Storm destroys historic barn near Sharpsburg

June 06, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- "That's the end of this barn," Ellis Keyfauver said Thursday morning as he surveyed the damage wrought by a storm that ripped through southern Washington County a day earlier.

The barn, which had stood on the outskirts of Sharpsburg since at least 1913, was felled by the power of the storm.

"I thought it would stand to be 100, but it didn't make it," Keyfauver, 87, said.

The weathered wooden frame, metal roof and valuable cupolas laid in a heap on top of the barn's concrete foundation.

"When you get storms like we had yesterday, you're lucky anything stands," Keyfauver said.

On Thursday morning, women in the nearby Kathy's Hair Care salon were discussing the wreckage.

Kathy Muck, 51, the salon's owner, said she remembers the barn from her childhood in Sharpsburg.

Muck lives near Keyfauver's property, and every morning she saw the barn out her bedroom window.


She said she has been meaning to make a painting of the barn, and will now do that from memory, she said.

Geneva Hollenshaed, 77, has known the barn her whole life, she said as she sat under a hair dryer at the salon.

Hollenshaed was home on Millers Sawmill Road during Wednesday's storm.

The wind blew in her kitchen door and she had to wipe rain water up from her kitchen floor, Hollenshaed said.

"I've never seen it rain like that before," she said. "I couldn't see my neighbor's house from my house," she said.

Wind also tore down part of Muck's newly installed fence, which was only yards from Keyfauver's barn.

The National Weather Service on Thursday sent a representative to Washington County to survey the damage as a way of determining whether the storm included a tornado, said Jared Klein of the weather service. The agency received a lot of reports about damage in Washington County, Klein said.

At Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg, a majority of the park's maintenance staff was out cutting up tree branches that had fallen, Chief Ranger Ed Wenschhof said.

About a dozen larger trees in Antietam National Cemetery were damaged or knocked over, and a contract crew was in the cemetery removing them, he said. Wenschhof estimated that the tree removal alone would cost at least $20,000.

No headstones in the cemetery appeared to have been damaged, but the force of the wind bent a flagpole, he said.

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