The picturesque Pennsylvania German barn architectural style has spread from early settlements in eastern Pennsylvania to settlements across the Midwest.
In 1987, the late J. Jackson Walter, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, wrote: "The destruction of thousands of unique barns and farmhouses, as well as the historical landscape itself, continues today all across America. … The ordinary American farmhouse, preserved in its rural setting, has much to teach about an area's past and much to give to future generations."
In 1982, the author and her husband bought an abandoned farmstead, complete with seven outbuildings, in Bucks County, PA. They spent the next thirty years researching, restoring, and preserving the farm in an ambitious do-it-yourself project that earned placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
This book details their adventures, reflecting the sense of humor that has sustained them through the challenges as they maintained the exterior integrity of all the buildings, and adapted the interiors to 21st century living with minimal compromise to the original structures.
Their project included preserving the surrounding fifteen acres of habitat, and working for the preservation of the natural and historic resources of the entire rural township.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Patricia Valentine and Robert Whitacre met when they were students at Duke University. Their shared interest in antiques and history led them to develop skills in restoring antique furniture and remodeling their first home in New Jersey, where Pat was a teaching naturalist at an environmental education center, was active in historic preservation, and researched family genealogy. In 1982 they began the ultimate antique restoration project: an entire historic farm. Their two children and five grandchildren have learned about their own roots while observing life on Forefather Farm.