Crow’s Nest: The Unfamiliar Familiar

April 2, 2024

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

While we wait a little longer for spring to arrive (it’s coming!) here’s a look any something familiar, but in an unfamiliar view. If you hike at Crow’s Nest or even drive by, you’ve probably seen this barn on Piersol Road.

Outside view of historic barn at Crow's Nest Preserve showing masonry wall and wood shingle roof.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

This might be the oldest building at Crow’s Nest, as the house near it was built in 1817 and the barn likely predates the house. The photo above is from the attic window in the house, with a long lens that compresses foreground and background. The circular stone “window” is a vent since this once stored hay upstairs and had livestock below.

Interior view of historic barn at Crow's Nest Preserve showing queen trusses and ventilation slots in masonry wall.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

The photo above shows that original gable end wall with vents in it. Below, the barn as it appeared in the early 1990’s when Crow’s Nest Preserve was first established. The wing in the foreground collapsed in an ice storm in 1995.

Photo of an old barn before restoration.

Photo: Steve Kuter

Below, the cattle stantions in the lower level of the main barn. I took many photos in the early 2000’s before renovation to document what it looked like. The windows in the background were added as the barn was modernized in the 20th century.

Cow stantions in an old barn.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

And a wood hay rack in the barn wing…

Old hay rack in barn.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Barn before restoration at Crow's Nest Preserve.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

The modifications to the barn over the years caused damage to the structure. Doorways that had been added (photo below) destabilized the wall above. This wall and the gable end—cinder block, windows, and plywood—had to be entirely rebuilt in stone. Our staff numbered the corner stones and took them down so they could be put back up in the same order.


Barn being rebuilt at Crow's Nest Preserve.

Photo: Pete Smyrl

Below, barn renovations in the early 2000’s. Our goal is that the barn will stand for another couple hundred years.

Barn renovations at Crow's Nest Preserve.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Today the barn is used for storage and maintenance of the equipment used to manage the preserve. The buildings are part of the landscape too and tell some of the recent history of this place.

Aerial view of a barn and farm fields and woods beyond.

Photo: Daniel Barringer