Monday, April 21, 2008
A Harvest of Antietam Barns: part four
The Joseph Poffenberger Barn
On the far Northern end of the battlefield sits a cluster of original buildings known as the Joseph Poffenberger Farm. Headquarters to General Joe Hooker, overnight bivouac area and jumping off point for the First Corps, and hospital for Clara Barton, this group of structures is a valuable historical resource and a wonderful time capsule for the park visitor.
In earlier posts this blog has covered the restoration of the Poffenberger wash house and wagon barn. Now the really big project is underway, the stabilization and conservation of the enormous and majestic bank barn.
This project is slated to take five years to complete and just got underway this past October. I swing by the farm every Sunday when I'm Rangering to look at the progress, which has been steady and impressive.
The Park's maintainence division is heading up this massive effort. When they are done the barn should be good for another 145 years or so.
Though we seldom think of it, a barn has a skeleton nearly as complex as ours.
The barnyard is surrounded by this unique round stone wall. Two thirds of the wall is missing, the stones are heaped near by in a grass covered mound. The wall will be rebuilt to its original splendor.
This weathered southeast corner of the barn shows the age and deterioration of the structure. This was the kind of place many of us would have learned to smoke cigarettes.
A graphic look at work needing to be done. Over the years the entire roof has become askew from the walls. Note how out of alignment the notches of the trusses are from the header of the wall.
Heavy steel cable is being used throughout the structure to pull it back into plumb and square.
New materials are being stockpiled all over the barnyard. As these old timbers are carefully removed (before they fall apart)...
they get replaced with these. Note subtle differences.
Elaborate systems of jacks and cribbing hold the structure in place as timbers are removed and replaced. Thats the same southeastern corner as in the earlier picture, quite a difference eh?
New materials are skillfully married to old in a demonstration of an art that is kept alive in this region and at this National Park.
The work continues apace, and I'll provide more coverage as things continue to develop. I hope to get some video footage as well.