1840s barn rises again at county farm museum

Structure will house transportation exhibit

April 27, 2001|By Jamie Manfuso | Jamie Manfuso,SUN STAFF

An 1840s barn that was dismantled and moved to make room for a Westminster housing development begins a new existence tomorrow as an exhibit building at Carroll County Farm Museum.

As part of its 35th-anniversary celebration, the farm museum will dedicate the Mearing Barn at 1 p.m. tomorrow. The restored barn, the latest addition to the 140-acre museum outside Westminster, will house a new transportation exhibit that features horse-drawn carriages, sleighs and farm implements.

Developer Jonathan Fink of Triangle Realty and Construction Co. donated the peg-and-post-style bank barn to the museum in 1998 to make room for 111 houses at Route 31 and Uniontown Road.

The 45-by-60-foot, two-story structure was moved from its original location in early spring 1998. That May, an Amish construction crew from Pennsylvania reconstructed the barn.

Jacob Mearing built the barn on 93 3/4 acres of farmland purchased in 1842 for $4,031.25. Museum officials said it is a pristine example of peg-and-post construction, which uses wooden pegs to hold the structure together. While many barns are altered to make way for modern equipment, the Mearing Barn was changed little over the years.

"It preserved a piece of Carroll County history," said museum administrator Dottie Freeman. "Instead of being torn down to make room for a subdivision, it is being used as a history lesson."

The barn's original oak and chestnut beams are intact, but new exterior walls and a tin roof have been added.

The restoration cost about $100,000, Freeman said. That includes about $50,000 for the 1998 barn raising, cash and in-kind donations, and money from the museum's funds.

The Mearing Barn joins several farm museum structures that were built in the early 1850s, including an almshouse and a barn.

The transportation exhibit will feature carriages and other vehicles used for business and pleasure between 1860 and 1910. Some carriages were previously on display at a hilltop barn that was less visible and accessible.

The museum plans to build meeting rooms and a general store on the barn's lower level.

The museum will offer free admission from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow. Tours of the new exhibit will begin at 1:30 p.m., after the ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication.

Information: 410-848-7775.

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