Barn Record Oxford

Building Name (Common)
Building Name (Historic)
31 Towner Lane, Oxford



Historic Significance

Architectural description:

This structure is actually two barns joined together gable-end to gable-end.  Barn I is a 1 1/2-story eave-entry/gable-entry barn with a 1-story shed-roof addition attached on the north eave-side. The ridge-line of Barn I and Barn II are parallel to Towner Road which runs east-west.  The surface of the roof of Barn I is continuous as it curves over the shed-roof addition on the north. 

The south eave-side of Barn I has a double-height exterior hung sliding barn door just east of center which slides to the east.  There are four six-pane widows grouped horizontally just west of the sliding barn door.  A pass-through door is located adjacent to the four windows just to the west and another group of four six-pane horizontally grouped windows are located just west of the door.  On the upper level at the west corner is an opening, which could have once been a hay door. 

Continuing to the west is the south eave-side of Barn II which is set back from the south eave-side of Barn I.  From the east corner to the west is first a horizontal ten-pane window with trim, then a pass-through door, next is a square six-pane window with trim, then another square six-pane window spaced equally, then an opening which appears to have been a sliding barn door. 

The west gable-end of Barn I appears to have an opening on the south corner which is now covered with metal panels.  A horizontal opening is centered in the gable-attic, which is now filled in with a metal panel.  The west gable-end of Barn II has a six-pane window at the south corner and a four-pane window centered in the gable-attic. 

The north eave-side of Barn II which appears to have had large door openings, which are now boarded up.  There is a shed-roof dormer centered in the gambrel roof of Barn II.  The north eave-side of Barn I is entirely encompassed by the shed-roof addition and appears to have four, six-pane windows on the west corner.  A door opening is just east of the windows, and just east of the door opening is another row of four, six-pane windows. 

There appears to be a pass-through door at the north corner of the east side of the shed-roof addition.  The original roof level of the shed-roof addition is visible on east gable-end, however an alteration was made from the second gambrel pitch to a straight extension to the north wall of the addition.  On the east gable-end of Barn I is a single sliding barn door, located just south of center, which slides to the north and is mounted on an exterior track.  There may have once been a hay door on an upper level since the gambrel roof extends out at the center. 

Both barns are clad in vertical siding which has been replaced in some sections with horizontal siding, metal panels or plywood.  The south, west and north elevations are painted red with white trim, the east is mostly unpainted.  The gambrel roof is clad in asphalt shingles.

Historical significance:

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 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.

Field Notes


Use & Accessibility

Use (Historic)

Use (Present)

Exterior Visible from Public Road?




Location Integrity



Related features

Environment features

Relationship to surroundings

This property is in a residential/rural area.  The barn is located on 64.5 acres consisting of a house, the barns and other structures of unknown purpose.  The barns are set back approximately 750 feet north of Towner Lane with their ridge-lines parallel to the road.  Approximately 80 feet south of Barn I is a Cape style house which was built in 1930 and which is set back 630 feet north of the road and whose ridge-line runs perpendicular to the road.  The property is composed of a combination of open pasture and stands of mixed deciduous trees.  The house is clad in asbestos siding and the gable roof is clad with asphalt shingles.

Book 300, Page 1236, Parcel No. 3/29/16, Account No. K0192100

Typology & Materials

Building Typology


Structural System

Roof materials

Roof type

Approximate Dimensions

Barn I: 1260 square feet, Barn II: 672 square feet.


Date Compiled


Compiled By

R. Rothbart & T. Levine, reviewed by CT Trust


Field notes and photographs by Dottie Debisschop, 2/22/2009

Town of Oxford Assessor’s Record:

Vision Appraisal Online Database:

Parcel ID: 3/29/16

Aerial Mapping:
Google Earth: 8/30/2010 accessed 04/04/2010.

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