The Barn

Carriage in the barn at the Coolidge Homestead

Colonel John Coolidge, the President’s father, kept two horses in the stalls: a light horse for work around the farm and a driving horse which he used on errands and trips around the state.

The buggy was used for business, and was made by Colonel John, who had worked for a carriage maker as a young man. A horse blanket hangs on the buggy’s dash. Under the seat are a rubber blanket and rubber side curtains, which came in handy when the weather turned inclement.

Displayed near the horse stall is the saddle used by Calvin as a boy and when he vacationed at the Homestead in later years.

The sleigh was the Colonel’s best. The umbrellas in it were sometimes taken for protection against rain or snow. The net hanging on the wall in back of the sleigh is a horse cover, worn by the horses to keep flies off in the summer. A horse feed bag hangs in the stall. Seed corn is suspended from the rafter. Each fall the best corn was gathered and hung up to dry to use as seed for the next year.

The long tin pan leaning against the horse stall held oil that was used to keep the harnesses pliable and soft. The wooden harness vice on the floor enabled the farmer to use both hands when mending the harness.

The stairs along the front wall lead to the shed attic, where everything not being used at the moment was saved. Nothing was ever thrown away in a good Vermont home.

The Coolidges could walk from the house to the barn without going outside particularly convenient during winter months. Hay stored in the loft was sent down chutes to feed the horses on the main level. Manure was pushed from the horse stalls through holes in the floor to the basement where the family raised pigs. The manure helped keep the pigs warm and was later spread on the fields as fertilizer.