A Real Book Barn

When I first announced my photo project about Pennsylvania barns, one of my former journalism students quipped: Does Pottery Barn count?

He was playing off the commercialization of the word "barn," not the literal barn. There are variations of Pottery Barn and not one of the businesses is in a barn. I saw a Dress Barn in a shopping mall in Southbury, Connecticut, the other day.

However, there's an exception.

That would be Canaday's Book Barn in Carlisle, which I photographed right after the Lebanon Valley barn tour and the McPherson barn in Gettysburg.

If you go to the link, you'll learn that the owner, Ted Canaday, converted the barn into a bookstore. He has done an excellent job of retaining the barn's internal features, from the plan floor to the post and beams. He did add a loft and reused lumber from the granary to create restrooms. He did have to meet building codes.

He gave me a tour and I snapped several photos but I do want to go back when I have more time and using my wide-angle lens and a tripod, take more photos so you can see the internal barn structure as Ted has restored it.


A Pennsylvania Barn Story

I have finally begun in earnest photographing barns for my Pennsylvania Barn Stories. My wife and I recently went on a barn tour in the Lebanon Valley and then proceeded to Gettysburg to meet with friends and to photograph the McPherson barn.  Here's what the National Park Service says about the barn:

Edward McPherson's farm was a half mile west of Gettysburg, atop the ridge that also bears his name. The area was the scene of intense fighting on July 1st, 1863, as Confederate General Henry Heth's Division advanced towards Gettysburg against defending Union cavalry under General John Buford. Union reinforcements from General John Reynolds' First Corps arrived and counterattacked, and fighting swirled through McPherson's pasturelands and two fields planted in corn and wheat, as well as through neighbor John Herbst's woods. McPherson's barn became a place of refuge for the wounded, and continued as a hospital long after the battle ended.

McPherson was a lawyer and journalist who had served in the U.S. House of Respresentatives from 1859 until March of 1863. A Radical Republican, he had lost the1862 election, after which President Lincoln appointed him as Deputy Commissioner of Internal Revenue. John Slentz and his family were renting the McPherson farm at the time of the battle.

The barn is the last survivor of Edward McPherson's buildings, and was restored by the National Park Service in 1978. It is currently used by a local farmer who also leases the McPherson fields.

We stayed at a motel on Buford Avenue in a small unit separate from the  other rooms. The modest building was identified as the Dustman Barn and was also used as a hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg.

We then moved on to Carlisle to check out Canaday's Book Barn. The owner graciously opened the doors and turned on the lights and I took some photos but I want to go back and take more.

I've identified more than 60 barns that might be story worthy. Now I need to find the time to photograph them.