Canterbury Shaker Horse Barn // 1819

This large, shingled horse barn at Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire, was built in 1819 and measures 60 x 40 feet. The massive barn structure showcases the significance of horses and agriculture for the rural community, which lived off the land.

Colt Dairy Barn // 1917

Samuel Pomeroy Colt (1855-1921), a Bristol industrialist, purchased three farms on Poppasquash Neck, in Bristol, Rhode Island in 1905. One of the farms he aquired, Coggeshall Farm, was featured in my last post. On the newly consolidated farmland, just outside the hustle-and-bustle of Bristol’s downtown core, Colt built a large summer dwelling called ‘The Casino’. He lived at his family estate in town a majority of the year, but used ‘The Casino’ as a gentleman’s farm and a space to raise his prize-winning Jersey cattle and Berkshire sows. Colt wished that the citizens of town share his enjoyment of the property and had an open invitation carved onto the marble piers at the estate entrance which reads, “Private Property, Public Welcome”; access was freely allowed at the farm and shoreline. The two marble piers at the entrance to the estate are topped with massive bronze bulls modeled after two of Colt’s bulls, and were cast in Paris by Val d’Onse Company. Colt died in 1921. His will specified that Colt Farm not be sold and that it remain accessible to the public. Though he left a sum to operate the farm, it ran a deficit. The Casino was demolished in the 1960s as it was consistently destroyed by vandals, and became a public safety concern. The lasting cow barn was built in 1917, from designs by architect Wallis E. Howe. The barn utilized field stone from existing stone walls on the property and is capped with a red tile roof. The barn is unlike anything I have ever seen, and now is park offices. In 1965, after approval by Bristol voters, the State of Rhode Island purchased 466 acres of the Colt estate and created the largest public park in the Bristol County, known as Colt State Park.

West Monitor Barn // 1903

There is something about red barns that just scream Vermont! Located in Richmond, the West Monitor Barn is one of the best-preserved large barns in the region. The West Monitor Barn was constructed in 1903 by Uziel Whitcomb. At the turn of the century when agriculture represented 70% of the American economy, the Whitcomb’s operation was one of the most successful; at a time when the average farm had eight cows, the Whitcomb’s had hundreds. Hay and grain were planted and harvested by hand and horse. More than 175 cows were milked three times a day by hand inside of this barn. Milk went from cow to pail, to can, and then was driven to market by horse and wagon. It was an operation that represented the epitome of hand-powered farming, and was an operation admired nationwide. The farm was so large and eventually shut down decades later, leaving the iconic barn to decay. A new owner purchased the structure and began a massive restoration project which took years. About 40% of the timbers in the reconstructed barn are original and the rest have been carefully and accurately re-fabricated. In addition, the stone foundation and walls are all original stone – quarried by hand from the back fields. The East Monitor Barn also on the property is in fair condition and could use the same updates. The barn is now commonly used as a venue for weddings and other special events!

Whitney’s Octabarn // 1907

One of the more “Vermont” building types is the cattle barn. When I was driving through the charming town of Tunbridge, I saw a massive barn out of the corner of my eye and had to slam on the brakes to get out and take a photo of one of the most unique I have ever seen! This octagonal bam was built by Lester Whitney, a descendent of the Whitney family, which played a significant role in the pioneering, settlement and community life of the historical town of Tunbridge. The Whitney Farm was primarily a dairy farm, with the growing of corn and hay, raising horses, making butter, and cutting ice from a pond created by damming the brook near the old brickyard. The Whitney’s raised sheep, made maple syrup and had an apple orchard south of the house. The purpose of a round barn was that the circular shape has a greater volume-to-surface ratio than a square barn. Regardless of size, this made round barns cheaper to construct than similar-sized square or rectangular barns because they required less materials. It also would be easier for carriages, plows and animals to navigate as there were no sharp corners to go around.