Windsor Open Barns Tour

October 17, 2009       1pm – 4:30pm



On Saturday, October 17, 2009 from 1-4:30 p.m., Windsor Historical Society presents a rare opportunity for the public to tour a selection of historic Windsor barns and a tobacco shed owned by the Brown family.  A brochure with a map, driving and parking directions and information on each of the barns may be purchased at Windsor Historical Society.  Cost is $10 for adults and $9 for WHS members.  The five Windsor barns on the tour may be visited in any order; participants will be met at the barns by informed guides who will point out architectural details and points of interest.  The barns on the tour include two on the property of Lon and Jane Pelton, who have reconverted them for office space, storage, and an art loft.  Recycling is a passion for the Peltons and barns tour participants will have an opportunity to see many of Lon Pelton’s sculptural works formed from agricultural and industrial fragments. 


Bob and Dorothy McAllister’s barn is notable for the tin-sided water holding tank at the top.    A gravity- fed system inside provided water to all of the barn animals.  A grain box and chute and a variety of trap doors were used to get hay and grains to the farm animals.  Methane, a by-product from the cow manure was piped into the main house and used to power gas lamps inside.


Terry and Diane Healy’s barn was moved from Avon Old Farm Inn’s grounds to Windsor in 1977, where it served its new owner as a woodshop.   It has changed in function but location of the barn’s original animal stalls and haymows may be determined from empty mortise holes and evidence of floor joists.


In the Poquonock section of town, a magnificent post and beam barn owned by the Carmon family will be on view.  The barn was built by John A. DuBon, the first person to cultivate shade tobacco in Connecticut.  Stories are told that DuBon mounted the stairs to the cupola frequently to keep an eye on his farmhands as they worked the land which extended all the way west to Poquonock Avenue.


The Browns have been raising cigar tobacco since the 1860’s and the land is now being farmed by the sixth generation of Browns.  Take a hayride or walk to one of their tobacco sheds where the tobacco curing process will be explained and participants will have the chance to see the vents at the top and sides of our area’s distinctive tobacco sheds, steaming machines and burners which are used to control the drying process.  If weather permits, participants will see a barn filled with almost-cured tobacco leaves hanging from laths. 


The open barns tour will be complimented by Windsor photographer Lowell Fewster’s exhibition Windsor Barn Stories which may viewed on the walls of the Society’s meeting room.   A beautiful 2010 calendar featuring Fewster’s Windsor barn photographs is available for purchase at $10.99.


Windsor Historical Society’s fall programming is made possible by Connecticut Humanities Council, Greater Hartford Arts Council, and Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.



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