Happy Birthday, Big Red Barn!

On August 1st, the big red dairy barn at Conant’s Riverside Farms on Rt. 2 in Richmond celebrated its 100th anniversary. The well-known landmark, which was completed on August 1, 1915, has a little-known story. On April 22, 1915, farmer and proprietor, Leverette Cutler Conant, was building a fence in the pasture along Kenyon Road when the unthinkable happened. Smoke began to rise from his dairy barn across the road. As the story goes, children of some of the farmworkers were experimenting with matches in the barn when some hay caught fire. Flames quickly engulfed the structure, and the barn burned completely to the ground. No one was hurt, but the loss was substantial. Leverette and his wife, Myrtle Martin Conant, were determined to rebuild. A local builder named C.E. Miller was hired, along with a team of more than 30 local men. The lumber was hauled out of the woods by oxen, and milled on-site, thanks to a portable saw mill. The team worked tirelessly throughout the hot summer days. Together, Myrtle and her niece, Minnie Cutler, managed the daunting task of feeding the hungry work crew each day. In just three months, the team had erected a brand new, bigger barn, and on August 1st 1915, Leverette began filling it with hay. The speed and precision of the team surprised many. The barn still stands tall today. This time of year, it is bustling with sweet corn customers!