Joseph Poffenberger Farm, Barn, 17834 Mansfield Avenue, Sharpsburg, Washington County, MD
Significance: The Joseph Poffenberger Farm was originally part of a large estate owned by James Chapline, who rented farm-size parcels to various tenants. The original Poffenberger Barn was most likely constructed by one of the tenants, at an unknown date in the early nineteenth century. The farm was purchased by Joseph Coffman in 1843, who in turn sold it to his son-in-law, Joseph Poffenberger , in 1851. The farm was occupied by the Union Army's 1st Corps on 16 September 1862, in preparation for the Battle of Antietam the following day, with General Joseph Hooker taking shelter in the barn. Following the battle the barn was used as a temporary field hospital.
Following the Civil War, Joseph was joined by his nephew Otho in farming the property. In September 1876, according to a Hagerstown newspaper, four outbuildings, including the barn, were destroyed by fire at the Poffenberger Farm. The present barn was presumably rebuilt by Otho Poffenberger on the original barn foundation. In 2000 the Joseph Poffenberger farm was acquired by the National Park Service, as part of Antietam National Battlefield. The barn remains in use as an agricultural building.
The barn at the Joseph Poffenberger Farm is a good example of a Pennsylvania bank barn, an agricultural building type introduced to the region by Swiss and German settlers in the mid-eighteenth century. The foundation and lower level exterior walls were built of limestone masonry construction. The lower level features a half-open cantilevered forebay along the south side, and housed feeding and milking stalls for livestock. An earthen ramp leads to the upper level on the north side of the barn. The upper level was built of heavy timber construction, with mortise-and-tenon and pegged joints. The barn is sheathed with vertical oak boards of random width. In plan, the upper level housed a central threshing area flanked by two hay/straw mows, with a granary located in the southeast corner.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N1030
Survey number: HABS MD-966-A
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 66000038