Historic barn will find a new home

A historic barn at 716 Ridgefield Road will soon find a new home right next door.

The owners of the property on which the 816-square-foot English-style barn sits plan to disassemble the barn and move it to the property of their adjoining neighbors. Both families requested to not be named in this article.

At its current location, the barn is visible from Ridgefield Road near the Vista Road intersection.

The barn’s owners said they “don’t know much about the barn,” other than that it was built after their 1750 house at 716 Ridgefield Road was built. The property’s historic name is the Zalmon Morgan House.

“The timber post and beam frame appears to be original, siding is old but not original, and roof and foundation are relatively new,” one of the property owners told The Bulletin, adding that “previous renovations of the barn were not always in keeping with historic building practices.”

“For example,” she said, “live-edge boards were used for the original roof sheathing; plywood was used in more recent repairs.”

The current owners use the barn to store gardening tools and a tractor. Because it’s “not feasible” for them to renovate, they plan to give the old barn to their neighbors and build a new “historically inspired post-and-beam barn” in its place.

The barn’s soon-to-be new owners will reconstruct the barn on their property in an open field, according to the current owners.

Wilton’s Historic District and Historic Property Commission imposed a 90-day demolition delay on the antique barn during its special meeting on Aug. 20. In a letter to the property owners, the commission referred to the barn as “an enduring artifact of Wilton’s agricultural past.”

Despite the property’s historical significance, 716 Ridgefield Road is not included in Wilton’s 1989 Architectural Survey List. The barn, however, is on the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation (CTHP)’s list of Historic Barns of Connecticut.

According the CTHP, the one-and-a-half-story tripartite eave-entry barn sits on a mortared fieldstone foundation, has unpainted board-and-batten siding, a wood-shingled gable roof, and was historically used for agricultural purposes.

According to historical records, the barn was built by Zalmon Morgan after he acquired the Ridgefield Road property in 1796. In Morgan’s will, dated 1847, he listed the barn at $150, according to the Wilton Historical Society’s book, Eighteenth Century Dwellings in Wilton. Members of the Morgan family lived at 716 Ridgefield Road until 1874.

Demolition delays are typically imposed “in the hopes that a way can be found to save a structure, generally by disassembly or moving the entire structure,” according to the historic district commission’s letter, but since the owners already plan to save the barn, the commission requested they provide a letter of intent describing their project.

The property owners submitted the letter on Aug. 29, and the commission had the demolition delay lifted the next day. One of the property owners told The Bulletin on Sept. 6 that they “have been granted a permit to proceed with dismantling and moving the barn.”

As for when disassembly of the barn will begin, the current property owners said they’re not sure. “We didn’t invest much time or resources in coordinating this project until we were granted a … permit for disassembly,” they said.

“We’ll start that process with our neighbors and the barn experts, New England Barn Company, in the next couple weeks.”