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Barns of Avon - Town of Avon Barn Survey




Ongoing Barn Research: "Cold Spring Farm"

In 1972, the National Register of Historic Places designated a section of West Avon as the Pine Grove Historic District. The District consists of the 18 th-century Sunrise Farm; the 1789 Isaac Woodford Farm; the 1820 David Rood Farm; the 1840 Marcus Thompson Farm; the 1865 one-room Pine Grove Schoolhouse; and the 1843 Cold Spring Farm. All located within walking distance of each other, the historic properties retain their rural, agrarian character, despite the encroachment of modern development.

It is believed that Ephraim Woodford built the house at Cold Spring Farm in 1843, the year in which he was married. In 1902, Richard and Sarah Bates Thompson (who were from Warren, Connecticut) bought the farm. Their son, Albert inherited the farm in 1910, after Richard died.

Albert was a dairy farmer with a herd of about 30 cows; he also grew sweet corn, which he sold at the Farmerís Market in Hartford. He and his wife, Vesta Lourie Thompson, had five children, who helped with the farm chores and went to Pine Grove School across the street. Albert stopped farming in the 1960s, but the Thompson family continued to live at Cold Spring for the next forty years, selling it in 2008 to a new owner, who loves its history and historic designation.

Cold Spring Farm

Looking much as it did when the Thompson family arrived at the turn of the last century, the farmstead still retains its views over the wide fields of Sunrise Farm to the east and of Pine Grove Schoolhouse to the south. Named for the spring found on the north-west portion of the approximately 40 original acres, the property now consists of about 1ľ acres. There are two antique barns, an antique home, and several outbuildings.

The 1843, one and one-half story, Greek-Revival farmhouse has an attached one-story kitchen-ell and attached to this is a garage (formerly a carriage house). Behind this is a two-story white barn, with a hay loft, that has wide, double doors on both the front and the rear of the building. Horses would pull the farm wagon through the rear doors, where they were unhitched and led out through the front doors.

The red dairy barn, circa 1850, is set on a high, brownstone and mortar foundation. It is three stories with an attached lean-to at the back, giving it a salt-box shape. Called an English-style barn because the large doors are located under the eaves on the long side of the structure, it is of post and beam construction. White-wash still clings to the beams in the lower floor.

A red-painted silo, also with a rock and mortar foundation, once stood on the east side of this barn. Another silo was elsewhere on the property. Other outbuildings, including a one-story chicken house to the west and a milk-shed near West Avon Road, complete the present farmstead.

After the deaths of Albert and Vesta, their children and grandchildren published a cookbook entitled: Recollections of Cold Spring Farm, Good Times and Good Food at the Farm. Although filled with recipes, it is the love that this family had for each other and the joy of life they shared that jumps from every page. It is hoped that the current owner will find all of this, too, at Cold Spring Farm.

Written and submitted by Liz Neff


Is yours or your neighbor's barn already part of an ongoing survey?

The Avon Historical Society, along with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, is currently in the process of photographing all the barns in Avon, whether new or antique. 

These surveys will provide a record for both residents and historians who wish to research the agrarian heritage of Avon.  When completed, the survey will reside in the Marian Hunter History Room at the Avon Free Public Library, as well as at the Living Museum.

If you happen to live near or even own a barn that you think should be included in this survey, please contact Liz Neff at 860-673-4160 regarding this ongoing project.


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