Vermont Barn Census

Among the State Historic Sites maintained by the Division for Historic Preservation is the Justin Smith Morrill Homestead. The homestead is the estate of the U.S. Senator made famous by his sponsorship of the Land Grant Act which expanded the availability of higher education in the United States. Located in Stafford, the homestead features an excellent collection of outbuildings which highlight the variety of Vermont's agricultural enterprise.

The Justin Smith Morrill Homestead is open to the public from late May through mid-October on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am - 5pm.

For more information, visit http://www.historicvermont.org/morrill/.

To learn more about the variety of agricultural buildings at the Morrill Homestead, click here to download more information. (PDF)

There are many resources available for owners who want to preserve their barns for the benefit of future generations

Property owners looking for assistance in the assessment, restoration, and repair of historic barns and related agricultural outbuildings may consider the following programs:

  • Vermont Division for Historic Preservation Barn Grants - The Division has had a 50/50 matching grants program to assist owners of historic agricultural buildings (barns, corn cribs, sheds, grist mills, etc.) since 1991. Up to $10,000 can be awarded to assist the restoration and repair of these endangered buildings. This program encourages the continued use of farm buildings. Eligible work includes restoration and repair of roofs, structure, windows, foundations and other important components of historic agricultural buildings. In 2007, $180,000 was appropriated for the barn grant program. For more information, Click Here for the barn grant website.
  • Preservation Trust of Vermont Barn Assessment Grants in Partnership with the Burlington Free Press - Though a partnership with the Burlington Free Press and the Gannett Foundation, the Preservation Trust of Vermont has a grants program to help with condition assessments for historic barns. The planning grants are available to offset the cost of a qualified contractor to evaluate the condition of an historic barn and make recommendations for its care. The consultant will prepare a report that prioritizes repairs and gives rough cost estimates. The condition assessments cost $500, of which a grant from the Preservation Trust pays $350. For more information, email ptv@ptvermont.org or visit http://www.ptvermont.org.

If you'd like to learn more about the history and construction of barns or about Vermont's agricultural history, you may be interested in the following resources.

Books:

  • Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings by Thomas Visser. This is an excellent guide to the various building types and building traditions of New England agriculture. The guide provides insight in to the types of agricultural structures to be found as well as background information - why each looks and operates the way it does.
  • Eric Sloane's An Age of Barns by Eric Sloane. The author uses superbly executed drawings to illustrate the rich building traditions found in American agriculture.
  • Dairy Barns of Georgia 2003. Published by the Georgia Historical Society in Georgia, Vermont, this guide has photographs and histories of most of the barns and farmsteads found in the town.
  • Town of Ryegate Vermont 2007 Annual Report. Among the facts and figures related to town business in their 2007 annual report, the town of Ryegate has interspersed photographs and historical information about the area's barns. The annual report is a good example of how much of a presence barns have in our communities and how important they can be.
  • Historic Properties of Addison and Rutland Counties. The Division for Historic Preservation has produced short books about the historic properties of the towns in Addison and Rutland Counties. The books include a history of the area and a list of the area's historic properties. Also included is a map and photos of selected properties. Many of the listings indicate the presence of a barn. These books are available free from the Division for Historic Preservation while supplies last. To request a copy, please send an email to mike.plummer@state.vt.us indicating the town(s) requested and the requestor's name and address.
  • Bibliography: The Division for Historic Preservation has compiled a bibliography of source material related to Vermont's agricultural history. Click Here for a copy. (PDF)

Video:

  • Barns - Legacy of Wood and Stone. Produced by Vermont Public Television. Available for sale at www.vpt.org/store/
  • A Vermont Heritage: Agricultural Buildings and Landscapes. Volume 2 of the Vermont Heritage Series, an eight-volume series of videos exploring the Green Mountain State's history and culture. A copy of the video can be purchased at http://www.perceptionsvermont.com/videos/vermontheritage.html.

Other Media

  • Barns, Sheds, Shops, and Outbuildings: An Introduction to the History, Architecture and Context of Vermont's Agricultural Buildings. A powerpoint presentation which highlights the history of the various agricultural structures used throughout the state. Click Here to open the presentation in a new window. If the presentation does not display correctly, Click Here to download the presentation as a PPT file. The file is large; 54 megabytes.

The Vermont Barn Census has been fortunate to receive some nice mentions in the media. Click on the links below to see what others are saying about us.

  • The Landscape Change Program, administered by the University of Vermont, is an outstanding online source of old photographs of locations around the state. The site pairs historic and modern photos so viewers can easily see the changes in Vermont's cultural landscape.

The Vermont Barn Census gratefully acknowledges the support of the following organizations:

A Project of the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program,
and Historic Windsor’s Preservation Education Institute, Save Vermont Barns,
Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and Preservation Trust of Vermont

This project is funded by a Preserve America Grant through the National Park Service to the State of Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.