2013-02-13 / Local & State

Group Works To Save Historic Adams County Barns

By Jessica Haines


GETTYSBURG, Pa. ( AP) – Barns in Adams County are unique.

Not only do they boast a style special to the Pennsylvania Dutch farmers that settled in Adams County, but they played a significant role in the Battle of Gettysburg. Whether they were field hospitals or strongholds for bands of soldiers, Adams County barns are part of the very fabric of the community.

“We realize what we've got here is special,” said Curt Musselman, chairman of the Historic Preservation Society of Gettysburg - Adams County's ( HGAC) Barn Preservation Project.

In an effort to keep Adams County's barns standing for future generations to enjoy, HGAC last week announced a Barn Preservation Grant program available to local property owners. It's the first time the organization is offering the grant, which will provide up to $2,500 in matching funds for work to repair historic barns.

To be eligible for the funds, barns must be one of the 150 structures listed in the HGAC registry of historic barns.

According to Musselman, the grant funds come from ongoing fundraising done by HGAC, including annual barn tours, the BarnArt Show, lectures, and the Civil War Barn Dance.

Musselman added he believes the grant program is the first of it's kind in Pennsylvania.

“We're sort of lucky in a few different ways,” said Musselman of area historic barns. “That's why some of us are interested in preserving the barns.”

To recognize preservation efforts already completed by area property owners, HGAC has for five years awarded a Barn Preservation Award for outstanding effort in preserving a barn.

Past winners are Yake Barn, New Oxford (2012); Dingle Barn, Littlestown (2011); Landis/Miller Barn, Fairfield (2010); Kane Barn, Arendtsville (2009) and Starr Barn, Hanover (2008).

“We are excited to be able to take this important step to further the preservation of some of Adams County's historic barns,” said Musselman. “For years we have been spreading the word about the importance of saving these iconic structures and now, thanks to the donations and support of interested Adams Countians, we are able to do something to help barn owners.”

According to HGAC guidelines, not only do eligible barns need to be on the HGAC registry, but they must be at least 50 years old and in need of repairs such as roof replacement, foundation repair, window sill and wall work, siding, flooring, painting, framing, or new windows and doors. HGAC members expect recipients will maintain the historic character of barns.

Matching funds for the grant may come in the form of material purchases or labor provided.

Musselman says HGAC plans to give out the grants annually. Only one application period is planned for 2013.

“We might tweak it as time goes on and have a rolling application program,” said Musselman.

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