Counting Barns in the Vermont Barn Census

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Counting Barns in the Vermont Barn Census

Travel through any town in Vermont and you’ll eventually come across a barn. The barn might be rectangular, round, renovated or dilapidated. Barns, in any shape or size, are an integral part of our working landscape and essential to understanding Vermont’s agricultural roots.

How many barns are in Vermont, and what kind of condition are they in? How can we preserve these important structures? State officials and various organizations are working together to find out through the Vermont Barn Census, a statewide program open for public participation.

Volunteers, including groups and individuals, can explore their communities to locate barns, take a photo and make notes about the barn features, history, use and current condition. Volunteers can participate at their convenience and all information can be submitted online.

“There is perhaps no greater symbol of what is quintessentially Vermont than the barn,” says Devin Coleman, a state architectural historian. “The information from the Vermont Barn Survey will be used to help us understand what’s out there on a statewide level – is there a certain type of barn that is especially rare upon which we should be focusing our preservation efforts? Are there patterns of barn design and construction that reflect historic settlement patterns and different cultural influences?”

To date, an estimated 3,750 barns (or “agricultural structures”) have been identified. Sixty-one out of Vermont’s 251 towns have completed their surveys, and an additional 73 communities have done partial surveys.

Beyond preservation, Coleman says information from the census can be used by people interested in learning about Vermont’s agricultural history or those who are planning road trips and want to see old barns along the way.

Count me in.

Agriculture, Barns, Farms, History, Travel Tips
  • Katie
    Posted at 20:03h, 20 August Reply

    I heard about this program a few years ago and didn’t know it was still going on.

  • Erica
    Posted at 21:07h, 20 August Reply

    Hi Katie,
    I was also glad to find out it was still an active program. It will be interesting to follow up sometime in the next several months to see how much progress has been made. Thanks!

  • Soundbounder
    Posted at 07:56h, 21 August Reply

    I wasn’t aware of this. It’ll be interesting to see the final results.

    • Erica
      Posted at 11:37h, 21 August Reply

      Hi Matt — it will be interesting to see what they come up with through this process. Not sure what the timeline is at the moment — it seems a bit open ended.

  • eric smith
    Posted at 00:11h, 04 September Reply

    hello. I am looking to hold a large barn dance near rutland, vt. could you give me a listing of barns in the area? I am looking to hold it in june prior to the first cutting. thanks.

    • Erica
      Posted at 19:25h, 04 September Reply

      Hi Eric – I’m not sure about finding an inventory of barns in the Rutland area for a barn dance. You could contact the Rutland Regional Chamber of Commerce at [email protected]. They might be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck!

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