Tag Archives: General William Tryon

A Noble Barn

A recent “06880” post about the decaying condition of the former Red Barn restaurant drew plenty of comments.

But it’s not the only barn that readers worry about.

Dave Wilson is concerned about Elmstead Lane. That’s the small street connecting South Turkey Hill and South Morningside, near Greens Farms Road.

Elmstead Lane barn (Photo courtesy of ConnecticutBarns.org)

It’s certainly historic.

Built in 1771 by the Andrews family — original settlers of West Parish — it was apparently spared by British General William Tryon, when he burned much of Fairfield 8 years later during the Revolutionary War.

The property was also home to Bessie Jennings, the Westporter whose historic tours (now memorialized as Jennings Trail) educated generations of children.

According to a website dedicated to historic Connecticut barns, its architecture is significant.

The New England barn or gable-front barn was the successor to the English barn and relies on a gable entry rather than an entry under the eaves. The gable front offers many practical advantages. Roofs drain off the sides, rather than flooding the dooryard.

With the main drive floor running parallel to the ridge, the size of the barn could be increased to accommodate larger herds by adding additional bays to the rear gable end.

Although it was seen by many as an improvement over the earlier side-entry English Barn, the New England barn did not replace its predecessor but rather coexisted with it, as both types continued to be built.

But the Elmstead barn has seen better days. As it celebrates its 250th anniversary, there may not be many more years left.

(Photos/Dave Wilson)