RICHHILL – Consol Energy partnered with the city of Washington this week to dismantle a historic barn in Richhill Township, Greene County, with plans to reassemble it at Frontier History Center in Washington Park.
The barn, which was built in the 19th century, was sitting just off of Nebo Road in Richhill Township. It was part of a 1,200-acre property owned by Consol that is being turned into a conservation area for wildlife, according to Brian Aiello, director of communications for Consol.
“While the establishment of the conservation area requires removal of these types of structures for liability reasons, we are grateful for the opportunity to preserve the barn and donate it for the future enjoyment and education of area residents,” Aiello said in an email.
Consol donated the barn, along with equipment and manpower to take it down and reassemble it, said Dan Bitz, director of gas permitting for Consol.
Bitz, who is spearheading the project, said they’ve had to tear down other buildings that were in the conservation area, which they’ve been working on for the past few years. He said those other buildings, including some trailers, were in disrepair and had no historical value. However, the barn had no water damage and was still in pretty good condition, he said.
It was built in the late 1800s, mostly by hand, said Clay Kilgore, executive director of Washington County Historical Society, which operates Frontier History Center and is working in partnership with the city on the barn project. He said wooden pegs were used to pin it together in some places, and ax markings in some of the wood was visible.
“All the pieces are hand-cut,” Kilgore said. “Even the tools that they used to build it were probably handmade. Once we get it rebuilt, the public will be able to see that.”
Bitz said the barn took only two days to dismantle, but will take longer to rebuild, especially since it will need a new roof. The barn originally was 20-by-40 square feet, but with some of the pieces being unusable, it might be a bit smaller when reassembled, said Chriss Marshman, Washington city parks foreman.
“We’re going to make it a big, open working barn,” Marshman said.
He said the city plans to allow the Boy Scouts to use the barn for projects and workshops to get their badges, as well as rent it out for events like family reunions or country-themed weddings. The historical society will also use it for some events.
“I enjoy preserving parts of history,” Marshman said. “I hate seeing anything go to waste.”