Museum Tour: The Barn & Wagon House
Standing in the middle of the Schenck Farmstead/West Windsor History Museum are two wooden structures with gable roofs, both housing thousands of artifacts from West Windsor's history. These are the barn and wagon house.
The barn is the largest building on the property and likely dates to the mid-late 1700s. It was originally shorter and its original roof was oriented 90 degrees to its current configuration. It was presumably constructed by the Voorhees family, who are believed to be the founders of this farm. They were Dutch, but their successors - the Fishers - were English. It's theorized that the Fishers were the ones to enlarge the barn to its current size, thus giving it its unique Dutch-English hybrid architecture. Visitors to the barn will notice "mortise and tenon" connections holding the oldest portion of the structure together via wooden joinery and no metal fasteners. This style of architecture is so unique and rare that a model of the building was displayed in a barn exhibition in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.!
In the 1950s, the lower, metal portion of the barn was added. In the same decade, a concrete floor was added to the older, taller portion of the barn. At this time, members of the Schenck family carved their names into the still-drying concrete; see if you can spot them when you visit the museum.
The wagon house north of the barn is a replica of a similar wagon house that dated to c. 1910, and houses many more implements. Directly next to this building is a "corn crib," used to house - you guessed it - corn! A much larger corn crib, designed to let wagons pass through, used to stand in the same location. It has since been demolished.
In the early 2000s, the barn was reconstructed using its original structural timbers, and the wagon house was recreated using new materials. In the following decade, a replica of an early 1900's general store was constructed in the back of the barn alongside an environmental education center.
Visit the Schenck Farmstead when we're open to explore the barn, wagon house, corn crib, and other historic buildings preserving West Windsor's rich history!