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Saturday, June 2 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
(Architecture) Classification of Early Building Campaigns Using Petrographic Examination of the Historic Masonry Found at the Josiah Benner Farm, Gettysburg, PA

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This study focused on using petrographic analysis of brick located at the Josiah Benner Farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to develop a more complete understanding of the architectural development of the Josiah Benner Farm and its involvement in the Battle of Gettysburg. Completed in 1862, the Benner Farm is significant for its involvement in the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. The Benner Farmhouse provided cover for Union Soldiers and served as a field hospital while also being shot, shelled by artillery, and set afire. The Benner Family rebuilt the farmhouse soon after the battle and the farm remained in private ownership for the next 149 years before being acquired by Gettysburg National Military Park. Despite the farm’s proximity to one of the best documented battle sites in the United States, there is little archival information surrounding the farm. Traditional building practices in Southeastern Pennsylvania reused building materials where possible, further obscuring potential evidence related to the house’s involvement in the Battle of Gettysburg. As a result, traditional physical investigation was unable to shed light on the early years of the farm’s history. Petrographic analysis, primarily using microscopic evaluation and thin-section petrography, was performed on raw samples and polished thin-sections of historic masonry that were removed from both the farmhouse and the springhouse on the property. Emphasis focused on classifying manufacturing techniques, clay matrix, and source aggregate of each sample. This would presumably allow investigators to group similarly aged brick into unique clusters. Samples were taken across the structure and from interior locations whenever possible to avoid confusion from weathering forces. Additionally, several other samples from other regional structures were taken for comparison. Ultimately, six different groups of historic brick were identified, suggesting that the Benner Farm underwent significant rebuilding during its early history.

avatar for Amy Elizabeth Uebel

Amy Elizabeth Uebel

Architectural Conservator, Historic Architecture, Conservation & Engineering Center (HACE)
Amy Elizabeth joined the WLCC after completing her MSHP from the Clemson University/College of Charleston Graduate Program in Historic Preservation. Her work involves developing 3D scanning methods and supporting conservation projects involving architectural and large-scale metal... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 11:30am - 12:00pm MDT
Texas Ballroom C Marriott Marquis Houston
  6. Specialty Session, Architecture