Lawrence Barn

Lawrence Barn

This English-style barn, built during the first half of the 19th century, is similar to one originally associated with the Twilight House. It was donated to the Museum by the Ruth and Roland Lawrence family of Albany, Vermont, and was moved to its present site in 1997. The barn now houses an exhibit entitled A Hard Row to Hoe: Two Centuries of Farming in Orleans County. The barn exhibit is open to the public and is included with admission to the Old Stone House.

The Roland Lawrence Barn is gable-roofed barn, with a three-bay wide, north facing, eaves-front elevation features a pair of the large hinged doors in the off-center middle bay. The timber framed barn in sheathed in vertical boarding and supported on a short dry-laid fieldstone foundation wall.

The interior space of the Lawrence Barn is divided into three sections, defined by the three bays across the eaves sides. As with many English-style barns, the bays of the Lawrence Barn are not of equal width. The drive bay of English style barns provided wagon access to the interior of the building, and was used as a threshing floor. The outside bays provided stable space and a hay storage area. Typically, the floor of the Lawrence Barn drive bay is covered with planking, but unlike many English barns, there is no double door opening in the south side of the bay. The left bay in the barn is undivided and its floor is covered with planks. The right bay is divided in to a small front area and larger rear space. The floor is the small area is boarded over.

Little is known of the specific history of the Roland Lawrence Barn. The land and barn were purchased by G. R. and Anna Lawrence in 1944. Deed research at the Albany Town Clerk’s office traced the ownership of the land, Lot Numbers 122 and 123, to 1850, when it was sold by John C. Chafey to Hiram Chafey. Hiram Chafey sold the property to Andrew McGuire in 1876. When Andrew McGuire sold the property to James McGuire in 1903, the deed states “with buildings therein” but does not specify a barn. In 1908 the estate of James McGuire, including “land and premises bring the late home place of the said deceased” was sold to Rose M. Stone. Rose Stone sold the land and “buildings” to John A. Taylor in 1912. The deed that transferred the property to G. R. Lawrence in 1944 refers to “the barn situated on the above premises” but mentions no other buildings.

The Lawrence Barn was moved once before it made its way to Brownington. Barns and other historic agricultural buildings were frequently moved in Vermont, as farming practices changed. Physical evidence at the barn does not provide any information about the date of the relocation. It’s possible that the Lawrence Barn was moved from one of the Hayden farms south of Albany Village.