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