Strasburg RR plans military-themed photo excursion to raise funds for historic barn destroyed in fire

Owners of a 95-year-old cattle barn destroyed last month by fire will rebuild with an eye for historic accuracy.

The barn at Verdant View Farm, 429 Strasburg Road, Paradise Township, burned April 11 in a fire that caused $250,000 in damage and killed a bull and about 100 chicks.

“We’re exceptionally grateful to the community that has rallied around us,” said Elisa Fleming, whose great-grandfather built the barn. “They’ve been so supportive.”

Strasburg Rail Road will lend a hand Saturday with a special event to raise money for construction.

Local News

Former dairy barn destroyed by second-alarm fire at Paradise Township B&B, near Strasburg Railroad

    ‘Loss was immeasurable’

    Fleming’s father, Don Ranck, said in April that insurance won’t cover the costs of rebuilding the barn in its original post-and-beam style.

    But Fleming wants to preserve their heritage.

    “Our goal is to rebuild the barn using the same foundation, in the post-and-beam technique, to honor the tradition of the farm,” she said.

    “The loss was immeasurable, in terms of the history of the barn,” she added. “My family held square dances in that barn — we can’t ever get that back.”

    The wooden bank barn will be similar but not exact to the original structure, she said. For instance, the layout will include nursing pens, rather than stalls, and they eliminated the milking parlor.

    The cost of construction hasn’t been determined, Fleming said. The family is getting quotes, she said, and “figuring out the plan.”

    They expect to rebuild in June or July, she said.

    “We’re hoping to have a barn-raising, to join together with the community to rebuild,” she said.

    The family raised more than $11,000 in a YouCaring fundraiser.

    Red Ball Express

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    To help with reconstruction, Strasburg Rail Road will host an off-and-on rail experience from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

    The Red Ball Express is a mixed freight photo charter, according to spokeswoman Hope Graby.

    “The several-hour event allows passengers to travel up and down the line, stopping to disembark and take photos of the train along various points,” she explained.

    The theme is military rail service, Graby said. World War I and II re-enactors and military encampments will be set up along the tracks.

    Tickets are $200.

    All proceeds go to Verdant View Farm. Graby said; the railroad and Lerro Productions, which will assist photographers, are donating time and equipment to maximize donations.

    Patrons should bring cameras. Lighting will be provided.

    Local News

    1 bull, 100 chicks die in $350k barn fire at Verdant View Farms; owners discuss how to rebuild


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