West View Farm
Municipality: Waterford, VT
Location: TH34 ca. 1200' SW of SH4
Site Type: Farm
Vt Survey No: 0316-24
UTMs: (Zone 18) E: . N:
National Register Nomination Information:
The West View Farm complex is a collection of nineteenth and early twentieth century agricultural buildings which have been maintained in their original state to an unusual extent. These buildings are located on both sides of Town Highway #34, an unpaved road, in Waterford, Vermont, and are surrounded by 150 acres of hayfields, pastures and woodlands. West View Farm, therefore, retains the integrity and feeling of its period of significance. She outstanding feature of this farm is a round barn, built in 1903, that is not only unusual because of its shape, but unique in the method of its construction. Other buildings include a corn crib and smoke house, both of which are rarely found standing in Vermont.
1. Round Barn, 1903 (contributing)
The barn is a three-level, 80 foot diameter, perfectly round wood frame structure with an 18 foot diameter center silo. The upper and lower levels are column free, which provides uninterrupted spaces. (for full dimensions of the barn, see the accompanying drawings.)
Access to the upper level at the southeast elevation is through a gable framed entrance with a sloped floor which is preceded by an earth ramp with stone retaining walls. A fixed three over three window is centered above the double entrance doors.
At the northeast elevation of the barn there is an enclosed cattle ramp which extends from the first to the second level. It has a shed roof covered with wood shingles. The wood frame walls are sheathed with horizontal planking, and it is wood shingled in conformity with the remainder of the barn. Where it meets the second level, the ramp becomes a platform, with two fixed three over three windows centered on the platform. A storage area is located beneath the ramp with a passage door on the ground floor of the northeast side. An additional outside entry to the middle level is through a shed roof passageway on the southeast elevation.
The entrance to the ground floor is through a pair of wood plank doors on the east and west elevations. At the northeast elevation there is also a single door pedestrian entrance to the storage area below the second level front entrance to the barn.
The ground level is most striking for the absence of center posts supporting the second level. Instead, there are 16 radiating inverted king trusses. They are comprised of a wood top cord with a steel rod bottom member on each side. The rods have threaded ends and extend back to the end of the top cord member where it is held with a loop and pin. A steel plate with a wood block supports a center wood ring beam.
There is a wood column in the exterior wall below each truss. The remainder of the exterior wall consists of exposed wood studs at two feet on center. The second floor framing bays are composed of two radiating beams at the inner ring, creating three equal spaces between the trusses. The outer ring has three radiating beams, creating four equal spaces between the trusses.
The ground level has an interior access door to a storage room which is located below the sloped wagon entrance to the upper level. The room has a door and fixed three over three window to the exterior, and a wood stair to the creamery above it.
The middle level is used for cattle. The floor has nine continuous five foot wide passageways at the perimeter. There are 50 cow stalls, three horse stalls, a pen and an open area surrounding the center silo. An access door is located at the northwest side of the silo. At the edge of the cow stalls there are recessed troughs with hinged plank doors to the lower level. The feeding floor is elevated above the stanchion area which is pitched slightly to the recessed troughs. There are six vents at the perimeter wall exceeding up through the floor above to the circular vent holes at the base of the wood fascia. Interior access to the third level is by a ship's ladder, at the silo, aligned with the entrance passage.
At the ceiling of the second level there are 16 radiating beams with a center column aligning over the truss member below. There is also a wood column at the exterior wall supporting each of the 16 wood beams. The remainder of the exterior wall is composed of exposed wood studs at two feet on center.
The third level is completely open and the pitched roof raises from the 18 foot high perimeter wall to the top of the 40 foot high center silo.
The silo has four openings centered above a hinged access door at the northwest elevation, and three openings at the south elevation. The planked floor runs perpendicular to the entrance. There are five floor hatches centered on every fourth window, together with three smaller ones - all at the base of the silo.
The barn roof is composed of 16 main roof beams of a continuous length radiating out from the center silo. In addition, there are three support rings: the highest has [AT THIS POINT A PORTION OF A LINE IS WHITED OUT] rafters creating four equal spaces; and the lower has five rafters creating six equal spaces. The base of the upper ring has a diagonal brace back to the silo at each of the 16 main rafters. The outer edge of the roof bears on a double plate supported by the exposed wood stud wall. The exterior of the studs is covered by horizontal wood sheathing. There are six boxed-in vents in the exterior wall which extend up to the circular vent at the base of the wood fascia.
2. Farmhouse, c.1860, c.1880, c.1930 (contributing)
This Greek revival farmhouse is located 105 feet northeast of the round barn. The original two-and-a-half story house (c.1860) has a kitchen/porch/carriage stall addition (c.1880), together with a garage addition (c.1930), located on the southwest elevation. The entire farmhouse and its additions have clapboard siding with three-and-a-half inches to weather.
This two and a half story gable roofed house has a metal roof covering the existing wood shingles. There are pedimented gable ends.
The basement has a dirt floor and full length center beam. There is a six foot high fieldstone foundation basement wall with three foot high brick foundation above.
The first floor has a four room layout with a center hall and a straight run of stairs to the second level. There is a five-and-a-half inch wide wood plank floor. The doors are four panelled and have a decorative casing with corner blocks and flat wood base. The windows are two over two, with casings that match the door casings in the three formal rooms; a flat window casing with matching corner block is used elsewhere. The ceiling is eight feet seven-and-a-half inches high.
The second floor has four bedrooms off the center hall. The windows are the same as those used on the first floor, with a flat casing. The ceiling is eight feet, one inch high.
There is a walkup stair to the attic which has wide plank flooring. The two brick chimneys are exposed and there is a two over two double-hung window at each end.
Carriage Stall Addition
The southeast elevation of the second floor has an access door and one two over two double-hung window. Two two over two double-hung windows are on the second level at the northwest elevation. A stair to the loft level is located at the southwest wall.
3. Corn Crib, c.1870 (contributing)
This shed is located across the road from the round barn. It has a braced frame with mortice and tenon joints. The structure sits on stone piers, and has a raised plank floor. There is slatted wood siding on the northeast elevation, extending 12 feet from the east corner to the north. The beams supporting the loft level are unfinished poles. There is an interior stair at the southeast elevation to the loft. There are diagonal 45 degree knee braces at the posts. The shed has vertical board siding and a gable roof covered with metal over the existing wood shingles. A pair of doors is centered at the northwest elevation and there is a rear access door. There is a nineteenth century shed roof addition at the southwest elevation. Combined dimensions are 25 feet wide by 32 feet deep. The entire structure is in poor condition, but intact.
4. Poultry House, c.1904 (contributing)
This wood frame structure is 33 feet southwest of the round barn. It rests on a wood sill supported by a stone foundation. The siding is wood shingles at five inches to weather. Four three over three double-hung windows and a door are located at the southeast elevation which also has small hinged openings at the ground level for poultry access. Single fixed three over three windows are located at both the northeast and southwest elevations. The separate entrance area has a raised wood floor. The remainder of the poultry house is divided into three separate compartments, with a dirt floor. On the walls of each compartment are two shed roof chicken coops with hinged access covers. There are hinged vents at the rear of each compartment. The shed roof is metal covered. The structure is 54 feet wide by 17 feet deep.
5. Smokehouse, c.1860 (contributing)
This structure is located across the road from the farmhouse. It is four feet, two inches wide by four feet, six inches deep, and sits on a stone foundation. The gable roof has a metal cover over existing wood shingles. The wall construction is one brick wide, and it is parged inside and out with a one foot square pattern. It has an opening centered over the metal fire door.
6. Water Station, c.1904 (contributing)
This woodframed structure is located between the farmhouse and the round barn in what served as the barnyard. There is a concrete and stone foundation. It has shingles at five inches to weather, corner boards, and a flat wood fascia. There is an asphalt shingled shed roof. Access to the concrete water trough is through a pair of hinged doors on two sides, and a single door on the other two sides. The structure is seven foot square, and eight feet high at the front of its roof which is the highest point.
7. Garage, c.1920 (contributing)
This woodframed, two-bay structure has a gabled roof and it is shingled at five inches to weather. It sits on nine concrete piers which have the wooden barrel forms still in place. There is a wood plank floor with removable planks on the southwest side to provide access to vehicles from the crawlspace beneath. There are two three over three fixed windows at three elevations. A brick chimney is located at the northwest elevation. There are two pairs of entrance doors with a three over three window centered above them. The loft level is reached by a stair and trap door at the northwest elevation. The garage is 52 feet northeast of the farmhouse on the northwest side of the road. The garage is 29 feet square.
8. Sugar House, c.1870 (noncontributing due to condition)
This structure is partially collapsed. Only the walls at the southeast and southwest elevations are standing. The wood shingled shed roof, though fallen, is intact. The two feet high stone foundation is 42 feet wide and 40 feet deep. The sugar house is of mortise and tenon construction with pegged joints. The walls are comprised of vertical wood boards ranging in width from four to ten inches; square head nails were used. Much of the original sugaring equipment is present. It is 276 feet northeast of the garage, and it is set back 160 feet northwest of the Town Road.
9. Land (contributing)
The farm, consisting of 150 acres, is bordered on the northeast by State Aid Highway #4; this has been the site of the farm since 1807 (acreage which later accrued to it on the other side of the State road is no longer part of it). There are sloped hayfields on both sides of the unpaved Town Highway #34. The hayfield at the northeast corner of the site merges with a sloped pasture that is northwest of the barn; they are bordered by woods to the north and west. Woods also border the southeasterly hayfield. Located on a high ridge of land above the Passumpsic valley, the view extends out over rolling hills and nine villages, including Danville which is eight miles distant.
The surrounding land had been integrated with the several functions of the farm during its history. Most obviously, and in the traditional way, the round barn was built over a bank that adjoins the town road. This permits direct access to the ground floor from the barn yard, while the middle and upper levels are reached from the road by a walkway and high drive, respectively.
Similarly, the sugar house is located on a slope below the town road so that the maple sap could flow from a holding tank in the wagon by means of gravity feed.
Vegetables were grown on the northwesterly edge of the upper field, adjoining the town road and opposite the farm house. This location facilitated loading for the cash crop, and ready access for household consumption.
Natural borders determined the limits of the hayfields The southwesterly boundary of the lower field was set by ledge and by a brook in the case of the upper field.
An early road was built on the southwesterly side of the brook (starting at the town road, opposite the high drive entrance to the round barn), giving access to the woods that are southeast of the hayfield. The same road also provides access to the apple orchard that was situated southwest of this hayfield; at least since the mid-nineteenth century, this orchard provided a major cash crop.
The same road beside the brook provided access to the row of sugar maples that runs along its southwesterly side from the town road and continues into the woods where the farm road is lined on either side with sugar maples and therefore served both for sugaring and lumbering purposes. The other principal stand of sugar maples was also planned with accessibility in mind because they form an imposing and continuous arcade alongside the town road from its northeasterly beginning to the southwesterly end of the property.
Stone walls appear throughout the farm property, indicating the stages of growth that West View Farm underwent. Often these stone walls subsequently served as demarcations for pasture rotation, in which case they were augmented by wood fences that still exist.
West View Farm, whose most prominent feature is a large round barn that was the last work of noted Vermont architect Lambert Packard, is significant for both its architectural and historic merit. It is being nominated under the "Agricultural Resources of Vermont≤ multiple property submission and clearly meets the registration requirements for the farmstead property type. The farm clearly reflects the diversified agricultural practices in mid to late 19th century Vermont, with dairying and production of cheese and butter being predominant. Buildings on the farm mostly date from this time period and include a Greek Revival style farmhouse, corn crib, and smokehouse. Early 20th century buildings include the round barn, chicken house, and water station. The round barn is one of twenty-three that were built in Vermont, of which only five are believed to remain. This is the only round barn in Vermont that has an enclosed cattle ramp to the second level and the only known round barn that has no supporting posts inside on the ground level (a structural system designed by Packard, who had engineering training).
West View Farm is significant as a farmstead that contributes to our understanding of agricultural history in Waterford specifically, and Vermont generally during the nineteenth century ant through the first half of the twentieth century.
Josiah Hastings (born 1786 in Westmoreland, N.H.) moved to the present site of the farm in 1807. Waterford had grown to the point that in the same year a second saw mill was built there. The town was chartered in 1780 as Littleton. To avoid confusion with a town of the same name that had been subsequently established across the Connecticut River in New Hampshire, it was renamed Waterford in 1797.
Agriculture remained the principal pursuit of the community throughout the nineteenth century. This was due in part to the fact that the soil and terrain were considered well-suited to agriculture. It also happened by default, because there were no water-powered factories and the residents relied on businesses in the surrounding communities. However, several small-scale operations did appear, most notably: a clover mill (later converted to a starch mill); a slate quarry; a shingle mill; and tanneries. The population of Waterford grew rapidly until 1811, and then gradually, before reaching its peak of 1412 in 1850. Mainly due to a western migration of young adults, the population declined steadily thereafter: to 815 in 1880, and 574 in 1920.
Josiah Hastings' original farmhouse, where he raised seven children, was on the site of a hayfield at the present farm: on the southerly side of the State Aid Road, just easterly of the Town Highway. The 1820 census lists Josiah and his wife, Mary Packard Hastings, as "engaged in agriculture."
The existing farmhouse was built c.1860 by Curtis Hastings, the son of Josiah. Following the death of his father Curtis, Winfield Hastings purchased the farm in 1877 from his mother, Adlene Powers, and proceeded to acquire contiguous parcels so that it grew from 175 acres to approximately 400 acres by 1900.
The farm had undergone a shifting emphasis that reflected changes in the Vermont agricultural economy. In 1860, about the time that the present farmhouse was built, there were 97 sheep and 15 cows. Sheep farming had been declining in the State since the 1840's, and dairying was then in its ascendancy. Accordingly, by 1887 the number of sheep had dropped to 50, and cows had increased to 20. In 1904, a year after the round barn was built, there were 50 cows and no sheep.
The diversified farming that was typical of Vermont also characterized West View Farm, so that in 1860 it produced potatoes (250 bushels), wheat (1350 bushels), barley (200 bushels), maple sugar (1300 pounds), cheese (1000 pounds), and butter (2000 pounds).
Butter was then on the verge of replacing cheese as the leading commercial dairy product of Vermont; by 1900 the nation's foremost butter producer was Vermont. The trend was reflected by West View Farm: in 1904, a year after the round barn was built, its cows were Jerseys, which are best for butter. The production of butter had increased to approximately 10, 400 pounds per year.
In spite of diversification, dairying had remained the primary source of income for West View Farm, just as it did throughout Caledonia County in which it is located (more farms there concentrated on dairying than on all other types of activities combined during the period in which the round barn was built).
The structures of the farm buildings have escaped alterations to the point where they are frozen in time and therefore provide an accurate picture of the historic context "Dairying 1850-1941." The round barn, corn crib, smoke house, water station and chicken house are unchanged (with the exception of the roofing material). The farmhouse has lost some of its exterior detail and gained a garage extension in the 1930's, but it is otherwise in its nineteenth century state.
The corn crib is unusual because it is intact; the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation notes that "they are likely to exist as archeological sites today." While the smoke house is described as "an exceedingly rare property type."
The distribution of the hayfields, pastures, and woods is essentially as it was when the round barn was built. This is equally the case with the sugar bush and orchard. Throughout the 150 acres of the present farm there are the original stone walls, wooden gates and other demarcations. (The acreage that was lost is on the northeast side of the State Aid Road, for the most part.)
Consequently, West View Farm retains its historic integrity and the associative and physical characteristics required for listing as a farmstead under the historic context "Dairying 1850-1941."
The most notable feature of West View Farm is its round barn. It is the last known work of the distinguished Vermont architect, Lambert Packard (1832-1908). Packard created much of Victorian St. Johnsbury, located about one mile from the farm. In addition to stately homes, his commissions included the following structures in St. Johnsbury: the Fairbanks Museum; the North Congregational Church; the former Fairbanks scale factory; the Atheneum; and the Post Office block. The homes and public buildings he designed can be found across a wide area of Vermont and New Hampshire.
Round barns are rare in Vermont, as they are elsewhere. Twenty three round (as distinct from polygonal) barns were built in Vermont - all in the northern one-third of the State. Their era ended with the start of World War One. A survey done in 1971 determined that twelve of these true round barns remained; five had not survived the preceding five years. At present there are five in Vermont.
The West View Farm round barn was built in 1903 by Fred Quimby, an East Barnet carpenter who was noted for the precision of his work in general and his silos in particular. These skills help to explain why he was able to build the first Vermont round barn in 1899. He built one other round barn which has been moved to and rebuilt at the Shelburne Museum. The West View barn is the last and largest of the three.
There are some respects in which the West View Farm barn is typical of other round barns: it is a wood frame bank barn built on three levels with stalls radiating around a central silo to which the rafters were joined at each level. In addition, it has a covered high drive, much like a covered bridge, that is typical of barns (both round and rectangular) that were built in the Passumpsic River Valley.
At the same time, the West View Farm barn is highly unusual in having an enclosed cattle ramp attached to it that provides access to the second level from the ground.
Further, it is the only known barn, round or rectangular, that has no posts supporting it at the ground level. This achievement results from the engineering training that Packard received before becoming an architect.
Packard's influence is also apparent from the fact that this barn is finished to a much higher degree than the other surviving round barns, which are more utilitarian in appearance. For example, the West View Farm barn has boxed cornices rather than open ones, and planed boards throughout the interior.
The West View Farm barn became an instant landmark in the area when it was completed in 1903. The local newspaper stated that "One of the most picturesque objects that can be seen from the western part of the town (St. Johnsbury) is the big round barn...." During the first year after its completion, 2000 people visited the barn. Among the visitors were "many," including out-of-staters, who expressed their intention to build a round barn at their farms. The West View Farm round barn became nationally known through a contemporary article about it in Country Life.
The interest in this barn was not only due to the uniqueness of its construction, but also to the size: its stone foundation is nine feet high and five feet wide; the beams of the first and second levels are 31 feet long; the third level has rafters of 40 feet and a capacity of 175 tons of hay; the central silo is 18 feet in diameter, 50 feet high, and can hold 400 tons of silage; 140,000 feet of timber and 110,000 shingles were used in its construction.
When the round barn was built in 1903, Waterford was known to be a community that cherished traditional values. Yet, Western competition and the growing specialization of the dairy industry had compelled Vermonters to seek the most efficient possible approaches to farming - including the structure of their barns. The most unique of these responses was the round barn. It was perceived as providing a variety of advantages over the rectangular barn, even the bank type, including the following: the unobstructed mow and the central location of the supply meant a reduction in labor; because the exposed surfaces are circular, they are better able to withstand wind pressure; considerably less building material is required; it minimizes wasted space; and it is more easily cleaned because there are no corners.
The conflict between traditionalism and modernity was resolved by Winfield Hastings' son, Eldridge, who persuaded his father that this radical departure could be justified as a more effective use of space. (The funding for the barn came from an inheritance that Winfield received from his step-mother.) Lambert Packard was related to the Hastings and lived nearby - as did Fred Quimby, so they were logical choices as architect and builder, respectively. Winfield Hastings was convinced by the results, and reported that the new barn allowed him to feed his 50 Jerseys in 15 [MAY BE 45] minutes. This was made possible by arranging the stanchions and stalls around the silo. Also, the shape of the barn on the ground floor allowed him to build eight octagonal stiles around the silo to house 40 pigs; while accommodations for 100 hens were placed against the outer wall.
A contemporary report noted that "[West View Farm] is one of the best dairy farms in Waterford, and when Mr. Hastings decided to build a new barn the problem was to construct one that would be most serviceable for housing live stock."
What sets West View Farm apart is the round barn which is rare as a type and unique in its features, together with the smoke house and corn crib which have been exceedingly scarce in a surviving state. The original condition of the farm buildings and surrounding farmland mean that West View Farm contributes to our understanding of agricultural history in Waterford specifically, and Vermont generally, during the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth centuries. West View Farm is eligible under criteria A and C, and is being nominated as part of the multiple property documentation form "Agricultural Resources of Vermont." This farm retains its historic integrity and the associative and physical characteristics required for listing as a farmstead under the historic context "Dairying, 1850-1941."
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Child, Hamilton, Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, Vt. 1764-1887. Syracuse, N.Y.: The Syracuse Journal Co., 1887.
Dacy, George H., "Why I Like A Round Barn," The Country Gentleman 81. 8 April 1916: 779.
Fraser, W.J., "Economy of the Round Barn," The Country Gentleman 75, 31 March 1910: 327.
Harris, C.E., A Vermont Village. Yarmouth Port, Mass.: The Register Press, 1941.
Hastings, Howard. Letter to June Hastings Larrabee, n.d.
"Hastings' Round Barn at Waterford, Vermont, Country Life 8, October 1905: 702.
Hemenway, Abby Maria, The Vermont Historical Gazetteer. Volumes 1, 2. Burlington, Vermont: A. M. Hemenway, 1868.
Hodgdon, Allen, ≥Lambert Packard," The Fairbanks Museum Centennial Program Series Lecture, St. Johnsbury, Vt., 19 October 1990.
Jeffrey, William H., Successful Vermonters, A Modern Gazetteer of Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans Counties. East Burke, Vt.: The Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
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Morrison, Elmer. Waterford, Vt. Interview, 6 July 1992.
Powers, Eugenia, "Early Town Government in Waterford," An Informal History of Waterford, Vermont. Waterford, Vt.: The Waterford Bicentennial Historical Committee, n d.
Quimby, Richard Burke, Vt. Interview, 17 June 1991.
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Twenty-third Vermont Agricultural Report. St. Albans, Vt.: The Cummings Printing Co., 1903.
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Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, Historic Sites & Structures Survey, Survey Number 0316-24. Monpelier, Vt., 1976.
Walling, H.F., "Map of Caledonia County, Vermont." New York: Baker and Tilden, 1858.
Waterford Town Records, Town Hall, Waterford, Vt. Book 4 (1807): 75-76. Book 9 (1835): 76. Book 10 (1845): 235. Book 12 (1857): 514. Book 13 (1863): 107. Book 15 (1873): 15. Book 19 (1909): 174; 525.
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DATE ENTERED: January 6, 1995.
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