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Museum exhibit tells story of historic Kammerer House

September 19, 2004

The demolition of an historic house is like a death in the family - we celebrate the memory as we regret the demise.

The Kammerer House, built in Washington County just south of State Line, Pa., in 1774, was razed five years ago. The Washington County Rural Heritage Museum commemorating the history of this old friend in a special display entitled "Houses Tell Their Own Stories."

The centerpiece of the presentation is the original Kammerer House date stone, inscribed with the year and the initials of the earliest owner/builder ("LK" for Ludwig Kammerer), along with a chunk of the huge 15-foot surviving "summer beam," axe-hewn from a single tree-trunk.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation financed the Kammerer House Recordation Project. The documentation produced by Paula S. Reed & Associates provides the basis for the exhibit.

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By listening to the story the Kammerer House tells, we can learn about the builder: his background, his financial status, his skill as a builder. We learn about the date of the house and its various additions: determined by the hardware, the building techniques, changes in the exterior walls, and the preparation of the building materials.

We can also see pictures of puncheons - three-sided hewn slabs of wood filled with mud or mortar which, when covered with floor boards, served as insulation. To the best of museum officials' knowledge, there have been no examples of puncheons used in construction in Washington County since 1800.

This and much more awaits visitors to The Washington County Rural Heritage Museum. This exhibit, the Dairy Exhibit and the Barn Cupola Exhibit will likewise remain on display until the end of October.

The museum is located at the Washington County Agricultural Center complex at 7313 Sharpsburg Pike, about seven miles south of Hagerstown on Md. 65.

The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. until Oct. 31. Admission is free and free ice cream is offered to visitors in conjunction with the dairy exhibit.

Come see us. You'll be glad you did - and so will we!

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