WORK CONTINUES ON ‘SAVING OUR BARN’
Pennsylvania barns are vanishing but an effort to save the still existing historic structures is ongoing. The Pennsylvania state legislature designated 2015 as the ‘Year of the Pennsylvania Barn’ in the hope that awareness of these beautifully crafted barns would spur owners to act to preserve them. West Rockhill Township owns an early example of a Swiss German forebay barn, also known as the James Barn, located in the central part of the Township in James Memorial Park at 1027 Ridge Road.
West Rockhill Township’s ambitious plan to save its historic James Barn is progressing. Contractors completed stabilization of the critical summer beam in the centuries old structure in autumn of 2015. New gutters, soffits, and downspouts have been installed on the southern side. New windows have replaced the deteriorated ones- two on the front and two on the street side. The most prominent feature is the green steel siding visible from Ridge Road. Still to be completed in this initial phase of stabilization is work on the gable ends and new gutters on the bank side.
Preservation of the Township’s rich agricultural legacy partially lies in renovating the James Barn and adapting its use for community and cultural events. Although the initial exterior stabilization is almost complete, major rehabilitation lies ahead requiring a community wide effort. Public engagement is essential for the success of this undertaking.
The volunteer ‘Save our Barn’ committee is seeking individual, small business, and corporate funds to continue the stabilization and renovation process. A Township wide contest with the best ideas to utilize and restore the James Barn is being considered.