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The New England Barn: An Iconic American Landmark

A quintessential element of New England’s idyllic rural landscape, the barn is a testament to America’s rich agricultural heritage

From Maine to New Hampshire, Vermont to Massachusetts, and Rhode Island to Connecticut, the barn has stood amid the splendor of New England’s pastoral horizon for more than 200 years.

Our colleagues at LandVest, the exclusive Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate in this beautiful part of the world, inspired us to take a closer look at this iconic New England landmark, and to showcase some of the finest barn architecture on the market today.

Beaver Brook Farm with Three-story Recreation Barn
Marshfield, Vermont


The earliest barns in New England were built by English settlers in the 18th century. Adapted from England’s centuries-old rural vernacular architecture, the English, or three-bay barn comprised a single-story, timber-framed structure, which typically measured 30 by 40 feet, and featured an A-frame roof and large side doors that opened to a main threshing floor.

Breeze Hill Farm with Four-level Shaker Barn
Hartland, Vermont

By the 19th century, with the onset of commercial agriculture and innovations in building methods and materials, a new style of barn had emerged. The New England barn was a more sophisticated building that served all the needs of the farmer under one roof.

Uplands Vermont Farm with Three-level Bank Barn
Weston, Vermont


Its characteristics included the addition of a gable, or gambrel roof; the ubiquitous red-hued façade; a basement level to house livestock; and large double doors at either end, enabling carriages to unload grain for production and storage.

Morton Hill Farm with Historic Dairy Barn
Lincolnville, Maine


Other popular barn styles included the round, or Shaker barn, and the bank barn, an innovative two-story structure, which allowed livestock to enter on the lower pasture level and crop storage on the upper floor.

Little River Farm with Pole Barn
Stowe, Vermont


In the Victorian era, New England’s farm architecture incorporated the classic revival styles of the period. In addition to being multifunctional agricultural facilities, many barns mirrored the decorative architecture of the farmhouse and were often connected to the home via a series of outbuildings, which provided convenience during New England’s harsh winters.

Grey Meadow Farm with Slate-roofed Barn
Tinmouth, Vermont

These beautiful structures were often embellished with shingle façades, ornate windows and doors, swallow holes or dovecotes for nesting birds, and cupolas topped with weather vanes, which remained popular until the mid-twentieth century.

Windy Peaks Farm with Three-story Barn
Hill, New Hampshire

Today, New England’s vernacular farm architecture stands as a cultural symbol of the rural environment. While only a few thousand original barns remain across New England’s six-state region, many have been preserved and are listed on national and state historic registers.

Longview on Lake Winnipesaukee with Entertainment Barn
Alton, New Hampshire


Others have been converted into luxury residences, equestrian facilities, studios, and recreation spaces, ensuring the architectural legacy of the New England barn will endure for centuries to come.

The Ark Horse Farm with Seven-stall Barn
Harvard, Massachusetts


View more New England barns below:

Colonial Manor with Renovated 18th-century Barn
Saybrook, Connecticut

Sun Bear Farm with Equestrian Barn
Johnson, Vermont

For further insight into New England barns and other extraordinary property offerings, visit LandVest, Christie’s International Real Estate’s exclusive Affiliate in the region.