Though the nearest rail connections are in Waterbury and Middlesex, Mad River Valley farms prospered during the last decades of the nineteenth century by engaging in diversified agriculture with an emphasis on dairying. Many farmers built the large multipurpose bank barns with manure basements that are characteristic of eastern Vermont and northern New England. They topped these barns with polygonal, pedimented, and other fanciful ventilator cupolas. As a group, they are an important component of the valley's historic rural district, which stretches through the hills of Warren through Waitsfield and Moretown to Middlesex. The barn built for Stephen P. Joslin and his son Oramel is one of the best preserved, with a tall hexagonal gable-ridge cupola with round-arched louvered openings and a six-sided spire topped by a weathervane. The barn has wide corner and eaves boards and peaked lintels crowning its windows and gable-end covered bridge entrance. Unlike most late bank barns, the full gable end is extended to the road to shelter its bridge, creating extra space for an at-grade wagon bay on the north side and an equipment room on the other. Stephen and Oramel kept twenty-five cows in this barn and also bred Shorthorn cattle on their three-hundred-acre farm that Stephen's father, William Joslyn (the family later changed the spelling to Joslin), settled in 1837 adjacent to the farm of his first cousin Cyrus Joslyn. Cyrus's grandson David Clement Joslin commissioned another noteworthy Waitsfield landmark on East Hill Road, a twelve-sided thirty-cow bank barn (1910) built by his second cousin James J. Joslin.
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Stephen P. Joslin Barn
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