The Dudley Farm - 2351 Durham Rd, Guilford, CT 06437

The Dudley Farm • 2351 Durham Rd, Guilford, CT 06437 • 203–457–0770
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Antique sleigh in snow.
Photo by Janet Dudley.
The Big Barn Project (BBP)

Big Barn in late winter.
Photo by Barbara Hanson.

Big Barn Project: Granary Section Complete
Photo of Big Barn Granary Section completed.
Photo by Beth Payne.

Phase I of the Big Barn Project is DONE! Now on to the next part. As you know, money doesn’t grow on trees (and we even planted money plants in an attempt to make more!) so donations to the project are gratefully received. Come by, look at our beautiful barn, gaze at our gardens—take a seat—maybe have a picnic. The Dudley Farm is a quiet space in this crazy world.

Press Release
Restoration of the Big Barn at The Dudley Farm Museum Begins
May 12, 2016, Guilford–The picturesque large grey barn on the grounds of The Dudley Farm is finally getting a facelift.

After a year of fundraising, The Dudley Foundation is able to begin the first phase of restoration needed to ensure that it remains structurally sound and can become the region’s center for displaying the area’s largest collection of locally used agricultural artifacts. Once restored the public will be able to view the different assembly techniques used during the extended period of construction, as well as gain an appreciation for the farm tools and equipment used during the period of 1860–1920.

Big Barn with siding removed.

This imposing structure is the focal point for those who come to visit The Dudley Farm Museum, tour its grounds, and view its exhibits. The grounds, and especially this barn, are favorite subjects for artists and photographers. Impressively visible at the junction of State Routes 77 and 80, it reminds locals of Guilford’s agricultural heritage and the significance of agriculture in the establishment of North Guilford as an agrarian part of the greater Guilford community.

“The big barn, as well as the rest of the Dudley Farm, has been a North Guilford icon for well over a century, remaining constant as farming in our town has changed. I am pleased that we can see its preservation go forward,” says Oliver (Buster) Scranton, Foundation president.

The barn complex is composed of three distinct sections assembled over a period of more than 70 years, beginning shortly before the Civil War. The structure contains a traditional hay loft, as well as space for work animals, dairy cattle, tools, wagons, and sleighs. Currently the structure stores the Museum’s many tools and pieces of farm equipment, as well as hay and feed for the animals which inhabit the Museum property.

East Guilford Construction (Madison) has been contracted to do the first phase of this project, while William Thompson (Thompson and Burns, Architects, Guilford) is providing design services and guidance.

Newsletter Article
The Big Barn Project (BBP)
by Bill Black
Progress continues to be made on the Big Barn Project (BBP). A capital campaign letter was mailed to all members of the Dudley Foundation and businesses in Guilford. The unique aspect of this mailing was that any contribution received, other than grant money, was matched by an anonymous donor dollar for dollar up to a total of $10,000 received before the end of December. So a donation of $100 was automatically doubled to $200. Close to $9,000 was collected during this time frame. But, besides this shortfall a check for the full matching limit, $10,000, was presented at the December Board of Director’s meeting. This, combined with various other grants and the generosity of all who have contributed since we first announced our plan to save the Big Barn, has provided net funds available of more than $75,000. Certainly enough to start and hopefully complete the first stage of the project, the granary section of the barn.

The building committee met and in conjunction with Guilford architect, Will Thompson, has put together a request for proposal (RFP), which outlines the details of the work to be completed. The RFP has been sent to all prospective contractors. If all goes well we hope to break ground in the spring and by the end of the summer have the granary section up and running as a display area for the tools and farm implements owned by the museum.

With the cost of the entire project estimated to be $300,000, the plan is to start the next phase of the barn project at the same time we unveil the new granary section. This, of course, will depend on the availability of working funds. Grant money and donations are a constant goal and all contributions, large or small are greatly appreciated.

Look for the next newsletter to give an update on our progress.

In the past year besides donations from a number of individuals, the Big Barn Project has been the beneficiary of grants from both the Guilford Savings Bank and Connex Credit Union.

Connex Credit Union Video

Come join us on Sunday, May 22, 2016 for a fundraiser event to save the Big Barn. Brunch, prepared with our Farmers’ Market products, will be served at the Munger Barn from 11 AM to 2 PM.

  • Signature Mimosas
  • Music by The Dudley Farm String Band
  • Good conversation with friends
  • A Silent Auction with selected hand-made treasures and
    collectible antiques from The Dudley Farm Museum attic
You’ll be able to learn details about our restoration project, followed by a tour of the Big Barn complex so you can personally see what will take place over the next few years. Seating will be limited. Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased at The Dudley Farm Museum or by calling (203) 457-0770 or email

Event organizers Bill Black, Michael Russo and Janet Dudley extend their sincere appreciation to everyone who helped achieve the goal of raising both awareness and much needed funds for this important restoration project at The Dudley Farm Museum. We wish to thank the following farmers and donors for their generous support:
  • Walter Pond and family — honey
  • Lisa and Rob Ostop at Hometown Bakery — baked goods
  • Buster Scranton — maple syrup
  • Phyllis Naples Valenti — jam
  • Toni Schiano at Lakeside Farm — strawberries
  • Michael Russo at Trout Lily Farm — vegetables and flowers
  • Tom Baker — eggs
  • Barb and John Hammarlund at Half Mile Acres — beef
  • Michael Russo and Janet Dudley — floral arrangements, decorations and event planning
  • Shoreline Wine
  • Stony Creek Fife and Drum Corps
  • The Marketplace at Guilford Food Center and Chef Andrea Dante
Silent Auction contributors:
  • David Frank
  • Phil Greene
  • Bill Black
  • The Marketplace at Guilford Food Center
  • North Guilford Nurseries Farmstand
  • Dudley Farm Farmers’ Market
  • The Dudley Farm Museum
  • and The Dudley Farm sheep!
History of the Big Barn
The Big Barn complex is made up of three barns and additions assembled over a period of about eighty years.

The first barn was an embankment barn facing south constructed shortly before the house was built in 1844. It has a traditional hay loft on the west side with a threshing or wagon floor on the east. Below are two stalls for the work animals.

The second construction was the northern portion of the east barn. This barn housed animals below and tools above. The little sleigh shed was added about this same time.

The third and largest was likely built sometime after 1860 to house the milk cows that Erastus Dudley was breeding. The early dairy he established housed eight cows. There is some evidence that the large barn may have been shortened during construction or perhaps even moved due to the unusual structure and framing dimensions.

In 1926 the dairy was expanded to the south with a shed addition for more cows and the east barn was lengthened to include a granary.

Sheep peeking out of the Big Barn
Photo by Barbara Hanson.

Pen and Ink Illustration by Doug Williamson.

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