Barns of Tompkins County

Barns and associated landscapes help define the Finger Lakes region.

Barns of Tompkins County

Ithaca, New York 14882, United States

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

Tour Information

Historic Ithaca, The History Center in Tompkins County, and the New York State Barn Coalition believe that the historic barns throughout our county are assets and, in some cases, endangered resources. These types of buildings and the associated landscapes help define the Finger Lakes countryside. In this age of growth and expansion, they are swiftly becoming extinct. This tour represents just a small sample of the barns of Tompkins County, which were assembled by Historic Ithaca staff, with consent from the barn owners. We hope this small selection of historic barns will provide you with an idea of how special these buildings are and encourage you to learn more. Please note that these are all private properties and, unless otherwise indicated, are meant to be viewed from the roadside.

This driving tour is based on the "Barns of Tompkins County: Self-Guided Driving Tour" prepared by Historic Ithaca and the New York State Barn Coalition in 2008.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

During the late 1800s, Morrow Creek Farm was known as the Dates Farm. The original barn burned and was rebuilt on the same site in 1898. The barn is an example of a late nineteenth century trussed barn which was framed using square-rule fra... Read more
This property was historically known as Healing Springs Farm. The main barn is a Pennsylvania Dutch-style threshing barn built ca.1820-30, a rare example of this style barn in Tompkins County. The barn has original swinging doors and hardwa... Read more
The Towner (formerly Tarbell) barn is part of a 200-acre farm and is believed to have been on the same route of the Underground Railroad used by Harriet Tubman. It has been in the family for seven generations. This barn was originally used ... Read more
In the first quarter of the nineteenth century, this 30' x 40' post-and-beam barn was constructed from local timbers. The barn had been expanded over the years to meet changing agricultural needs. When the Hornbuckles acquired the propert... Read more
Five outbuildings of varying size, age, and use are located on the property. The large central barn has a hay track on the second floor. The smaller structure may have once been used for grain storage, as its east wall is constructed with g... Read more
This distinctive three-bay barn was known historically as the "Steep Gable" barn due to the steep pitch of the roof and the central cross gable on the south side of the roof. The north side of the roof does not have a corresponding cross ga... Read more
The Bruno barn is unique among Tompkins County's barns. This 100' x 40', six-bay basement barn was built in 1908 for W.B. McClintock. It was the first steel-frame barn built in Tompkins County by the Groton Bridge Company. The steel frame a... Read more
The Maynard family purchased this property, known as the Legg Homestead, in 1959. The house is the oldest house in the hamlet of Speedsville and once served as a stagecoach stop with a dance hall on the second floor. The barn was formerly u... Read more
This farm has been in the Maynard family since 1907. The group of farm buildings along the roadside illustrates the gradual modernization, alteration, and growth of the farm over time. The oldest barn, built ca.1900, has a 1950 dairy additi... Read more
This farm has been in the Crispell family since the 1840s, but the date of original barn's construction is unknown. The barn is composed of multiple additions, expanding over time to accommodate a 200-cow dairy farm. The barn was repaired i... Read more
Matthew Mix operates one of the few remaining Caroline dairy farms. In the 1940s, Mix's father, William, purchased the farm, which had been in active use since the early 1800s. Around the time of William's purchase, the Mix family added on... Read more
A wood-sided granary and stone smokehouse are located along the west side of Boiceville Road, south of Six Mile Creek. These structures are significant examples of the variety of small agricultural outbuildings that were common on many farm... Read more
This barn is an example of how important location was to the farmer. Situated with easy access to Six Mile Creek (which runs just behind), the farmer would have had access to water and possibly, power. Its three-bay fieldstone foundation is... Read more
Please Note: if you're stopping to take a look at the Gibian house, it is safer to pull your car off on the east side of the road. This gambrel-roof barn was converted by owner and architect Stephen Gibian in the 1980s. It was originally bu... Read more
The original Four Winds Farm was a 500-acre property with two barns, two sheds, and a poultry house. A section of the main barn was originally constructed in the 1800s but was altered to its current configuration in the 1930s by Dr. Roydon ... Read more
This property was originally the Miller Farm, operated by the Miller brothers as a dairy during the first half of the twentieth century. The collection of farm buildings illustrates how the American farm swiftly transitioned from small-scal... Read more
This carriage house was rehabilatated in 2006 and is part of Three Swallows Farm. The 30' x 40' barn has a ca.1880 fieldstone foundation and is timber framed using square-rule framing methods. The foundation of a second barn remains to the ... Read more
The Roe barn is an example of the type of small farmstead that existed within the village of Danby during the 1800s. Oriented to the road, the five-bay bank barn may have been built ca. 1870 on the foundation of an earlier barn. The decorat... Read more
The Tupper barn was built ca. 1890 as part of Theo Tupper's 100-acre farm. Note the large gambrel roof, a modification made to many American barns after the Civil War. This roof shape, as opposed to the gable roof, created a much larger vol... Read more
The most recent agricultural use of this barn was by former owner Eero Ruuspakka, who purchased it during World War II and operated the farm for over 60 years. When Ruuspakka began working the farm, it was an overgrown orchard. The 106-foo... Read more
Barns are notoriously hard to research. While homes and businesses are documented fairly specifically in deeds, building permits, and miscellaneous ephemera, structures like barns and sheds have always been built, altered, and demolished mo... Read more
The Fir Farm barn was built by the Shaffer family ca. 1880. The foundation stone was quarried on the property. The barn was used for raising sheep as well as grain and hay storage. The Shaffers secured their draft horses to the metal tie ri... Read more
This barn, with its easily identifiable "7-UP" painting, is an example of how barns were commonly used for advertisements. This practice had a long history in the United States. The first such signs appeared on covered bridges. Barns became... Read more
This barn, associated with the Dane Emerson Bed & Breakfast on the same property, was built in 1906 by Frank Snyder. Snyder graduated from Cornell University with a degree in mechanical engineering and served as an officer in the Coast ... Read more
Like several other agricultural buildings in the Newfield area, this barn was moved from Connecticut Hill ca. 1900. Connecticut Hill, with its rocky soil and exposed hilly terrain, made for poor farmland, and settlers continually abandoned ... Read more
The A.J. Teeter Farm was established in 1847 and is the oldest family farm in the Town of Ithaca. Alan and Debbie Teeter, along with their children are the 5th and 6th generations to farm this land. They manage the farm's 180 acres organic... Read more
One of the two barns on Steep Hollow Farm is a rare remaining example of a tobacco barn in the county. The four-bay barn was built by the Davis family ca. 1895, designed specifically for the drying and storage of tobacco. The sills were hem... Read more
This building is a carriage house, likely built in the late 1880s. During that time, carriage houses, especially ones ornamented with a cupola, were a sign that the farmer had "made it." These were fairly ostentatious buildings (although th... Read more
How can you tell when a barn was built? Barn restorers Randy Nash and Rick Lazarus took a walk through this barn and made the following evaluation: It's a swing beam barn, but very large for this type. The rafters are commercially sawn, an... Read more
This barn has an unusual and fortunate asset: the diary from the original builder, Seymore Bates. By the mid-1800s his family had a large 200-acre farm. His diary reveals much about the construction of the barn, from gathering the timber hi... Read more
This farmstead features a cluster of several agricultural buildings. The smallest, and perhaps most interesting is the corn crib. The corn crib is set upon large solid-stone piers, a foundation method found throughout the town of Ulysses. B... Read more
This farmland has been in the Reed family since the 1830s. The brothers Levi and Truman Reed once owned all of the land between Turkey Hill and Game Farm roads. The original barn at this location was struck by lightning and burned down in ... Read more


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