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Log cabin to benefit historic center

January 20, 1999

Buchanan houseBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




WELSH RUN, Pa. - Members of the Conococheague Institute are dismantling their second old log house, the parts of which are becoming the raw materials for their new cultural and historic center being built near Welsh Run.

This week, members were dismantling a mid-19th century, brick-covered, two-story log farmhouse at the intersection of Pa. 995 and Montgomery Church Road. The wide oak and pine floorboards taken from the attic of the home will be used as the main floor of a log cabin built in 1810 by Eliab Negley.

The cabin is in its final stages of restoration at the Institute's center at Rock Hill Farm near Welsh Run.

The rest of the salvageable parts from the old house, especially its tongue-and-groove paneling, will be used elsewhere at the new center, said Gaye Buchanan, vice president of the institute.

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The institute bought the old house from the Montgomery Brethren in Christ Church in a sealed bid for $2,000 July. It has a year to remove the house and its adjacent barn, fill in the foundation and level the site.

"We're going to finish it by June because we don't want to pay taxes on the buildings next year," Buchanan said.

Last year, the institute launched a $100,000 fund-drive to buy a two-story, corner-post log house in Lurgan in northern Franklin County. The house has been dismantled and moved to the Institute's property where it will be rebuilt as an education and visitor center, she said.

The hamlet of Welsh Run, today about a dozen homes and a vacant store at the intersection of Pa. 995 and Pa. 416, was settled in the late 1600s and early 1700s by Welsh farmers and their families who came to the area in clans. They also settled in Clay Lick five miles to the west.

Rock Hill Farm on Bain Road about a mile from Welsh Run is the home of the Conococheague Institute. Rock Hill, built in 1685 by Robert Davis, was the first farm in the Welsh settlement.

John Stauffer, a retired physician whose ancestors were among the early settlers, owns Rock Hill Farm. He founded Conococheague Institute in 1994 to promote the natural and cultural history of the area. He set aside 24 acres for the institute.

The main farmhouse may one day become part of the institute if the center succeeds, said Buchanan, herself a descendent of the first Welsh settlers.

Stauffer spends his time between homes in Greencastle, Pa., and Ventura, Calif.

The Negley cabin will be used for living history exhibits, Buchanan said.

Other plans call for the center to develop a network of historic trails showing the natural resources and ecology of the region, a genealogy center, to serve as a model for rural restoration and historic and environmental study and preservation.

The institute sponsors speaking programs and provides brochures, scholarly newsletters, consultants and interactive school programs, she said. It has about 50 active members.

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