IN Phoenixville Area Summer 2017 - Page 38

Our Barns Tell Our History T he Schuylkill Township Historical Commission is pleased to present Jeffrey L. Marshall, President of the Heritage Conservancy in Doylestown, PA, at the Phoenixville Country Club on Thursday, June 8, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. He will present a program on barns and how they tell a story of our own history and how our country grew from an agrarian community to the communities we know today. Jeffrey Marshall has been involved in historic preservation for 40 years. He is a nationally recognized authority on historic barns as well as recognized expert in southeastern Pennsylvania historic architecture. Marshall serves on the Board of Directors of the National Barn Alliance and the Board of Directors of the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania. Schuylkill Township is fortunate to have many barns named on its list of historic resources and its Historical Commission oversees this list to preserve them. Our barns today are vanishing quickly and it is important to save these “cathedrals of the fields” while we can. Marshall states, “Barns are important, because they symbolize not only craftsmanship but farmers’ dedication to their land.” 36 Phoenixville Area History of Barn Building Barns are the story of America. From pioneer, pre-industrial America to the heartland of modern rural America, it is a long, interesting and important tale. The barns of America have stood as witnesses and guardians of the history of our country. From tiny log pens cut into wilderness to those ornate “castles” in the middle of vast fields, they tell the story of hard work, dedication, aspiration, and creativity. The farmer was a carpenter and builder. He was a man who knew his wood when it stood in the forest, who felled his own timber, seasoned it and hewed the logs himself. Equipped with nothing more than a straight-edge, a compass, a square and a good sound logic, he built in New England, Virginia, Pennsylvania and the West the sound barns with many still standing today. In fact, the Pennsylvania Barn has been considered the standard by which many barns are patterned. These structures were sturdy and weather-cured and in beautiful proportion, for in building for soundness and endurance, for wind and weather, these men built with unsurpassed architectural honesty and beauty.