Pa. man catches a barn's brick side

December 09, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - When Phillip Schaff began his quest to photograph brick-end barns in Franklin County in 1999, he figured he'd find no more than a few dozen.

He found 100.

"The more I looked, the more I found, but I think I got them all now," said Schaff, of rural Chambersburg, Pa., a retired fuel truck driver.

"I thought I had them until a woman in Mercersburg (Pa.) called me and said she had one," he said. "She lived off Pa. 16 but you couldn't see the barn from the road."


Schaff said he decided to photograph the barns for posterity.

"I wanted to document them before they go or I go," he said. "Since I started photographing them, four are gone. One burned down, one fell down, one was taken down for a development and I don't know what happened to the fourth."

Schaff organized the photos in a scrapbook by township. Each page has photos of a barn from several angles plus a hand-written paragraph listing its age, location and owner.

He has seen brick-end barns in neighboring Pennsylvania and Maryland counties, but limited his project to Franklin County.

He believes the 100 barns he photographed were built between 1840 and 1899, except for the Mercersburg woman's barn, which was built around 1810, he said.

Some have built-in plaques showing the name of the builder and when they were built.

An amateur photographer who uses a 30-year-old Canon 35 mm, single-lens reflex camera, Schaff said he often passed brick-end barns on his fuel-truck rounds. He made notes to photograph them later.

The designs vary from religious symbols like chalices and communion squares to trees, animals, even children.

They are not only artistic, but functional, since they allow for ventilation, Schaff said.

He met with Anne Finucane, gallery director for the Council for the Arts in Chambersburg, and the idea to turn some of his photos into a fund-raising poster was born.

He selected 19 barns for the 18-inch-by-24-inch poster.

The unframed posters sell for $10.

The Council for the Arts coordinated the project. It was sponsored by the Kittochtinny Historical Society in Chambersburg, the Allison-Antrim Museum in Greencastle, Pa., the Mercersburg (Pa.) Historical Society and the Fort Loudon (Pa.) Historical Society, all of which put up money for the printing costs with a goal of making a small profit on the sales.

For information about the poster, call the Council for the Arts at 717-264-6883.

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