Significant features of the English barn include hand-hewn, post-and-beam, hardwood timber frame, with flared columns and half dovetail tenons on the girts (see drawing). Most of the boards sheathing the walls appear to be original as they are up to 23 inches wide fastened with hand-wrought nails. In the 18th century, this structure would have been a general purpose barn, sheltering grain and hay crops as well as farm animals.
The Glendale Barns Architectural Conservation Assessment, partially funded by a grant from the Preservation Trust of Vermont, makes the statement regarding the English barn that it is "... historically significant as evidence of the initial permanent English-speaking settlement of this region of Vermont." The construction materials and remarkable joinery in the English barn speak eloquently of this period in local history.
Glen Dale farm attained its present appearance under the ownership of Milo B. Williamson, a breeder of Merino sheep and "gentleman's driving horses." The present Italianate style farmhouse and additional barns are pictured in Burgett's 1876 Illustrated and Topographical Atlas of the State of Vermont". The barn complex is remarkably intact when compared to the Burgett illustration and constitutes one of the best surviving examples of nineteenth century stock and sheep farms in the state.
The English barn is the second from the left as pictured in the Burgett lithograph. The two larger barns in front were built to house horses and carriages. The ventilated cupolas and the raking eaves trim are typical of barns built in Vermont during the 1870s and 1880s. The rearmost structure is the sheep barn, one of the few remaining, unaltered such buildings in the state.
Glen Dale owner Milo B. Williamson was a prominent figure in the Vermont Merino Sheep Breeders Association. He was treasurer of the Association in 1879-1881, and president in 1882-188. In partnership with Jerome P. Cherbino of Middlebury, he owned and bred Spanish stock Merino sheep during the period when Addison County dominated the world market.
Remaining remarkable intact for over 100 years, the Glen Dale barns are featured in the Vermont Heritage Video Series produced by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. They appear in the video that documents the agricultural history of Vermont.
The Division for Historic Preservation's recently published book "The Historic Architecture of Addison County lists the Glen Dale barns as being on the Vermont State Register of Historic Places. The farm is mentioned specifically in the introduction to the section on Cornwall, describing it as one of several model stock farms operating in Cornwall during the second half of the l9th century. The property also has been reviewed and found to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Glen Dale Farm barns are a local landmark in the Town of Cornwall and surrounding environs. The 171 Beers Atlas of Addison county shows the prominent location of the M.B. Williamson property on Cider Mill Road. John Axtell in the Division for Historic Preservation, Historic Sites and Structures Survey commented that Glen Dale Farm "... on its ridgetop site is and ought to be preserved as an accurate and invaluable document of post-Civil War agricultural life in Vermont."
Johnson, Curtis 3., ed., The Historic Architecture of Addison County, State of Vermont, Division for Historic Preservation, Montpelier, 1992.
Register of the Vermont Merino Sheep Breeders' Association, Vol. II, Rutland, 1883.
Visser, Thomas D., Barns, Glen Dale Stock Farm, Cornwall, Vermont. Architectural Conservation Assessment, University of Vermont, Burlington, October 1992.