The western half of the west block of this L-shaped barn is almost certainly the oldest section and may have originated as a tobacco barn. It has a dirt floor, which suggests it was not used for cows, and is notable for a spacious interior with a high roof and single-span beam.
The barn stands on the east side of Tophet Road, to the north of the small board-and-batten barn. The c. 1770 house on this property stands to the south. Features include: 26 x 50, 26 x 60; peak-roofed barn consists of two elongated blocks arranged in an L-plan. The west block is oriented with one gable to the west and intersecting at its east end with the north end of the east block; western part of the west block is probably an old English barn (now clad in drop siding), which has been elongated to the east (that part is clad in board and batten); a pair of rolling doors is centered on the south elevation of this block, which has a standing seam roof; shed addition to north; concrete block base; interior is framed with hewn timbers; dirt floor. The east block of the L-shaped barn has an asphalt shingle roof and is clad in board and batten; west side frames the barnyard; on the east side a two-part shed-roof addition runs from the south gable end to a shingled silo at the northeast corner of the barn.
The barn stands on the east side of Tophet Road, to the south of small board-and-batten barn. The c. 1770 house on this property stands to the south. Features include: 28 x 24; peak-roofed barn stands with gable ends to the east and west; shed-roofed wing extends to south; south elevation has two sets of hinged doors; scattered windows (6-pane sash); fieldstone foundation; wood frame; board and batten.
The tobacco barn, or shed as it is called in the Connecticut River Valley, is one of the most distinctive of the single-crop barns. They tend to be long, low windowless buildings with pitched roofs. They are characterized by vented sides and roofs to regulate air flow and allow harvested tobacco to cure at the appropriate rate. Derived initially from the design of the English barn, the shed is composed of a fixed skeleton consisting of two- or three-aisle bents repeated at intervals of 15 feet to the desired length. The wood-framed bents sit on piers of stone or concrete and the bents are connected by girts and diagonal braces. Typically there are one or two door openings at each end, making the shed a “drive-through,” although some sheds are accessed through doors on the sides. The interior structural framework serves a second purpose in addition to supporting the walls and roof of the building; it provides a framework for the rails used to hang the tobacco as it cures.
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 term dairy barn is used as early as the 18th century (along with “cow house”). Modern dairy barns are characterized by their interior arrangements of stanchions and gutters to facilitate milking and the removal of manure. In some cases this is just a few stalls in the corner of a barn, in others it can be a large barn dedicated to that single purpose.
A shed is typically a simple, single-story structure in a back garden or on an allotment that is used for storage, hobbies, or as a workshop. Sheds vary considerably in the complexity of their construction and their size, from small open-sided tin-roofed structures to large wood-framed sheds with shingled roofs, windows, and electrical outlets. Sheds used on farms or in industry can be large structures.
Information from a survey of Roxbury by Rachel Carley. The c. 1770 house on this property is attributed to Capt. David Leavenworth, and the farm was in Leavenworth hands for much of the 19th century and again in the 20th century. In 1949, the same year he wrote Death of a Salesman, the playwright Arthur Miller (1915-2005) purchased the property, and it remains in his family. A portion of the barn was reportedly a studio for Inge Morath (1923-2002), a noted photographer who married Miller in 1962. Former CT residence of Marilyn Monroe
Rachel D. Carley, Melissa Antonelli - CH
Additional field notes and photographs by Melissa Antonelli - 3/17/2008.
Carley, Rachel D., Barn Stories from Roxbury Connecticut, Roxbury Historic District Commission/Town of Roxbury/CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, 2010.
Cunningham, Jan, A Historic and Architectural Resource Survey of the Town of Roxbury, 1996-97.
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.