On a spectacular autumn day last Saturday, six Adams County barns were on display for the public to travel back in time for the annual Historic Barns Tour hosted by Historic Gettysburg-Adams County (HGAC).
Five of the barns are privately owned and usually not open to the public.
Visitors were given the opportunity to drive to each barn and tour the buildings, each of which was built in the 19th Century using hand tools.
Each barn exhibit featured a variety of educational and fun activities, including art displays; demonstrations of woodworking, pottery, brickmaking, timber-framing, tatting, and lace making; visits to cattle and working horses; as well as a variety of music, cider tastings, and farm-raised foods.
Civil War living history characters were on hand to recount mid-1800s life during the time period when the barns were built, and The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, in historic dress, demonstrated quadrille dancing to the tunes of Nineteenth Century Parlor Band, the Susquehanna Travellers.
Participating barns included:
Round Barn in Biglerville, whose architect Noah Sheely is known for “creating one of the first large commercial fruit operations within the county back in 1878” which later provided the blueprint for other farmers and Adams County’s current thriving fruit industry.
Starr Barn in Hanover, built ca. 1840, which won HGAC’s first annual Barn Preservation Award in 2008. The barn is a hybrid of the original historic structure, adapted to include a pottery studio and shop on the ground floor and a residence on the upper floor.
Beech Springs Farm Barn in Orrtanna, built in 1867, which won HGAC’s Barn Preservation Award in 2013. This barn is classified as a Basement Drive-through Standard Pennsylvania Barn and now serves as a wedding and event venue.
Sarah Patterson Barn in Gettysburg, built in the 1830s, is a stone Classic Sweitzer Pennsylvania Barn which had served as a temporary Union field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg.
Cornerstone Barn in Gettysburg was built in the 1880s and received the 2020 HGAC Barn Preservation Award. It is a Standard Pennsylvania Barn with a built-up ramp and access to the upper level. The barn is part of the 7 Sky Farm, known for its pasture-raised Hereford Beef Cattle.
Stone of Scone Barn in Littlestown was built in the 1820s and received the 2019 HGAC Barn Preservation Award. It is a brick-end Classis Sweitzer Pennsylvania Barn.
Proceeds of the tour will benefit the HGAC Barn Preservation Project and Grant Program.
Historic Gettysburg-Adams County (HGAC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information, visit the HGAC website: https://www.hgaconline.org/hgac-barn-tour-2023.
Donate Gardner, freelance reporter, came to Gettysburg in 2021 from Montgomery County, Maryland. A former linguist-turned-legal professional, Donate recently retired from the corporate world and is eager to support her new community in a variety of ways. As an immigrant born, raised, and educated in Germany, Donate still maintains a strong connection to the German language as a freelance writer and translator. Donate is an active musician and has made her new home in Gettysburg available to host house concerts for traveling musicians and local artists in need of support. Donate and her husband have two daughters and three grandchildren.