Barn Record Farmington

Building Name (Common)
Hill-Stead Horse Barn (Part 2/3)
Building Name (Historic)
Hill-Stead Horse Barn
35 Mountain Road, Farmington


Historic Significance

Architectural Description:

This is a 1 ½ story multi-bay eave-entry bank barn. The western eave-façade of the barn faces Hill-Stead Museum road with its ridgeline running parallel to the road along north-south. Another 2 ½ story eave-entry hay barn with a gambrel-roof can be seen towards the south-west with its ridgeline running perpendicular along east-west. The main façade of the barn is the four-bay western eave-façade facing the road which has the main entrance on its second bay from the north through a pair of double-height exterior-hung sliding wagon doors. The sliding wagon doors are mounted under a shallow-boxed hood on semi-circular roller brackets. An eleven-pane horizontal transom window can be seen centered above the wagon-door entrance. The western eave-façade also has a six-pane stable window on its first bay from the north and a single pass-through door on the third bay from the north. A fieldstone retaining wall intercepts the façade separating the fourth bay from the north. The grade level along the façade drops beyond the retaining wall towards the east, revealing fieldstone masonry foundation below. The barn probably had the first three bays from the north originally with a fourth bay added later towards the south. The southern gable-façade of the barn has three six-pane stable windows on the first floor level with a single pass-through door toward the eastern edge. The door is accessed by a raised ramp retained by fieldstone masonry and has missing siding above it. This façade has a lower grade level with exposed fieldstone masonry wall below to form the bank along the eastern gable-façade. A three-pane window insert on the exposed field-stone masonry can be seen towards the west to light the bank behind. The gable attic of the southern gable-façade of the barn is separated from the rest of the façade with a distinct dropped girt siding divide line and is punctuated by a boarded window just below the apex of the roof. The eastern eave-façade of the barn has exposed fieldstone masonry at the bank level and is accessed by two entrances, one each on the first bay and the second bay from the north. The facade is devoid of any other significant architectural feature. The northern gable-façade of the barn is blank apart from a distinct dropped girt siding divide line separating the gable attic. The grade level along the façade can be seen rising from east to west.
The wooden frame of the barn is supported on mortared stone masonry foundation. The barn has asphalt roofing and red-painted vertical siding walls.

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 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.

Field Notes

2008 Grant Recipient Also See: Hill-Stead Museum Hay Barn (1/3)- Hill-Stead Museum Theatre Barn (3/3)- Ransom David, Hill-Stead, National Register Nomination Number- 91002056 NRIS, National Park Service, 1991. Alfred A. Pope barn, 1901 Alfred A. Pope barn, 1901 Ransom David, Hill-Stead, National Register Nomination Number- 91002056 NRIS, National Park Service, 1991 Red barn built at Hill-Stead, designed by Pope's daughter, Theodate, and built by Richard F. Jones. The bank barn, older than the red barn next to it, was built into a hillside slope. Commentary in an unidentified 1907 newspaper reported, "The 300 acre Pope estate supports a dozen horses, thirty sheep, 25 registered links, a sunken garden, an extensive vegetable garden, swine, apple and peach orchards, dairy buildings and silos." Hill-Stead Farm was especially famous for its prize-winning Guernsey, Anaesthesia's Faith (1919-1928), who was bred at Hill-Sted and was a world record holder producing 19,471 pounds of milk in a year, as well as 1,112 pounds of butterfat. Anaesthesia's Faith eventually spent time at Tillotson Farm on Town Farm Road. From an article by George Bragdon, Hartford Times, Nov. 15, 1958: In the flat river meadows near the ruins of the canal aqueduct, Theodate Pope Riddle would often go watch her flock of 300 sheep as they were driven homeward. In addition to her interest in sheep, Theodate was well known in cattle-breeding circles for her promotion of the Guernsey breed. Her father, Alfred A. Pope, established a Guernsey herd when he bought three cows as foundation stock from fellow townsman Charles J. Thompson, a charter member of the local Guernsey Club. While running her estate and farm, Theodate began buying up additional land and properties north and west of the Farmington River until she owned 3,000 acres. Among the properties acquired was the farm and home of father and son, Hezekiah and Edwin Tillotson, on (what is now) Town Farm Road. In the 1930s the Hill-Stead dairy barn was destroyed by fire. The herd was moved across the river to a big red barn Theodate built on the Tillotson place. It still stands today. Theodate Pope Riddle was Connecticut's sixth female licensed architect and gentlewoman farmer.

Use & Accessibility

Use (Historic)

Use (Present)

Exterior Visible from Public Road?




Location Integrity



Related features

Environment features

Relationship to surroundings

The property is situated on Route 4, very near to the Interstate 84 Farmington exit. It stands as a highly visible landmark at the ‘gateway’ into historic Farmington and speaks of the area’s agrarian past. Surrounded by former pasture lands and an apple orchard, they are a short distance from the Pope-Riddle House and Carriage Barn where visitors are greeted and collections are housed.

The barn is part of a three barn complex arranged in a U-shaped layout, opening to Hill-Stead Museum Road towards west. The barn forms the base of the U-shaped layout with a 2 ½ story gambrel-roofed hay barn forming one arm towards the south []. The other arm of the U-shaped barn complex towards north is formed by 1 ½ story make-shift theatre barn of the museum []. The barn complex with the three barns is an integral part of the Hill-Stead Country Place estate.

The barn precinct includes a 1901 colonial-revival style house designed by architect Theodate Pope Riddle, a carriage barn complex with a garage/workshop and a lower farm complex including the U-shaped barn complex, Timothy North Farmhouse and Shephard’s cottage.

Typology & Materials

Building Typology


Structural System

Roof materials

Roof type

Approximate Dimensions

61 ft x 30 ft


Date Compiled


Compiled By

T. Levine and M. Patnaik, reviewed by CT Trust


Photographs and information provided by –
Cynthia Cormier, Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Road, Farmington, CT-06032
860-677-4787, 860-677-0174

2008 Barns Grant application

Additional information provided by Charlotte Hitchcock,

Ransom David, Hill-Stead, National Register Nomination Number- 91002056 NRIS, National Park Service, 1991.

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