Friday, January 25, 2008

A Harvest of Barns pt 2: back from the brink

In the year 2000 much of the Newcomer Farm property was acquired by the Park. The house (still privately owned) and the Barn were present at the time of the battle. Sited on the Boonsboro Pike on the Sharpsburg side of Antietam Creek, the farm overlooks where the original Middle Bridge once stood.

By the time the park got hold of the barn it was in pretty ragged shape and nearing the point of no return. As with all historic structures in the park an assessment of the structure was made by the maintenance and cultural resources departments to dertermine what sort of preservation was required and how the work should be prioritized.

The roof, foundation, and supporting members were of primary concern. These departments, working cooperatively with the historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) in Frederick tackled this very large, and fairly urgent job. And today the barn is stable, not finished, but stabilized to the point where further deterioration has been abated. Work continues as funding becomes available, but that's a whole 'nuther story!

Keep an eye on the barn as the years roll by, it will be quite a success story.

Here are shots taken this past summer:

Roof repairs are evident in this view,

as is newer siding in this shot.

The barn's ramp was excavated to provide access to the damaged foundation.

Very substantial, though temporary, cribbing has been installed to support the weight of the barn until restoration work on the foundation is complete.

Similar cribbing supports the main floor while rotted original supports can be replaced or repaired.

Exposed at a foundation corner is the timber joinery typical of the era. This is one of those "lost arts" that the Park Service manages to keep alive through facilities like the Historic Preservation Training Center.

Keep in mind that these enormous undertakings are done by a relatively small staff of professionals who are generally working on three or four similar projects at the same time. I think that projects like this are worthy expenditures of our tax and preservation dollars and countless hours of sweat and elbow grease on the part of NPS personnel, volunteers, and preservation groups alike.


Jenny said...

Great images as always Mannie.

David Roberts said...

In 2000? I worked with Dave Choik, a barn restoration expert from Michigan to stabilize the newcomer barn.
It was somehow, I don't know what was holding it up, sitting on the edge of total collapse, and some of our work was quite dicey, I got slammed in the side of the head by a kicking-out jacking post a couple times while jacking.
The entire center 14" x 14" bean running down the entire length of its middle was eaten away by the termites, and the floor had pretty much collapsed. I preserved a nylon banded (to insure its integrity) 12" section for the NPS but they weren't interested, I finally got rid of it about 8 years ago
Our job was to stabilize, we lifted the floor placed temporary posts, used chain falls and cable to straighten things replace the plate beneath the gable and then waited for the NPS to remove the tons of drying manure from beneath.

Would you believe I can not find my "before" photos of the place, showing the distorted roof line!@!!!