Vermont Barn Census

Preliminary Research - 2009





Historic Census Data


Main Project Page


"Mostly farmers, and in general pretty intelligent and successful."
--Franklin,  as described by Abby Hemenway in the 1872 Vermont Historical Gazetteer.

Covered High Drive Bank Barn
This covered high drive bank barn, ca. 1890, is a well-kept example of the popular late nineteenth century style of barn.
Photo by Jennifer Parsons.

    Franklin, VT has maintained a strong agricultural tradition since it's beginnings in 1789.  This 19,400 acre
town initially found its popular Lake Carmi, then known as Franklin Pond, to be an interruption in an otherwise good agricultural landscape.  Like many small farms in Vermont, the early farms were highly diversified and largely subsistence based.  By the first US Agricultural Census of VT in 1840, Franklin had three times the number of sheep as it had dairy cows.  Yet, by 1850, Franklin had largely moved toward dairy farming, with herds of 5 to 25 cows engaged in the production of cheese and butter, to be sent by iced railroad cars to Montreal and Boston.  No fluid milk was sold until around 1870, and as demand for fresh milk grew with the populations increasing in urban areas.  Herd sizes also grew toward the end of the nineteenth century, and many barns in Franklin that were built around that time are still standing, indicating the prosperity of dairy farming in the town during that era.  Today, Franklin county still produces much of the dairy in the state of Vermont, and the town of Franklin continues in its dairy farming tradition.

1845 Agricultural Field Days poster
An excerpt from the 1845 Poster for Franklin County's Agricultural Fair, held that year in St. Albans, and presumably a forefather to the Franklin County Field Days of today.  Note the invitation to those from the "richest and most exclusively agricultural county in the state."Photo by Jennifer Parsons. Source: UVM Special Collections.
Franklin, VTDerby, VTBrownington, VTHinesburg, VTHuntington, VTRichmond, VTNorwich, VTHartford, VTDorset, VTManchester, VTTownshend, VTGrafton, VT

This preliminary research about barns and farm buildings in thirteen Vermont towns is offered as a public service to assist local volunteers with their efforts to learn more about the agricultural heritage of these communities. It is hoped that additional information on the history and features of these barns will be submitted by volunteers through the Vermont Barn Census project. The historical research and preliminary field documentation was conducted during the fall 2009 semester by graduate students enrolled in the Researching Historic Structures and Sites course at University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program with the assistance of local volunteers as part of the Vermont Barn Census, a statewide project of the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program, Historic Windsor’s Preservation Education Institute, Save Vermont Barns, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and the Preservation Trust of Vermont. Funding support provided in part by a Preserve America grant through the National Park Service to the State of Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.  The content of this site was primarily written and accumulated by Jennifer Parsons, UVM Graduate Student in Historic Preservation.