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Historic Dauphin site’s curator: ‘If The Star Barn’s walls could talk, I wonder what they would say’

York Daily Record/Sunday News photographer Bil Bowden captured this wonderful image of the soon-to-be-relocated Star Barn in Dauphin County. That star measures 14-feet across. (See additional images below.) Background posts: Gettysburg-area National Register homestead gives snapshot of pressures facing farms and Horn Farm: ‘A very special living history memorial to those hardy ancestors’ and ‘It’s so sad to see such a great piece of architecture fall down’.

Dauphin County’s Star Barn, so familiar to motorists, will move to its new Lebanon County home some day.
Which raises a question.
How do you move a barn of that size?
The barn’s Web site gives the answer… .

Robert S. Barr is a Fawn Grove, York County, native.
The barn and associated buildings will be dismantled a piece at a time starting this summer and moved to its new site and rebuilt by the spring of 2010.
That dismantling process will also include its stone foundation, limestone walls, windows, doors and silo.
The cupolas will be not be taking apart but removed intact and restored.
The giant stars and louvered windows will be braced and moved in one piece.
It will be rebuilt on a new foundation, faced with the original stone, and reassembled as it was built in 1872.

A cow’s watering valve is shaped as a star.
An excerpted Weekly Record story (3/19/09) gives more information:

This summer, The Star Barn, a National Historic Landmark with the National Register of Historic Places, will be disassembled one board at a time, moved to a new location and rebuilt using old-fashioned construction methods.
The barn will be put together the same way it was 136 years ago, said Robert S. Barr, president of Agrarian Country, which owns the 1872 historic Star Barn complex.
Barr, a Fawn Grove native, said the project should be finished by about spring 2010.
“It is a national landmark,” Barr said. “People recognize it.”
The barn will be the centerpiece of a nearly 900-acre spread in East Hanover Township, Lebanon County, he said.
Roberta Freeman, project director and curator for the Star Barn, said the complex symbolizes the importance of preserving the area’s rural and agricultural heritage.
“Each year, Pennsylvania loses many of its yesteryear barns to development,” she stated in an e-mail. “People, young and old alike, who have toured The Star Barn Complex are amazed at the architecture and develop more of an appreciation for these treasures.”
The Star Barn is a fine example of the craftsmanship and attention to detail that is generally missing from farm structures built today, she said.
“As an artist, I also find The Star Barn Complex to be a beautiful subject for painting and photography,” she said. “Visiting the barn makes me envision the way it was in the 1870s. If The Star Barn’s walls could talk, I wonder what they would say.”

For more information about The Star Barn at Agrarian Country, visit www.TheStarBarn.com or www.AgrarianCountry.com. For another blogger’s perspective on the barn, see Joan Concilio’s Just beyond York County’s borders.

* Updated, 4/12/10