Monthly Archives: December 2016

NPS HPTC Visit 12/14/16

Tom Vitanza, Senior Historical Architect and Moss Rudley, Deputy Superintendent, of the NPS Historic Preservation Training Center and Nicholas Redding, Executive Director of Preservation Maryland, paid us a visit to view the property and suggest what they might be able to contribute to the preservation of the Shafer farm. We may be looking at a Spring 2017 volunteer workday to celebrate the 40th year of HPTC.


Discussing the complete costs of barn restoration, some reaching one-half to three-quarters of a million dollars!


Discussing a water leak that has been damaging the stone wall. Stone work is much more costly to repair than wood.


The cause of the damage is rain water runoff from the roof. The temporary fix could be as simple as some plywood sheeting held tight by cinder blocks to divert the water.


The repaired wall.


The view east from a second floor door.


Examining the barn interior. It looks as though the barn may have been rebuilt to accommodate the new technology of a running pulley for moving hay bales. Numerous repairs have been made to the interior over the years. Tom and Moss suggested construction scaffolding on the interior for the southern third of the barn length.


The view north.


The view east.


Paul, Nick, Tom, Moss, and Todd examining the south side of the barn.

Start of a 3D Model of the Shafer House being crafted by Preservation Maryland

An update from our end: I have been in contact with Julie Butler from Durable Slate – it seems she’s pulled in several new (paying) projects at work but is hoping to get back with us shortly. That was just last week that we spoke. Doug and I have been in touch with Tom and Bruce from Quinn Evans about the larger Historic Structure Assessment Report. We are still aiming for the NPS grant due mid-January. Irons are in the fire!

I am attaching the HPTC report *and* a screenshot of the measured 3D model Michelle has been working on!

Meagan Baco
Director of Communications





Our Partnership With Preservation Maryland Now On View


Our partnership with Preservation Maryland is now proudly on display at the Shafer house.

We have been busy since your visit. The majority of the vines have been removed, the wall in the attic has been braced, glass in several windows has been replaced, other first floor windows have been boarded up, and a bulk head door into the basement has been built…. that said, much work remains.

We have followed-up with the electric company to better understand the state of the service. Additionally, we have a contractor, Ercole Electric, who has agree to visit the site to develop a plan to safely restore electrical service (either through temporary service installation or by updating and re-establishing service through the current route).

We have been in communication with the NPS Historic Preservation Training Center to further explore the possibility of collaborating with them on some aspect of preservation effort.

We are anxious to receive reports from the field visit and to work to fix the roof to protect the house from further weather damage. It’s our biggest and most immediate concern.

from the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area Bugle Call

The Burkittsville Preservation Association, Inc. (BPA) formed to save the Shafer Farm, an 1840 farmhouse that served as command post for Union General William Franklin during the Battle of South Mountain in September 1862. Situated at a high elevation overlooking Crampton’s Gap in the Burkittsville Historic District, the property includes a bank barn and stone smokehouse in addition to the farmhouse. The house has sat empty since the last Shafer occupant passed away, at age 103, in 2003. Today, the farmhouse’s most pressing preservation needs include sealing the roof from leaks, stabilizing the roof joist and supporting brick material, installing a gutter on the west wall to move water away from the foundation, and stabilizing the west wall and west roof apex. The 1840s barn structure requires stabilization due to the loss of a section of the roof. The volunteers who formed BPA envision the property as a publicly accessible historic site where for visitors can learn about the Maryland Campaign of 1862 as well as 19th century farm life.

Heart of the Civil War Heritage Are Bugle Call