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Le Courant

Fall 2009 | 11

The MRC of Coaticook inventory of their agricultural heritage

Shirley Lavertu

The MRC of Coaticook decided to take an inventory of their agricultural heritage in 2006. As a result, 183 buildings and sites of interest were identified. Throughout the varied process of the project, the MRC had the corroboration of a firm which specialized in heritage: Patri-Arch. The inventory of the sites was completed in 2007 and 2008. Altogether, there were 60 buildings and agricultural sites classified. Certain facts came to light over the course of this study.

Two types of barns are predominant in the region of the Coaticook MRC: the barn with the straight gabled roof and the barn with the hip roof.
The barn with the straight gabled roof is assuredly the best known type of roof found on barns in the Coaticook MRC. This barn is generally rectangle in appearance with a stone foundation and a double sloped roof. Many of the earliest settlers in the area used this barn model. The livestock were put on the first floor of the barn and the hayloft was on the upper floor. These barns were often fitted with a ramp or took advantage of the natural setting such as a hill close to the barn which would allow the farmer easier access during haying. An estimation, is that the straight gabled barn represents nearly 50% of heritage barns in the Coaticook MRC.

The hip-roofed barn is likewise represented in the Coaticook MRC. This is an American type model of barn which allows for more hay storage and higher amount of storage area that the straight gabled barn. We were able to tell the year that these barns were built simply by looking at the roof angles. The earlier buildings had less wide roofing system. This type of construction dates to the turn of the 19t'' century.

Round barns were very popular in the Coaticook MRC. They were introduced into the area alter World War II.

The material used to build the barns was bought according to need, availability and what the farmer could afford: vertical board, angled board, cedar shingles, lap joint boards, clapboards, cement blocks and galvanized tin. Many of the architectural characteristics of the barns put them in heritage context as well: swinging and sliding doors, access bridging, les garnauds, cupolas, systems of lighting, ventilated windows and wooden silos. All of these elements put together allowed us to determine the age of these heritage buildings.

Elsewhere, we have noted agriculture concentrations of heritage building in the municipalities of Barnston West and Stanstead East. Some of these buildings have changed in their life's purpose. Today you will come across the raising of goats and sheep instead of cows. As well, many of the buildings remain empty or are not well taken care of and the preservation of our agricultural heritage is in great danger of being lost.
Agricultural heritage is extensive in the Coaticook MRC. Agriculture has been an occupation in this area since the early settlers began to tame the land. The types of barns, their covering materials and their architectural elements and needs are a part which allows us to identify and to characterize our heritage.
The Scene in Photo I: Barn with a right gabled roof
Fermep25.jpg SLOANE, Eric. American Barns and Covered Bridges, Mineola(New York) USA, Dover Publications Inc., 2002, p.68

Le Courant

Le Courant is published by the Society every year. Society's members, professional and amateur historian shared with the readers results of their searches. Articles are available in English and French. This publication received generous support from local sponsors that the Society wishes to thank with all it's gratitude.


Coaticook Historical Society

34 Main Stree East
Coaticook, Québec
(819) 849-1023

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Over 23,000 pictures from our weekly newspaper Le Progrès.
Copies of The Coaticook Observer 1928-1938 complete plus others of different dates.
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