998, 186 pages, pp. 152-156.
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.