The barn complex includes a tall central structure surrounded on all sides by attached additions including sheds and gable-roofed pole barns.
The central structure is a monumentally-scaled 3 ½-story gable-roofed barn oriented roughly north-south. Attached along the full length of the west eave-side is a 2 ½-story shed-roofed addition (A). This has a row of 15 one-over-one double-hung windows at ground level in the west side, interspersed with 3 pass-through doors near the left (north) end. The second level has 2 hay doors, a hinged one off-center toward the left (north) and a pair of sliding hay doors off-center toward the right (south). The central structure has a row of 8 horizontal ten-pane windows under the eaves above where the shed roof is flashed into the vertical wall.
The north gable-end of the central structure has giant lettering in the upper part of the wall, spelling “SAM PALETSKY CATTLE DEALER EAST MORRIS.” The roof has a
Projecting hay hood, indicating that at one time there was a hay door, now closed. At the ground level there is an attached 1-story gable-roofed structure (Addition B) with its ridge-line oriented north-south aligned with the main structure. Its width corresponds to that of the central barn and its west addition. The addition has a concrete foundation, a row of 8 one-over-one windows along each of the west and east eave-sides. The north gable-end has a sliding exterior barn door flanked by a window on each side. The roof has two galvanized metal ventilators.
The east eave-side has a shed-roofed addition (C) similar to the west side, along the south two-thirds of its length, with similar ground-floor windows and similar high windows (5 on the east side) under the eaves of the central structure. Projecting eastward from the east side are two gable-roofed structures. The more northerly (Addition D) is a 1 ½-story gable-roofed structure with its ridge-line oriented east-west. This could be a formerly free-standing barn, later connected to the taller central barn by a shed-roofed addition, as it has the typical 3-bay layout visible on the north eave-side, with a centered sliding barn door. On its east gable-end there is an attic window, and on the south eave-side is a 1-story shed-roofed addition the full length of the structure. Grade slopes down toward the east, exposing some of the stone foundation. The southern addition to the east side (Addition E) is a saltbox-roofed structure with its 1-story eave-side to the north and its 2-story side facing south. The structure abuts the east side of the central structure partially and also is connected to a series of additions off the south end. The east gable-end has 3 windows – two horizontal stable windows in the ground floor and one attic window near the peak. Some foundation stonework is visible on the east side. Two silos of galvanized steel panels with domed roofs are located to the south of this structure. A 1-story gable-roofed structure (Addition F) is located between the silos and an addition to the west; it has its ridge-line oriented north-south and appears to be connected to Addition E and to the pair of silos but to be free-standing of the next addition (G) on its west side. There are 4 small windows on the south-facing gable-end.
The south gable-end of the main central structure has a window near the peak and some signs of former openings in the second level. At the ground level there is an attached 1 ½-story gable-roofed addition (G) with its ridge-line oriented north-south. The east and west eave-sides each have a row of one-over-one windows interspersed with several doors. The gable-end has an overhead door flanked by two windows on each side and a hay door above. The roof has 2 galvanized steel ventilators. Projecting west from the west eave-side, off-center toward the left (north) is a gable-roofed 1 ½-story addition (H) with its ridge-line oriented east-west. This appears as if it could have been a free-standing cape-style house or it may be a milk-room addition. The south eave-side has two dormers in the roof and a brick chimney attached near the southwest corner. The west gable-end two one-over-one double-hung windows at the ground floor and 3 louvered vents in the attic. The north eave-side has a shed dormer with 3 windows off-center to the west in the roof, and a door at the center and a one-over-one double-hung window to the right (west).
Siding is wood horizontal lap siding. Roofs of the central structure and the west and east shed additions have deep overhangs supported at the rakes by exposed purlin ends. Roofing is asphalt shingles.
The New England barn or gable-front barn was 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 built.
By the early 20th century agricultural engineers developed a new approach to dairy barn design: the ground-level stable barn, to reduce the spread of tuberculosis bacteria by improving ventilation, lighting, and reducing the airborne dust of manure. A concrete slab typically serves as the floor for the cow stables. Many farmers converted manure basements in older barns into ground-level stables with concrete floors. Some older barns were jacked up and set on new first stories to allow sufficient headroom. With the stables occupying the entire first story, the space above serves a a hayloft. By the 1920s most ground-level stable barns were being constructed with lightweight balloon frames using two-by-fours or two-by-sixes for most of the timbers. Novelty or tongue-and-groove beveled siding is common on the walls, although asbestos cement shingles also were a popular sheathing. Some barns have concrete for the first-story walls, either poured in place or built up out of blocks.
Most ground-level stable barns and free-stall dairy barns built since the 1970s have no hayloft. Instead, the roofs are supported by prefabricated wooden trusses covered with metal roofing. While most single-story truss-roofed barns in New England are constructed with concrete foundations and stud-framed walls, pole barns with open sides are becoming popular, especially for sheltering large herds of dairy cows, heifers, and beef cattle. Many of these large truss-roofed structures are free-stall barns, introduced in the late 1940s.
In this instance the gable-end doors of the original New England barn have been covered by pole-barn additions at the north and south. The pole barn additions and the shed additions on the west and east sides have combined to create a large ground-level stable barn configuration for this extensive dairy farm operation at its peak in the mid- to late- 20th century.
Samuel and Bernard Paletsky began farming in Morris, followed by Samuel’s son David Paletsky (1943-2009). Steven Paletsky, son of Bernard, is in the home construction business while Benjamin, son of David, has a real estate business. The family is now seeking a sustainable way to preserve the core farmstead through agri-tourism.
Listed on the State Register of Historic Places 3/06/2013 2011 Barns Grant recipient.
Higbie Road runs roughly north-south, angling toward the east as it approaches the intersection with East Street (Rte 109) at its north end. The barn complex of the Paletsky Farm is located on the east side of Higbie Road near the corner of East Street. The property is 92 acres, and the extended Paletsky family owns numerous other parcels including family dwellings further south on Higbie Road, other farmland, and real estate including residential subdivisions. The barn complex is oriented approximately north-south and is located at the west edge of the property which extends east to Watertown Road (Rte 63) and south to Anderson Road, with the exception of some areas that have been subdivided for home construction. The area is a mix of open farmland and wooded areas with areas of residential development on relatively large lots. The center of Morris is 1 mile to the west along East Street and Litchfield is to the north along Rte 63. Several reservoirs and lakes are nearby including Bantam Lake 3 miles to the northwest. The property includes two silos located adjacent to the southeast corner of the building complex, and a free-standing 1-story gable-roofed structure to the east. A farm pond is southeast of the barn complex and a stream runs southeastward through the property. There appears to be no farmhouse on this property; several family homes are nearby and include an Italian-villa style house c. 1860 at 58 Higbie Road and a Colonial style house c. 1740 at 95 Thomaston Road.
Charlotte Hitchcock, reviewed by CT Trust
Field notes and photographs by Benjamin Paletsky date 05/10/2011.
Town of Morris Assessor’s Record http://data.visionappraisal.com/MorrisCT
21 Higbie – owned by Ruth Paletsky et al
Parcel ID: 17/ 460/ 21 92 acres House built c. 1900
BRN5 2 STORY 3600 S.F. STB1 STABLE 2176 S.F. BRN1 BARN - 1 STORY 3927 S.F.
BRN1 BARN - 1 STORY 560 S.F. BRN3 1 STORY W/LOFT 2880 S.F. SHD1 SHED FRAME 216 S.F.
FGR1 GARAGE 1450 S.F. SHD1 SHED FRAME 144 S.F.
58 Higbie owned by David Paletsky
Parcel ID: 17/ 460/ 58 2.75 acres, House: 1860 BRN1 BARN - 1 STORY 2305 S.F.
68 Higbie owned by Palestsky & Wasserman
Parcel ID: 17/ 460/ 68 53.80 ACres
http://www.bing.com/maps accessed xx/xx/2010.
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.