Monday, August 11, 2008

The "Honeydo" list

Yesterday a visitor shared with me his opinion of where the park should cut a view shed through the trees to provide a better view of Antietam Creek.  I thanked him for his idea and promised to pass his suggestion on to the appropriate department.  He persisted, saying that he didn't understand why we couldn't make that sort of thing a priority.  Again I assured him that our park staff is always very receptive to ways they can enhance the visitor experience at the park and that I would pass his suggestion on to the appropriate people.

One might think that all we'd have to do is round up a truckload of the guys and gals in green and gray armed with some chainsaws (and safety equipment) and go right out, quick-a-minute, and make that view shed for that visitor.  But I'm sure its not that simple.

Now, let me be very clear here, I'm not speaking for the park, this is just my own opinion, but I'd imagine that the park, with its limited resources, probably has a prioritized list of projects that range from "most pressing" to "can wait for a season or two".  I mean, that sounds pretty reasonable right?

What might be more pressing than establishing a new view shed of the creek?

Ladies and gentlemen,  I present the Cunningham/Park barn:

This is the Cunningham barn as it was last year when this blog made its first visit to that core area of the battlefield:

An original building that survived the battle of Antietam.

We sometimes forget just how fragile these old veterans are.

This is the same barn after that big storm this spring (which you can revisit here):

The west wall is all stove-in from the intense winds of that furious storm.
I'd imagine preserving this barn has just moved very near the top of the priorities list.

And here it is one week later as it continued to collapse from that nearly catastrophic storm

Repair parties had to wait for storm-downed mature trees to be cleared from the access road leading to the barn, 

The situation was growing more pressing with each passing day.

Disaster loomed.

And here is the same barn as I viewed it today:

The scaffolding and longshores will be removed as the newly-hewn skeleton is pegged and hammered into place and the siding again shelters the interior from the weather.

The phrase; "they don't make 'em like they used to" sometimes doesn't really apply.

The skills that raised this barn over 150 years ago are still practiced by talented hands at the Park.  Get a load of the length of this main timber!

From the inside you can get an idea of the work that has been done over the past week.

New wood mated to the sound old wood;  entropy postponed for another generation.

The crew doing the work expects to have the barn all closed, and healed up,  by next week.

This witness to the battle has been rescued by a very talented and committed team of Park Service employees.  Brought back from the very brink of disaster, this barn will continue to enhance the visitor experience at the battlefield for many more years to come. 

These are the same workers that have been restoring the Joseph Poffenberger Barn (view here),   a job that had to take a temporary back seat, allowing the crew to fight and win the race against gravity at the Cunningham site.

Sometimes a barn can't wait for a view shed to be cut.

But I'm sure, one sunny day in the future, the Park's "honeydo" list will be completed, forever and for all time.


Staying busy, just north of Sharpsburg,

Ranger Mannie

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another outstanding behind the scenes post with great photos! Where is this barn on the field? And the visitor wanting a "view shed" where there wasn't one in 1862 is a dork!