Sweitzer Barn

The Sweitzer barn with its cantilever “fore bay” and its banked animal stalls reached its peak of popularity in the late 18th century. Many variations of the bank barn evolved, all typical of Pennsylvania architecture and reminiscent of the time when the farmer was king and barns were the palaces of America.

The entrance ramp is flanked by two dry cellars that are partially sunk into the hill, each with a tiny window. One was used for horse feed and the other for potato storage. There was a third cellar, even better protected, that was used for the storage of turnips. Hay was thrown down the stairway or into the straw room, and there it was fed to the cows. Overhead on the barn floor were two threshing areas and two granaries; these were situated in each corner of the shoot.

The barn is estimated to weigh about 90 tons. It is 41 feet from the foundation to the peak of the roof. It is 40 feet wide and 75-80 feet long. The main timbers of the barn were hand hewn. It is very well built, and even though it is over 100 years old, it should last for many more years to come.

This particular bank barn was estimated to have been built in the late 1800s. The barn first belonged to John Hirschy, passing then to Edwin Gilliom. Finally, the barn was owned by Edwin Nussbaum who had it at least 50 years before graciously donating it to the Swiss Heritage Society. It was located at 1121 West, 500 South and sat on the west side of the brick family house until it was moved to Swiss Heritage Village in May 1993.