Star Barn #13382

Matted, canvas, & high gloss metal prints available. Questions? Questions?


The Story

This is the original historic 1877 Star Barn in its original location with a reflecting pond. The Star Barn is very likely one of the most photographed and well-known barns in Pennsylvania and beyond, partly due to I-283 that was built directly behind the barn in 1970. It lies just behind the trees in this picture and traffic was easily heard while on site too. You couldn’t miss the high white steeple of the Star Barn’s central cupola driving by on the interstate and thousands would see it daily.

The barn had been sitting for many years while slowly deteriorating. As can be seen in the picture, there were a lot of leaning parts, flaking paint, and sagging rooflines. Mixed in with old weathered parts were some fresh paint and partially new roofing.  These were rudimentary attempts by a small preservation group to try to keep it together to prevent the condition from worsening.

The rebuilt Star Barn, a Pennsylvania landmark with its signature cupola spires.
The rebuilt Star Barn in gleaming white, a Pennsylvania landmark with its signature cupola spires and star-shaped main ventilator.

However, since this photo was taken, the Star Barn and all its outbuildings were taken down and reassembled further east at Elizabethtown in Lancaster County and today they serve as the centerpiece of a for-hire wedding and event complex. All the buildings were completely restored, often remaking the needed replacement parts from scratch. None of the wonderful Victorian Gothic Revival architecture from long ago has been lost.

The interior of the barn now includes large spaces for wedding parties and two professional kitchens and all else an event hall needs. The interior walls are all wood with much of it refurbished original, like the main beams. Interestingly, the original barn is still all there but covered over outside with a new free-standing exterior close over it like a shell.

I’ve been to the new site to visit and photograph and it’s still quite an enjoyable wonder to behold if you have a thing for Victorian Gothic Revival era architecture. You can see both the old and new versions in the Star Barn gallery on my website.

Among those who know, the Star Barn is strongly considered a classic example of Gothic Revival architecture and has long been a landmark. The barn and its outbuildings were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

Location: Lower Swatara Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. Picture and story © Andrew Dierks

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