NEWBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — The Fish Barn in York County is a bit of a fixer upper. There’s lots of trash to move out, the foundation definitely needs some tender loving care, and both the siding and roofing need to be replaced.
And yet the barn, which was built in the 1850s, has a lot of potential to those who can look past the surface problems, such as George Wentz.
“It’s a one of a kind barn. You don’t find them in this condition.” he said. His associate Barney Kimmel agrees. “The barn is not the normal York County barn. The layout, the structure of the posts and beams is normal, but the size is a pretty good size barn compared to a lot of others.” he says.
The barn measures 50 by 80 feet, and is almost 20 feet to the roof gables. That’s about four feet higher than a typical York County bank barn, which works out to an additional 16,000 square feet of storage space. Why is it called the fish barn? No one knows for sure, but the most likely explanation is an unusually shaped rock in the foundation. It resembles a fish, an appearance enhanced by some white paint.
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Kimmel and Wentz are with the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association, and they were at the barn to prepare it for disassembly. The land the barn is on is slated for development, which might have led to the building being demolished. But instead RSR Realty, Landmark Homes, and the WGHSEA came together to move the barn to the Association’s grounds near Dillsburg. One of things Wentz is doing ls labelling the individual beams. Each section of the structure is marked in alphabetical order.
“Everything has a place in the barn, and to know where it goes, you have to know where it came from. So it’ll be a, b, c, d, and so on through the barn. And then everything, I draw it with the numbers on it, and anyone can pretty much put it back together.”
The barn will be disassembled from the top down, including the foundation. First to arrive will be a company to remove the metal roof. “And then they’ll start lifting the rafters down off the roof,” explains Kimmel, “And then that gets us down to the purlins. And then at that point we’ll bring a crane in to lift the purlins off, then start lifting off the bents, these partition walls are called bents.”
(Note-Purlins are horizontal beams that support a roof. I admit it, I had to look that up.- D.)
The barn parts will be transported to the Association facility in Carroll Township, York County, where the barn will be re-erected from the bottom up. There’s a nice slope there, perfect for erecting a bank barn.
How long will the entire job take? “We don’t really have a schedule that’s going to tell us exactly,” says Kimmel, “Because as people donate their time, we give them time to come here and help us with their specialty, and so we have to wait, sometimes a week or something.” There are also some building permits to obtain.
But if all goes well, Barney Kimmel hopes to see the barn go back up in summer of 2023. “Maybe between July 4th and the beginning of August we would like to have a barn raising event, we’re thinking maybe four or five days of events that would also include some other activities on the site.”