Explore the Historic Buildings of the Brook Farm Estate
Built as a summer home in 1894 on the site of Brook Farm’s original main house, this magnificent Georgian Revival style country mansion rests on a rough cut-stone foundation. Stylistically eclectic, the design draws on Georgian, Dutch Colonial and Adamesque references. The main entrance follows a Palladian motif. The upper section of the nine-foot high “dutch door” is glazed with diagonally crossed muntins topped with an arched fanlight. Above the side windows are fixed sash with muntins radiating to an ellipse. The mansion overlooks the Twenty Mile Stream valley extending to the south between forested hills, with fields, pastures and orchards lining the road, bounded by stone walls, wire fences and treelines.
Located between the three barns, the equipment shed consists of two wooden clapboarded one-and-a-half story sheds facing east with a small ell extending from the rear northwest corner. The center section is the oldest. A photo taken before 1894 suggests that it was a woodshed wing on the west side of the original farmhouse, and presumably was moved to its present site when Bates Mansion was constructed in 1894.
The largest of the outbuildings on Brook Farm, the Cow Barn faces south, defining the northern edge of the farmyard with the land sloping steeply away to the brook behind. Built for James Bates after 1881 to house the farm’s expanding dairy herd, the Cow Barn is an enlarged version of the earlier “English” barn design with side doorways providing an off-centered drive-through. On the interior, the first floor of the Cow Barn is divided into three areas with the center providing the drive-through and equipment storage area. A square two-story enclosed silo was added to the west of the rear door. Stalls for the farm’s work horses were later converted to box stalls for horses, calves and small animals on the west.
Pig Shed and Blacksmith Shop
This T-shaped one-and-a-half story gabled-roofed building, located between the Cow Barn and the Caretaker’s House, probably was built in the 1880s, being finished in a similar style to the Caretaker’s House, Creamery and Chicken Coop. The south wing also was used as a blacksmith shop. A photo taken around 1900 and the 1930s show two small gable roofed cupolas with louvers provide ventilation.
Just west of the Pig Shed, the Chicken Coop is of a style similar to the Pig Shed, with a gable roof extending east and west.
Located to the west of the cluster of barns, the Caretaker’s House faces east, overlooking Brook Farm. From the main 2-story knee-walled late Greek Revival style house, a kitchen and woodshed wing extends to the north. The house was built in the early 1880s.
Located just southwest of the Caretaker’s House, is of a similar style and probably also dates from 1880s, although some components, like the window sash, may have been recycled from earlier buildings. The first story is divided into three full-width rooms.
Located on the southeast corner of the garden plot, which is south of the Carriage Barn, the Garden Shed is small single-story wooden building, sheathed with clapboards and topped by a steep hipped roof with an entry door on the north side. The Garden Shed and Greenhouse appear to date from the early 1910s.
Located just uphill to the west of Bates Mansion, this long Gothic-style two-story wooden clapboarded barn probably dates from the mid-1880s. It runs east and west, forming the south side of the yard around which the majority of the farm buildings cluster. The first floor of the barn’s interior is divided into quarters with rows of enclosed horse stalls. Tongue-and-groove softwood paneling sheaths the walls. The west half of the second floor is used for hay storage, while the eastern half was finished into small rooms to provide living quarters for hired help.