Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Jacob Kime Farm

I talked my husband into driving up the driveway and checking out this farm house which we often pass on our way into town. Its off of Tablerock Road. The house is set far back from the road, down an old gravel driveway and is shrouded in trees. Old homes have always fascinated me-remember, we live in one, much to the chagrin of my other half.
I had to choose one of the coldest days of the year, made chillier still by the wind which seemed to cut right through our layers of coats,sweatshirts and long underwear which have become standard dress for this time of year. It is a beautiful piece of land-surrounded by hay fields and boasts a couple of outbuildings and a barn as well as a large metal storage facility for hay. I am not one for trespassing; there was a Miller real estate sign at the foot of the driveway entrance-we were "window shopping", okay? (Insert smile, here.)
Of course I just had to get out and take a gander inside. It is painted brick, and you can tell it is very old. I peered in one of the front windows and hollered to my husband to join me. It looked like nothing had been touched in this home since the civil war. The floors were bare wood-they look 1800's style. It also appears there is no electrical or plumbing system, although I never did see an outhouse on the property, but it was so darn cold I didn't really care at that moment.
Rick and I hurriedly climbed back in the car, our noses red with the cold. "Well," I comment with a chuckle,"this could be a really nice place with a little work." My husband shot me a dirty side glance and rolled his eyes. He knows me all too well. His idea of a home is one that was built in more recent years-lets say, from 2000 and forward. Anything pre-third millenium and he wanted to run screaming the other way. I love the charm and history that comes with older homes-I am crazy for victorians and old farm houses. He often teases me when we are together. "Hey," he points at a structure off the road, (the building has crumbled and fallen in on itself, and looks like you could touch it with one finger and it would collapse) "that could be a really nice place with some work." "Okay, Okay," I reply. "I get it." I still can't help thinking about all those "This Old House" magazines where they take old homes and restore them to their former grandeur. What I wouldn't give to be able to do that. How cool would it be to turn this house into some sort of living history museum for people to enjoy? (Think Landis Museum-a working farm in Lancaster from the turn of the century.) So many ideas, so little money. I guess this is another dream I will have to shelve for awhile-at least until I win the lottery.

One cool thing I did find out in my research on this place is that there is a publication you can get-I think its free, on field hospitals in this area. I took this from the Hopital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania website:
"In a cooperative effort between Historic Gettysburg-Adams County (HGAC) and The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, 17 Union and 18 Confederate Civil War hospital signs have been erected at sites which were known to have served as field hospitals after the Battle of Gettysburg.

A "field" hospital was, as the name suggests, a place in the battlefield area, such as barns, shops, homes, schools and churches, which were used to give medical attention to the wounded.

While the battle lasted three days in July 1863, the pain and suffering of wounded in Gettysburg continued into October when the last field hospital, Camp Letterman, was closed.

As remembered by local citizens, rapid death was in many ways more merciful than waiting for infection or pneumonia to slowly take its toll. Nurses of the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster noted in their diaries that the many hours thinking of family, mothers, wives and children must have brought some small comfort to those facing inevitable death.

A tour booklet titled "Gettysburg Civil War Field Hospital Tour" prepared by HGAC gives tour instructions and distances and times for those wishing to visit the hospital sites. The booklet has more than 40 pages of illustrations showing each sign and the site, four maps, archive photos and an index.

A typical entry is that for Union Hospital 17, the Hugh Culbertson Farm: "Situated on Carrolls Tract Road between Cashtown and Fairfield, this house was used as a hospital for the 6th Cavalry. On July 3, 1863, the rear guard of the Confederate Cavalry and the 6th Union Cavalry skirmished in this area. Private George Platt, Troop II, of the 6th Cavalry saved the Union Colors, was promoted to Sergeant, and awarded the Medal of Honor."

Board members Dick Miller, Jim Neely, Dave English and John Shuss were instrumental in carrying out the tour project. Copies of the 56-page brochure are available from board members or through the HGAC office at P.O. Box 4611, Gettysburg, PA 17325; (717) 334-5185.

I also googled "Jacob Kime Farm" and found a few interesting things. Cut and paste this into your browser to read more:

I think this could be a really fun thing to do with your kids one day; go around to some of the different places in this guide and learn more about each one. I would love to hear if and when you decide to do this-I will be sure to share my experiences, too

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