Barn fire near White Hall 'suspicious'

May 22, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

The cause of a fire Thursday that destroyed a two-story barn on Norrisville Road at Old York Road in the northwestern section of the county was "suspicious," fire authorities said.

The red-painted landmark near White Hall was built in 1887, said state Deputy Fire Marshal Robert Thomas.

The first alarm was sounded about 2 a.m. A second alarm was sounded about a half-hour later.

More than 20 fire trucks and about 150 volunteers from Harford and Baltimore counties and southern Pennsylvania brought the two-alarm fire under control in about two hours, Mr. Thomas said. There were no injuries.

The 45-by-75-foot barn was owned by brothers Fred and Gary Miller of White Hall.

A small quantity of hay and straw was lost. About 30 cows usually kept in the barn had been moved to a pasture, Gary Miller said.

The value of the barn was estimated at $100,000, Mr. Thomas said.

Attempts to determine the historical significance of the barn met with limited success.

Because the county Historical Society is in the process of relocating, source material is packed in boxes, a spokeswoman for the Historical Society said.

Elizabeth Tucker of White Hall, whose husband, Barkley, is a past president of the Historical Society, recalled that the property once was owned by Burt Wright, a farmer.

Paul Miller Sr., father of the owners, said that the property was owned by a farmer named Gilbert before Mr. Wright.

"I think his first name may have been Harry, but I'm not certain of that," said Paul Miller. He said that a farmhouse on the property was once an inn, but couldn't recall its name.

Gary Miller said that he remembered hearing that the farmhouse was called the Blue Rock Hotel around the turn of the century and that it was a roadhouse where travelers stopped overnight on their way to and from Baltimore. He said he thought the barn hTC was built by neighboring farmers who helped Mr. Gilbert at a barn-raising.

Gary Miller said he and his brother bought the property about 1986.

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