Building Name (Common)Squires-Scranton Barn
Building Name (Historic)Squires-Scranton Barn
Address322 Main Street (Rte 17)
This is a 2 ½ -story eave-entry barn with two shed-roof additions encompassing the entire length of its west and the east gable-ends. The north eave-side of the barn faces Talcott Lane while shed-roof addition on the east gable-end continues towards the south to form a L-shaped complex with the main barn. The ridge line of the main barn runs east-west parallel to Talcott Lane but perpendicular to Main Street. The main façade of the barn appears to be the north eave-façade with the main entrance at the center through a pair of double-height exterior-hung sliding wagon doors. The west gable-end of the barn has a nine-pane stable window centered in the gable attic with the shed-roof addition below continuing towards the south. The west eave-side of the shed-roof addition has five similar nine-pane stable windows and a margin of exposed coursed field-stone masonry foundation along the grade level. The south side-wall of the shed-roof addition has board-and-batten siding punctuated by two six-pane stable windows with trim at the sill-level. The south eave-side of the main barn has an entrance at the center with transom windows. A hinged pass-through door can be seen immediately towards the east of this entrance. An exterior-hung sliding wagon door entrance can be seen towards the eastern edge, separated from the pass-through door by a six-pane stable window with trim. The south eave-side of the barn has two window openings at the second floor level. The gable roof of the main barn has an arched louvered cupola with brackets and a horse weather vane at the center.
The wooden frame of the barn complex is supported on coursed field-stone masonry foundation. The barn complex has asphalt shingle roofing and light yellow painted vertical siding apart from the south side-wall of the shed-roof addition on the west gable-end of the main barn which has board-and-batten siding.
The oldest barns still found in the state are called the "English Barn,” “side-entry barn,” “eave entry,” or a 30 x 40. They are simple buildings with rectangular plan, pitched gable roof, and a door or doors located on one or both of the eave sides of the building based on the grain warehouses of the English colonists' homeland. The name “30 by 40” originates from its size (in feet), which was large enough for 1 family and could service about 100 acres. The multi-purpose use of the English barn is reflected by the building's construction in three distinct bays - one for each use. The middle bay was used for threshing, which is separating the seed from the stalk in wheat and oat by beating the stalks with a flail. The flanking bays would be for animals and hay storage.
Geographical constraints, as well as advantages, and a particularly heterogeneous settlement population drawn from all over the Connecticut Colony, were some of the factors that shaped the course of Durham’s history, transforming the town from a self-sufficient farming village into a relatively cosmopolitan center of commercial agriculture and small-scale, agrarian-based industry.
Prior to settlement the Town of Durham was known as the Coginchaug, or Great Swamp. Most of the land in the town had been granted to individuals for distinguished service to the colony in military or civic affairs in the seventeenth century. All of these men were absentee owners; none were anxious to occupy what was then one of the least desirable areas for settlement in the colony. Swamp and marshland occupied most of the central part of the area, surrounded by rolling hills overlaying rocky ledges. Less than one third of the mere 15,000 acres was suitable for cultivation.
The property is listed in the Historic District inventory as the Squires-Scranton House. In 1920 the property was owned by John Southmayd.
The main residence, Squire Scranton House, is a contributing building to the Main Street Historic District of Durham (139, Main Street). http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/86002837.pdf http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/86002837.pdf
Additional text by Rachel Parris