Barns of New York: Rural Architecture of the Empire State

Overview

Barns of New York explores and celebrates the agricultural and architectural diversity of the Empire State—from Long Island to Lake Erie, the Southern Tier to the North Country—providing a unique compendium of the vernacular architecture of rural New York. Through descriptions of the appearance and working of representative historic farm buildings, Barns of New York also serves as an authoritative reference for historic preservation efforts across the state.

Cynthia G. Falk ...

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Barns of New York: Rural Architecture of the Empire State

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Overview

Barns of New York explores and celebrates the agricultural and architectural diversity of the Empire State—from Long Island to Lake Erie, the Southern Tier to the North Country—providing a unique compendium of the vernacular architecture of rural New York. Through descriptions of the appearance and working of representative historic farm buildings, Barns of New York also serves as an authoritative reference for historic preservation efforts across the state.

Cynthia G. Falk connects agricultural buildings—both extant examples and those long gone—with the products and processes they made and make possible. Great attention is paid not only to main barns but also to agricultural outbuildings such as chicken coops, smokehouses, and windmills. Falk further emphasizes the types of buildings used to support the cultivation of products specifically associated with the Empire State, including hops, apples, cheese, and maple syrup.

Enhanced by more than two hundred contemporary and historic photographs and other images, this book provides historical, cultural, and economic context for understanding the rural landscape. In an appendix are lists of historic farm buildings open to the public at living history museums and historic sites. Through a greater awareness of the buildings found on farms throughout New York, readers will come away with an increased appreciation for the state's rich agricultural and architectural legacy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a very detailed look at the diverse forms of barns used in agriculture in New York from the Canadian border to Long Island. . . . Falk surveys structures by building type and by function, with much technical material about materials, methods of construction, farming, storage processes, and reuse of structures. Period diaries and journals are used extensively for the agricultural history. . . . This will be an important book for . . . readers interested in vernacular architecture, material culture, agricultural history, New York history, and the preservation of this cultural heritage."—Choice (October 2012)

"Barns of New York is an ambitious undertaking. This is the first book dedicated to a statewide overview. Cynthia G. Falk has filled a void on an often overlooked, richly deserving topic and covered a lot of ground in a concise manner. Don't leave Falk's book on the shelf. Take it with you on a drive and use it to make sense of those buildings you ordinarily pass without recognition. The architecture of barns is the architecture of work done mostly, not long ago, by man and animal. If you are looking for a place to connect with the past, you cannot do much better than a barn."—Hudson River Valley Review

"Professor Falk enjoys a reputation as an astute architectural historian, and in this volume she demonstrates why. Her knowledge of form, style, function, and construction consistently serve to advance important insights. She demonstrates that in the rural New York State landscape we can interpret the history of farming if we just learn how to see the evidence and read it properly. Plentiful historic images and contemporary photographs work beautifully with the text to lend depth to these insights. The work's source base is also substantial. . . . As policy makers, communities, and farming people consider the future, they may indeed look to the past as well; therefore, this book offers a valuable historical perspective for our times." --Sally McMurry, New York History (April 2014)

"Anyone with an interest in New York State history should find something to like about Cynthia G. Falk's impressively researched, well-written, and wonderfully illustrated Barns of New York. Falk brings new life and relevance to New York’s richly diverse and significant agricultural heritage—an underappreciated topic perhaps but an essential one that remains critical to the state’s future."—Robert Weible, State Historian and Chief Curator, New York State Museum

"This richly illustrated volume connects readers to a farming past that is revealed through its careful analysis of farm buildings, from barns to hop houses. Readers will see New York's rural landscape afresh thanks to Falk’s keen insights."—Sally McMurry, Professor of History, Penn State University, author of Transforming Rural Life: Dairying Families and Agricultural Change, 1820–1885

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801477805
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 419,788
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Cynthia G. Falk is Associate Professor of Material Culture in the Cooperstown Graduate Program of SUNY Oneonta.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

1 Diversity, Dairying, and Designing the Main Barn 21

2 Sheltering the Flock, Processing the Product 69

3 From Haystacks to Silos 107

4 A Farm Building for Every Purpose 135

5 Powering the Farm 183

Places to Visit 203

Notes 227

Glossary 253

Further Reading 259

Index 261

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