Building Name (Common)Harrington Property - Scantic River State Park
Building Name (Historic)Harrington Property
Address0 Broad Brook Road (Rte 140/191)
The property includes two tobacco sheds with Shed-I towards the south and Shed-II towards further north-west of Shed-I. The ridge line of Shed-I runs north-south, almost perpendicular to Broad Brook Road towards the south while that of Shed-II runs at an angle from south-west to north-east. Shed-I is a 1 ½-story two-aisle thirteen-bent tobacco shed with its south gable-side facing Broad Brook Road. The south gable-side of the shed appears to be the main façade with two main entrances through two wagon doors. The vertical siding on the eave-sides of the tobacco shed is no longer in place. The shed has asphalt shingle roofing. Shed-II appears to be a 1 ½ - story two-aisle ten-bent tobacco shed in an advance state of dilapidation. The shed has missing vertical siding and asphalt shingle roofing exposing the wooden frame beneath.
The tobacco barn, or shed as it is called in the Connecticut River Valley, is one of the most distinctive of the single-crop barns. They tend to be long, low windowless buildings with pitched roofs. They are characterized by vented sides to regulate air flow and allow harvested tobacco to cure at the appropriate rate. Derived initially from the design of the English barn, the shed is composed of a fixed skeleton consisting of two- or three-aisle bents repeated at intervals of 15 feet to the desired length. The wood-framed bents sit on piers of stone or concrete and the bents are connected by girts and diagonal braces. Typically there are two doors at each end, making the shed a "drive-through," although some sheds are accessed through doors on the sides. The interior structural framework serves a second purpose in addition to supporting the walls and roof of the building; it provides a framework for the rails used to hang the tobacco as it cures.
This is accomplished with one of four different systems (more than one method may be utilized in a single shed):
a) Vertical slats - siding in which every second board is hinged at the top and tilted out at the bottom by means of a horizontal cleat, that lifts several boards at once, and metal prop hooks to hold the boards in place;
b) Side slats - Vertical siding in which alternate boards are hinged along the sides to open like tall narrow doors, each held in place by its own hook;
c) Less commonly, horizontal siding in which alternate boards are hinged along the top edge and open like long narrow awnings; this system may be employed along the lower edge of the wall in conjunction with vertical or side slats;
d) A series of large doors along one of the long sides of the building with the other sides of the building vented by one or more of the other methods.
e) The tobacco sheds can have additional ventilation through side-pivot awning vents on the gable-ends, which co-exist with one or more of the above four systems of ventilation.
There are two tobacco sheds on the DEP so-called 'Harrington Property' in the Melrose section of East Windsor that should be decent candidates for restoration. Both were constructed about 1939 after older sheds were destroyed by the 1938 hurricane. One holds six acres of tobacco, the other five acres. Originally built for broadleaf tobacco, they were converted for shade tobacco in the 1960s and used into the 1980s. There is also the remains of a third shed on the property which collapsed under the weight of ice and snow about 15 years ago. The DEP apparently has no plans to either restore or finish demolishing this shed. There are a number of tobacco poles in this shed that could be salvaged for use in restoring or preserving other sheds.
The property where the sheds are located was the first parcel acquired by DEP for the Scantic River State Park, a project that has never fully materialized. DEP has since leased the property to various farmers. The property is on the west side of Routes 140 and 191, but cannot be seen from the highway. Access is via a narrow dirt roadway located a short distance southerly of Holden Trucking Company, just before the sharp curve to the right. A pickup truck rather than a car is strongly recommended.
Latitude: N 41° 55.78 Longitude: W 72° 32.61