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Susquehanna Life

State legislature declares 2015 the Year of the Pennsylvania Barn

Apr 21, 2015 09:36AM ● By Erica Shames

Historic Barn & Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania - This is an example of a forebay barn, which is also known as a Pennsylvania barn. The state legislature declared 2015 the Year of the Pennsylvania Barn on Monday.

The Pennsylvania legislature declared 2015 the Year of the Pennsylvania Barn on Monday.

The resolution doesn’t appropriate any money or preserve properties, but the hope is that it will raise awareness among barn owners and appreciation among residents to give the preservation movement a boost.

Rep. Brett Miller, who represents the 41st District in the central-western part of Lancaster County, said he was happy to vote in favor of naming 2015 the Year of the Pennsylvania Barn.

“Though there are certainly many more impactful topics under discussion in the Capitol right now, this brief action by the Pennsylvania House helps to underscore the importance of agriculture across Pennsylvania,” Miller said in an email Tuesday.

The Historic Barn & Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania was created to preserve and protect state barns. The nonprofit organization will hold its annual meeting June 12 and 13 at the Landis Valley Museum.

Examples of Pennsylvania barns will be featured as part of a tour that will be held during the organization’s gathering.

The deadline to register for the meeting and tour is May 15. To register, send an email to

A main characteristic of a Pennsylvania barn includes one side of the structure extending out over its foundation. The barn is banked into the land, with the lower level accessible from the front and the upper level from the back.

The upper level hangs over the stable wall in the front.

Historians estimate there might be tens of thousands of Pennsylvania barns in the state.

“(The resolution) puts a spotlight on the historic barn structures that, while serving as the centerpiece of a farm, also portray a distinct regional heritage as they dot our countrysides,” Miller said.

“I know that when I drive through Lancaster County farmland, I really appreciate the rich history and beauty of the older barns,” he said.

Do you have any photos of the many different types of barns in Lancaster County? Go to our Facebook page and share them with us.

Above is a photo gallery with a few photos of Sweitzer barns courtesy of barn historian Greg Huber, who is on the board of the Historic Barn & Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania. Sweitzer barns are a type of Pennsylvania barn.

All of these barns are located in Lancaster County.

Story By ALEJANDRO RIOS | Lancaster Online Community Engagement Specialist

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