This is a large 1 ½-story bank barn with a gable roof. The primary façade faces northeast, and its ridgeline is parallel to Red Oak Hill Road, which passes this property at a northwest to southeast angle. Several modern additions are present attached to this barn. The basement level/foundation is partially exposed around all sides of this barn, creating a raised first story.
The primary façade is the northeast eave-side, which includes the primary entry. This entry consists of an oversize hinged wooden door, located just west of the center of the barn. It is accessed by a set of partial door-width iron stairs. To the immediate west of this door, along the floor line, is a horizontal window opening plated over with sheet metal. The remainder of the northeast eave-side’s west end is occupied by a long 1-story gable-roof addition stretching perpendicular from the north corner. To the east of the primary entry on the first floor northeast eave-side is an off-center three-pane horizontal floor window, the same dimensions as the previous plated over example. Immediately beside this window, to the east, is another large entry, comprised of a pair of oversize hinged wooden doors, with no access stairway. Continuing from these doors to the east corner are two more floor windows, each with three panes, the same dimensions as the previous examples. The west-most of these two windows also has an identically-sized foundation window set into a portion of the exposed mortared brown fieldstone foundation directly below it. The second floor of the northeast eave-side contains two over-width door openings of equal dimension for access to the attic loft. One of these is situated roughly in the center of the façade, the other in the eastern portion toward the corner. The corner door has a large hinged wooden door, the center opening has no door present. The ground gradually slopes down toward the east corner.
The southeast gable-end exposes the full basement level and mortared brown fieldstone foundation. Three oversize door openings are present for access to this basement, including a double-width door opening to near each corner and a single-width door located in the center. The first story has two openings on the southeast gable-end: a pass through door near the south corner, and a double-hung window located slightly off-center to the north. A large hinged wooden paired door is present centered beneath the ridgeline of the roof for access to the upper loft. A large shed roof addition spans the entire length of the southwest eave-side, which appears to be a later addition. The northwest gable-end is partially covered by the long single story addition running perpendicular along this end, however, the gable portion is exposed. A small horizontal window opening, with no glass, is centered just below the ridgeline of the roof.
The main barn is clad in horizontal wide-width wooden siding, painted red. Most of the doors appear to be unpainted. The roof is covered with brown-gray asphalt shingles. Gutters are present along the northwest and southeast eaves.
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.
c.1800 Since around 1919, four generations of the Grouten family have farmed here, using the large barn built with timber from the nearby Town Forest and milled a town saw mill. (Bark can be seen on the framing.) New barns and sheds were added over the years, some of them built by neighbor farmer/carpenter, Edward Knibbs, who also built additions to the house. The first generation of Groutens are identified with fine White Leghorn hens, but horses, cows and other poultry were also raised here. Leo and Victor M. Grouten, the current farmers, grow corn, vegetables and hay in the old Wadsworth meadows (site of the town's community gardens). For 85 years, Groutens have staffed a well-known stand "on the flats" for locally farmed produce.
The main barn is parallel to Red Oak Hill Road with the primary façade facing northeast. This barn is the center of a cluster of additions and sheds which comprise the agricultural presence at this property. The farmhouse that is associated with this property is located to the northeast of the barn, roughly in line with the long 2-story addition which projects, perpendicular, from the barns northwest gable-end. The barn and the various additions and outbuildings are connected to Red Oak Hill Road by a gravel driveway passing along the southeast side of the farmhouse. A fieldstone wall is present lining the road along the front property line. To the southeast of the driveway is a small crop field and open land, followed by a line of coniferous trees, and Fieldstone Run Road. Fieldstone Run takes a winding U route around the farm, and is the access road to a large townhouse residential development located to the south, southwest, and west of the barn. The farm is separated from the residential development by a grove of deciduous trees. To the northwest of the farm, another field of open space is adjacent to the barn, followed by a small group of trees. Beyond the trees to the northwest along Red Oak Hill Road is a pair of tennis courts and a grassy area, and the other intersection of Fieldstone Run. The land to the north and northeast, across Red Oak Hill Road, is occupied by scattered dwellings separated by tree lines separating the properties.
N. Nietering & T. Levine, reviewed by CT Trust
Photographs by Linda Guernsey.
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 Farmington, CT, retrieved on April 9, 2011 from website www.bing.com.
Farmington Assessor’s Records - online - http://www.farmington-ct.org/landrecords/search.php