There are few round barns left in Pennsylvania: you can go shopping and visit one of them in downtown Pa.
Just a short drive from the city of Harrisburg is one of the few remaining round barns in the state of Pennsylvania.
The Historic Round Barn and Farmer’s Market at 298 Cashtown Rd. In Biglerville, Pa., A few miles west of Gettysburg, this is the only Commonwealth round barn open to the public.
The barn was originally built in 1914 by the Noah Sheely family and it began as a traditional rectangular barn that lasted over seven months in total. But later that year the barn burned down and the family decided to rebuild something special.
They met a round barn in Hershey, PA that inspired them, so they decided this would be the new design for their next barn. Construction was completed in November of the same year. (Hershey’s inspiring barn burned down in 1945 and was not rebuilt.)
In all, there are about seven true round barns left across the state, according to a list compiled by photographer Dale J. Travis. The other located in Central Pal, the Neff Round Barn in Center County, houses farm equipment.
Almost all of the materials used in 1914 to build the historic Round Barn in Adams County have stood for over 100 years and remain in place today. The only part that has been replaced is the roof, which has exploded.
The roof was replaced a second time when Kevin Knouse’s family bought the barn in 1984. They were the second family to own the historic property after the Linn family, who had closed the market a few years earlier.
The barn is an impressive site inside and out with a silo 60 feet high and 12 feet wide at its center. From the second floor of the barn, you can look up and see the skeletal beamed structure of the domed roof.
“Another interesting little fact,” Knouse said, “if you actually take the side of the barn and cut it in half and then open it up, it’s almost the length of a football field. . “
Most Pennsylvania round barns were built between 1900 and 1920, with some farmers choosing the model because of a belief of the Shakers family, the very first family to build a round barn. The Shakers believed the shape would prevent the devil from trapping them in a corner.
But there were other reasons round barns grew in popularity during this period.
“The other side was more its efficiency,” Knouse said, “where a traditional rectangular barn would waste a lot of corner space. So here in a round barn you’re making full use of every square inch or foot. square of the ground.
After two decades, however, the barn design lost some popularity due to the high cost and difficulty of building them, according to Knouse.
There are other round barns, such as octagonal ones with flat sides, but “true circle” round barns, also called barrel barns, are still quite rare.
Some of the remaining round barns have fallen into disrepair. Both in the center of Pa. Remain in good condition.
According to Knouse, one of the hardest parts of maintaining his family’s barn is its size. They paint it every two years and have added new gutters “everywhere,” Knouse said. They replace the pieces of wood when necessary, but 99% of the wood in the barn is still original, he said.
When the Knouse family bought the barn, they considered setting up a farmer’s market. But major repairs and renovations were necessary first, including tackling the tattered roof.
The first floor of the barn is used to sell fresh fruits and vegetables, other food items and gifts. The market has been operating since 1994, which generates money to help preserve the historic farm, as many others built at the same time have been destroyed or fallen.
“We’re pretty proud of what we’re able to do here,” Knouse said. “To be able to grow our fruit on this farm, use some of that kind of income and some of the production to maintain this barn and keep it as beautiful as it is.
Visitors can purchase over 40 varieties of apples as well as plums, peaches, nectarines, pumpkins, sweet corn and more.
“I would say the most popular thing at the Round Barn is the amount of apples we grow,” Knouse said. “People love to come to us because in grocery stores you can find varieties, but they are pretty standard varieties. We grow a lot of different things, some of your rarer varieties of apples that we have, I think that’s definitely a draw for people who come here.
The second floor of the barn is used for event space.
“What’s more popular are barn weddings,” Knouse said. “We also organize other events and it could be corporate events, parties or birthday parties.”
The historic Round Barn and Farmer’s Market are a seasonal location as well as a seasonal market.
The market is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from the beginning of May each year until the end of October. In November, it is open on weekends only, from Friday to Sunday, at the same times as their normal schedule.
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