About This Location
Nestled in the picturesque town of Ellington, Connecticut, the Barn Yard Covered Bridge stands as a beautiful and cherished landmark. This new covered bridge is not just a charming structure but also a testament to the dedication and craftsmanship of its builders.
Constructed as a Town Lattice Truss covered bridge, this enchanting bridge is a fine example of authentic timber framing. Its inclusion in the official register of bridges highlights its historical and architectural significance. The story of the Barn Yard Covered Bridge is one of vision, family legacy, and a deep appreciation for the art of construction.
The story of this remarkable bridge begins with the Skinner family, who are the driving force behind The Barn Yard, a well-known provider of sheds, storage buildings, and post-and-beam structures in New England. Brothers Chris and Everett Skinner, representing the third generation of family leadership, recognized an opportunity and a challenge when the adjacent property next to their Ellington location became available for purchase.
Their vision was clear: to expand their business into the largest shed and storage building display in New England. However, there was a significant obstacle - the two parcels of land were separated by the waters of Belding Brook. Undeterred by this challenge, the Skinner brothers saw an opportunity to fulfill a long-held dream - building a covered bridge.
Everett Skinner Sr. and their grandfather Bill started The Barn Yard almost four decades ago, initially dealing with smaller storage buildings. Over the years, the company diversified its offerings to include larger, customized barns and garages, with post-and-beam construction becoming a significant part of their business.
The Barn Yard employs nearly 100 people, including a highly skilled design and fabrication staff, and boasts a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. In addition to constructing timber-frame buildings across New England, they market precut timber-frame kits that can be shipped nationwide.
The construction of the Barn Yard Covered Bridge was a meticulous project, taking approximately a year to complete. The Skinner brothers were determined to create a bridge that met the qualifications for inclusion on the official register of bridges as an authentic covered bridge. They decided on a 56-foot span, based on a design patented by Connecticut-born architect Ithiel Town in 1820, known as the Town Lattice Truss. This design features a series of crossed beams connected by oak pegs and traditional joinery, harkening back to an era when craftsmanship was paramount.
To bring their vision to life, Douglas fir timbers were sourced from the West Coast and painstakingly fabricated and cut by The Barn Yard's shop crew. Advanced equipment significantly expedited the process, which would have taken months in the past. The sections of the bridge were assembled and carefully lifted into place by a crane, making the construction an event that drew the entire community.
To ensure that the bridge appeared as though it had stood for decades, the exterior siding was crafted from reclaimed antique wood, and the ramps leading to the bridge were constructed using reclaimed granite cobbles from the streets of Boston. A pond and picnic tables were thoughtfully added to enhance the area and encourage visitors to linger, creating a welcoming destination.
The completion of the Barn Yard Covered Bridge was a source of pride for the Skinner family, The Barn Yard, and the Ellington community. It stands not only as a testament to their commitment to craftsmanship but also as a landmark for the region. The bridge has become an integral part of The Barn Yard's showplace, attracting visitors from all over and showcasing their ability to fulfill a wide range of construction needs.
As a landmark and symbol of the community, the Barn Yard Covered Bridge represents a bridge to the past while serving as a beacon of craftsmanship for the future. Given the interest it has generated, it may very well be the first of many bridges to come from The Barn Yard, ensuring that this cherished tradition lives on. While the bridge is privately owned and located on private property, it warmly welcomes visitors who can park near its northern entrance to admire its beauty and rich history.