Sunday, May 17, 2009

Poffenberger Farm update

Raising the Roof

Earlier posts (here) have looked at the Park's restoration efforts at the Poffenberger Farm on the very northern end of the Battlefield.  I stopped by on Friday after getting a heads-up from the head of the maintenance division that some big doings were afoot.  And how!

Now that much of the lowest level of the barn has been conserved and restored the crew is directing their attentions to the roof.

The deteriorated metal roofing material has been removed and now timbers are being assessed.  Eventually the whole roof has to be reseated upon the walls as it currently is slightly ajar, from generations of windstorms pushing at the structure.

This is a job for skilled technicians and heavy equipment.

In this shot you can see the lower level work that has already been completed.  The workmanship is absolutely superb!

While checking out the barn I heard the sound of power tools coming from in front of the house, causing me to think that perhaps the door might be instincts were correct!

At long last I was able to get a glimpse of the interior of the Joseph Poffenberger house.  And now, I'd like to share these images with you.

The front door from what I'd imagine was the parlor.  This opens onto the front porch which overlooks the nearby Hagerstown Pike. 

A peek into a lower level closet reveals the original log construction, still appearing quite square.

Why can't door latches still look (or work) this way?

From a side room, through an old pane of glass, looms the barn.

Although the fireplace has been long-ago walled over the surround remains.  The modern scaffolding clues us in to the fact that the maintenance and cultural resources folks are using the house as a protected staging area for this multi-year project.

Let's take a look upstairs to see what other glimpses of history can be gained.

Hmmmm.  I don't think these teenage mutant ninja-turtles are mid 19th century, but they are an indication of how recently the home was lived in.

The upstairs bedrooms are roomy and well fenestrated.

And look, a lovely upstairs porch just beyond the screen door,  just waiting for...


 What a delightful place to catch a shaded breeze, today as well as a century ago.  Some places, and moments, on the battlefield seem to transcend time.

Stairs continue to the attic...

noteworthy mostly for that slant-wise chimney.

Back down to the kitchen, which is a mix of 19th and 20th century domesticity (as well as construction materials).

The pantry has this very cool, very narrow window with a great view of the barn and yard.

From the kitchen I proceeded down to the cellar.

I crunched along the crushed gravel floor...
to the old cellar doors, illuminated from above.

I'll have to find out if anyone was sheltering down here during the battle.

The house and the barn are only part of the overall project,  as evidenced by numerous new fences installed along the historic fence lines.

This is the lane connecting the Poffenberger farm to the Hagerstown pike.

With the restored wagon shed in the background (details here), another historic outbuilding awaits its turn for conservation.

Stay tuned for further progress reports from the Poffenberger farm,

just north of Sharpsburg.

Ranger Mannie


Anonymous said...

Mannie, now THESE are the kinds of behind the scenes photos and posts that we've come to enjoy and admire! Sure wish I could explore such structures! Thank you, as always!


Steve Soper said...

Fascinating, as always! I was wondering if you can tell us a little about the role the Poffenberger Farm played during the battle, maybe what it might have looked like around 1862, that sort of thing?

Thanks Mannie!

Anonymous said...

Mannie, I too greatly appreciate your updates on the restoration and preservation projects that are on-going. Since I've made only one trip to Antietam this spring, your posts on progress at preserving several of the farms is especially enlightening. For this year's anniversary walks, ya'll need to do another "farms" walking tour as was done several years ago... just to update the status of the Locher cabin, and Miller, Poffenberger, Park, Roulett, and Sherrick houses. Anyway, thanks for your posts, keep 'em coming.
Ron Dickey

Phyllis Koplin said...

My Great-Grandmother was Alveretta May Poffenberger. Yes, they did shelter in the cellar during the battle. As a child I was told that things quieted some and Alvie's father went to look out and got a bullet through his hat so they stayed closed in for a few more days. Also heard many mentions of the Miller family in the next farm. Phyllis Koplin

valj said...

how wonderful to see my ancesters home , my father was a Poffenberger from Indiana ,i was born & live in England so its extra special to me , please keep up the good work i really appreciate it Val Guppy