Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Wintertime, especially with snow on the ground, provides a beautiful landscape for photographing barns. In the spirit of the upcoming holidays I am posting a few examples of these photographs we have received!

Looking back, this time of year is one of the best for photographing barns.

This barn sits near the mid-18th century Stiles house farmed by the family from the 17th century to the present. The wreath gives this English bank barn in Southbury CT a holiday feel to it. The photograph was taken after the leaves had all fallen and provides us with a more detailed and clear view.

Once the snow starts falling we are given another opportunity to photograph barns in a different landscape, equally beautiful. The snow seems to give these examples a peaceful holiday look!

Located in Easton CT on North Street, this English barn is an excellent example of how a little bit of snow and no leaves can provide barn hunters with a clear view in a serene winter setting.

Above is another of our "holiday barns". It is located in Northford CT on the Old Post Road.

We are looking forward to the upcoming year and would like to say, from all of us here at Connecticut Barns, Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Celebrate Chickens!

In anticipation of the coming holiday, today is all about poultry.

Long long ago, back in the twentieth century, there were a LOT of chickens in Connecticut. Our volunteer barn crews have sent in more than 20 chicken coops so far - here's a small one in Canterbury.

Sad to say, most of them are no longer in use for poultry.

They range from neat and trim, to empty shells like this in Ashford.

Some old barns were converted to chicken coops by the addition of extra little windows, like this one in Stafford.

The purpose-built coop is most often two or even three stories with a nearly flat roof, and long rows of windows.
This one in Ellington has enough room for 22,000 chickens.

Most of the chicken coops we've seen so far are in the northeast part of the state,

but here is Brenda's Silver Lace Wyandotte, who lays her eggs in Bethany.

Check out our web site - search under "Historic Use" and you'll be able to browse the chicken coops.

Photos: T. Ells, J. Szalay, P. Niessen, C. Seifert, C. Hitchcock

Monday, November 2, 2009

Falling leaves - perfect for barn-spotting

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are falling fast - that means the best time of year is coming for barn photography!

It may sound crazy but once those beautiful red and orange leaves are down, we get a better view of the barns themselves, and the low sun angles are super for good pictures.

Here's a connected barn complex in Woodbury that is only revealed when the leaves are off.

At this bank barn in Beacon Falls, the horses enjoy the warmth of the sun - they probably don't care about the dramatic backdrop!

In case you're getting tired of barn red, take a look at this rare octagonal barn on the Woodbury-Southbury town line - a treat for the winter tourist.
If you like taking pictures, we're planning our next workshop for volunteers - it's a chance to join the crew of barn surveyors. The shoreline towns from Groton to Old Lyme are our target audience but all are welcome.

Learn about the history of Connecticut barns (with lots of pictures) and how you as a volunteer can help find and document barns throughout the state. It's on November 19, 6 pm at the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library. Call Historic Barns at 203.562.6312 for more details.

Monday, October 19, 2009

An Exciting Day In The Field.

Hello fellow barn lovers, owners, and hunters, my name is Stephanie Lessard aka the "CT Trust Intern." I started working in mid-September as an intern for the Historic Barns project. On October 5th "Barn Hunter Charlotte" and I spent the day surveying historic barns in Chaplin, Connecticut. This was my first time in the field and hopefully not the last!

While driving through Chaplin, Charlotte and I had our eyes peeled for barns and always kept in mind to look for signs of agriculture in the area. While doing so we were able to find the local historic district. As we drove through, we almost felt like we had stepped back in time. Chaplin Street's historical character has been incredibly maintained! This was one of my favorite parts of the day!
One of the great things about this project is being able to explore the state I live in and, being from Fairfield, I had never spent time in the northeastern part before. This is a great time of year to hunt for barns too! For lunch we picnicked on the river beneath one of Chaplin's many bridges. The foliage was beautiful and many animals were out and about. By the end of our day, Charlotte and I photographed over 50 barns and had seen a lot of Chaplin. It was an overall ideal day for a barn hunter!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Travels of a Barn Hunter

I’m Charlotte Hitchcock writing today's post. I began working for the Historic Barns project as a volunteer barn-hunter in 2007. I “adopted” several towns and went out looking for the barns. It was a great way to learn more about the back roads of the state I’ve lived in for 35 years.

Many of my favorite barns are on the working farms.

Some of them are beautifully maintained – an impressive accomplishment considering their size! This New England dairy barn at Hayland Farm in Orange was built in 1910 with fire-proof brick and stone to replace an earlier barn that had burned. The farm delivered milk to New Haven and brought back garbage to feed the pigs.

Other barns show the wear and tear of their long history, with repairs and adaptations that are made with materials at hand. Here’s a bank barn in Coventry – the open fields run down to the banks of the Willimantic River.

Orange, Charlotte Hitchcock; Coventry, Julie Rosen

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Beginning

Hello all and thanks for tuning in to this weeks (our first!) blog. My name is Todd Levine and I am director of Historic Barns of Connecticut, a Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation program. The goal of program is to protect and nourish the vitality of Connecticut's significant barns.

The Connecticut barn is a symbol of our agricultural origins and often conjures up a feeling of hearth and home for those who live here (especially those returning from a trip via Bradley International Airport and driving by the fields of tobacco sheds). Regrettably, this symbol is in jeopardy. As agriculture in Connecticut has declined and farms have gone out of business, their buildings, no longer needed, sit empty and decaying.

Another threat is demolition by design—in the form of development. When farms no longer generate enough income through their produce, a new way of getting money out of the land is sought. The result is the process of turning farmland into developments that have no place for barns.

The Connecticut Trust has recognized this predicament. Since 2004 the Trust’s Historic Barns of Connecticut project has produced a website, a series of information workshops, documentation for nearly 2,000 barns across the state, and a grant program to support historic barns.

Now, the Trust is able to extend and expand its project. Thanks to a two-year grant of $174,000 from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, the Trust is pleased to announce the next phase its survey of significant barns across the entire state. It is the Trust’s goal to make this the most comprehensive statewide survey of barns in the country, and this survey could well have an impact on federal and state policy and funding for farms and barns.

We have already started the process: our first workshop on August 6th focused on Ashford, Eastford, Chaplin, Stafford, Union and Willington. This workshop has generated over 500 windshield surveys of barns!!!!

Our next workshop is this Wednesday and focuses on Bozrah, Franklin, Ledyard, Lisbon, Montville, Norwich, Preston and Sprague. Please join us at a presentation & workshop on September 23rd, 2009 at 6pm at the Slater Memorial Museum, located at 305 Broadway in Norwich CT.

This blog will attempt to provide a running narrative of the survey project and grant program, share with you all the fantastic photographs of historic barns taken from dedicated volunteers, and become a meeting place for barns lovers across the state. My hope is that you all will contribute and we can build a community of barn preservationists. I can always be contacted via email at or phone at 203-562-6312.

in order of appearance-Thompson by Jane Montanaro; Southbury by James Sexton; Milford by Todd Levine