Windsor, New York: Shakers Building Barns Away from Home


Surveying and Recording Barns in New York State


“Windsor, New York: Shakers Building Barns Away from Home”

Lauren Stiles, Keynote Speaker,  Sat. Oct. 20

By the last quarter of the 19th century, the Shakers had 18 communities in 7 states and were divided into 58 “families”. As economically independent units, most “families” maintained farm operations. Over a period of 60 years, “family” leaders built, improved, and replaced an impressive number of farm structures, among them large dairy barns which they often referred to as “great barns.” It is not surprising that a common design would evolve and become a norm through much of the Northeastern communities. Less well known are the barns the Shakers built on properties owned as investment properties at considerable distance from the home sites. The barns built in Windsor, NY between 1883 and 1885 were among the last big barn structures built by the Shakers. How did the Shakers come to run a farm operation so far from the home site? How did the barns differ from the Shaker barn norm?

Presentation & Dinner at Moon & River Cafe in the Schenectady Stockade.

Co-sponsors: Schenectady County Historical Society, National Barn Alliance

Funding for this conference made possible in part by a grant from the Schenectady County Legislature through its County Initiative Program.

Speaker Lauren Stiles
Speaker Lauren Stiles