2011-06-02 / Local & State

Historic Barn Tour Planned Through “Great Valley” Of Pennsylvania

The Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania is pleased to be traveling to the “Great Valley” of Pennsylvania for its 2011 annual meeting and Historic Barn Tour. This two- day event is scheduled for Friday, June 17, and Saturday, June 18, beginning with a special evening tour of an historic barn owned by one of HBFF of PA’s directors, Eugene Wingert, Loudon Road, St. Thomas.

This massive barn is located on the old Wilson homestead, along what was formerly the Old Forbes Road. HBFF of PA’s vice president, Greg Huber, calls it “a prototypical Franklin County, brick Sweitzer barn.”

“It possesses the distinctive rear brick out-sheds. Its great end-wall brick patterning is a powerfully expressed local building tradition, and it reflects several of the barns on this year’s annual HBFF of PA Barn Tour,” Huber says. “These brick barns have never been seen on any of the previous years’ HBFF of PA annual barn tours. They are great treats to behold and will not soon be forgotten.”

Members and non-members are welcome to participate in this educational and social gathering in Franklin County. There will be a banquet at the St. Thomas Fire Co., following the Friday afternoon barn tour of Wingert’s farm. The tour begins at 4 p.m., and the banquet will begin at 6 p.m. Barn documenter, Phil Schaff of Chambersburg and HBFF of PA Director Dianna Heim, will present an informative program entitled: “Cumberland Valley Barns: Past and Present – Brick End Barns of Franklin County” following a brief business meeting.

Phil Schaff, a native of Chambersburg, began working in a local camera store around 1964. He spent a decade working for that business, photographing nature and landscapes over the years. Since 1999, he has been working on a project to document Franklin County’s brick-end barns. This resulted in the release of a poster depicting 19 of the 109 such barns in the county. The poster was made possible through Chambersburg for the Arts and several local historical societies. Since retiring in 2004 from a 28-year career as a fuel truck driver for McCleary Oil Co., Phil enjoys being able to spend more time taking photographs.

Dianna Heim will be speaking about the men and women who built the Franklin County barns, sharing stories related to her by an old barn builder who provided a wealth of information on how he, his father and his grandfather raised barns. She will provide information about how the Civil War affected the farms in the area and how the barns were used during that time. She will also share the progression of log to brick-end barns in the valley.

According to HBFF of PA Secretary Ken Sandri, the “Great Valley” of Pennsylvania was part of the early migration routes for American immigrants moving west from the colonial settlement areas on the east coast of the new English colonies. The earliest settlements and cities began near harbors and major rivers where commerce flourished. One of America’s first and greatest economic opportunities came in its ability to utilize wide expanses of land to feed its citizens and later export its harvests to the world.

“The highly fertile lands of the Lehigh and Cumberland valleys became a natural thoroughfare for settlers going west that were looking to acquire their own land to clear and establish an agrarian lifestyle. Franklin County is an unbroken extension of the wide fertile land called the “Great Valley.” Early in the 1700s and into the mid- 1800s, farms were established to produce the crops that helped expand America. These farms still operate,” Sandri explains.

June 18 will be devoted to touring eight historic barns in Franklin County. The schedule begins at 8:30 a.m., starting from the lot across the street from the Four Points Sheraton, 1123 Lincoln Way East, Chambersburg, PA 17201 and concludes at approximately 5 p.m. The day of historic barns will be divided by a boxed lunch and tour at the Conococheague Institute, Mercersburg. All participants in Saturday’s tour must ride on the bus. Reservations are required to participate in either or in both days’ events.

The cost of each day’s event is $60 for HBFF of PA members and $85 for nonmembers. Spouse price is $40 for members and $60 for nonmembers. If a non-member participates in both Friday’s and Saturday’s event, the member price applies to the second day. For more information, contact President Sheila Miller at 610-589-5617 or go to the Web site: www.pahistoricbarns.org to download a registration form.

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