Sunday, November 09, 2008

Battlefield barns: a triptych

As the weather gets crisp and the days shorten, its a fine time to reflect upon some of the work that's gone on at the park over the past year. Three projects, in particular spring to mind as they all have to do with big, old, barns; two that belong on the battlefield and one that didn't, sort of.

Starting with the continuing saga of the Joseph Poffenberger barn on the northernmost end of the battlefield. The restoration of this barn has been underway for a year now and the progress is remarkable in both the scope of conservation as well as the skill of the park personnel involved in the undertaking. (click here for deep background)

New siding has been placed over the new upright timbers outside the cattle stalls on the lower level.

Major beams and crossmembers have been hewn, notched and pegged into place on the main floor.

Like pieces in a very large, very old and fragile puzzle, these timbers await their turn.

The Poffenberger farm project was slated as a five-year restoration project, and I must say that they are going great guns on it.

The second barn in this threesome is the Cunningham or Parks barn, severely damaged in the big wind storm that barrelled down the valley back in June (click here for a reminder).

The western end of this original structure was all stove in from the force of the wind, causing this barn to rocket to the top of the priority list.

Repair crews from the Maintenance  Division got in to action immediately to first, stabilize the structure, and then begin the process of repair.

This picture, taken last week shows the barn all healed up  and ready to weather many more storms.

Finally,  the barn that didn't belong.  Actually the foundation of the barn was original to the time of the battle, but the timber overstructure was from much later.  This is the barn right near the Mary Locher cabin on the west side of highway 65.  The time had arrived to remove the top portion and reveal and stabilize the historic foundation walls.
The work provided the drama that heavy machinery is always able to bring to any party.  

First the roofing gets stripped off, and then key timbers are cut, and then...

I was able to hear the Crash! from the visitor center parking lot.

The wreckage was carted away and it became the turn for that little concrete block shed to yield to battlefield preservation.

Presto!  As the remainder of wreckage is removed and the turf heals...

visitors will have this park-like view of the historic barn walls as well as the strategic Hauser Ridge beyond.

And these were just three of the many (many) projects undertaken at the park this year.  I'll post views of other 2008 park projects in upcoming blog entries.

There's always something going on,

just north of Sharpsburg.



Richard said...

I enjoy the way you keep us all up on these wonderful things going on at the battlefield. Great job on the photos.
I hope Illumination weekend is clear and dry!~

Anonymous said...

well, imagine that! I had no idea! I really liked that barn. I'll have to take a little detour and check that out this week!