Located on the island of Nantucket, this barn, now known as Greater Light was built circa 1790. Although the exact date of construction is unknown, historic research indicates it was built sometime during the ownership of two early Macy family members who held the property between 1748 and 1814. The barn remained in the Macy family until 1866, when Zephaniah Macy (then in his eighties) sold the property with the barn to their neighbor David Folger. Folger most likely used the barn for his herd of milking cows. In the summer of 1929, Hanna and Gertrude Monaghan, two Quaker sisters, discovered the barn and saw it as a perfect structure to become their home and art studio when vacationing on the island. The sisters began working on the dilapidated building and set about transforming it into their own summer oasis, adorning it with cast-off architectural elements, decorative objects, and eclectic furniture. Hanna Monaghan, the surviving sister, bequeathed Greater Light and its contents to the Nantucket Historical Association in 1972. The building is open in the summers for visitors who can catch a glimpse at the spirit of Nantucket as an artist’s colony in the 1920s and beyond.
Cows, horses and pigs once dominated the 571-acre landscape of Scott Farm in Dummerston, VT. We have seen where the farmer, cows, and horses lived, so now it’s time to see where the pigs “pigged” out. This barn building was constructed around the time of the horse barn when the farm was owned by Frederick Holbrook II of Boston. The one-and-a-half-story pig barn, like the others, was built into the landscape which would allow for the animals to easily get into the structures. This building was used as the “Cider House” in the 1999 movie Cider House Rules.
You saw the cow barn at Scott Farm, now you can see where the horses lived! The Horse Barn at Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont is a very photogenic building with its symmetrical facade and bright colors. The barn was built not long after Frederick Holbrook II of Boston acquired most of the farm to add to Naulakha, where he lived. Holbrook used the farm as a gentleman’s farm where he would have laborers managing the grounds and supplying him with the freshest produce and dairy products. Inside, there is a ramp down to the basement which still retains the horse stalls, it’s so charming!
Historic barns really are the most charming buildings, and luckily, Vermont is home to soooo many great examples. The Cow Barn at Scott Farm in Dummerston, VT was built in 1862 and constructed into the slope of the land. The barn has a brick and stone foundation, barn board siding, and a roof sheathed with small dark slate. It is built into the slope of the land and has a single-story shed roof addition (c.1915) off the west facade to give the building a saltbox form, and a single story gable roof milk house addition off the east facade. The rear facade has a more rustic appearance and has a large entrance to the space inside which is occupied by The Stone Trust, with the mission to preserve and advance the art and craft of dry stone walling. The organization holds classes and trainings where people can learn how to build a traditional or modern stone wall and more! The barn (and the rest of the buildings on the Scott Farm property) is owned by the Landmark Trust USA.
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.
Located in Brookfield, Connecticut, the John Peck House (1812) is one of many examples of Colonial farmhouses you can find in small New England towns. The home was built for John Peck (1759-1839), the son of Deacon Henry Peck, a pioneer settler of the town. The home has long held ties to the Congregational church in town, and for some years, was the parsonage of the church. The stunning barn was constructed around 1881 for the property, and is very well preserved to this day with its cross gambrel roof and hay door. The Federal style home appears to have been modernized in the early 20th century with a Colonial Revival entry porch roof and new windows on the facade.
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.
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!
Tucked away on Baker Street in Warren, this charming little building is now home to the Federal Blues, a “militia” who was founded in 1798, and now serves as a group of men and women who march in parades in Revolutionary era uniforms with rifles and drums. This building was actually the barn for the Baker-Merchant-Dewolf House and was built in 1860 to house the owners horses and carriage. The barn was located behind the home and was moved in 1990 to safety after the nearby church wanted to demolish it for its parking lot.