200-year-old AT landmark falls in Michaux forest

A landmark on the Appalachian Trail has crumbled. The stone wall of a barn built around 1800 came down last week, according to Roy Brubaker, district forester of Michaux State Forest.

Known, probably incorrectly, as the “Hessian barn” – the three-story wall was a well-known curiosity for hikers on the Maine-to-Georgia trail. The site is located on Michaux Road in Cooke Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.

It is not known when the barn burned, according to Rob Schwartz of the Cumberland County Historical Society. It’s been in ruins for a long time, probably before the Civilian Conservation Corps built what came to be known as Camp Michaux.

The barn was built in the late 1700s or early 1800s as part of a farm, Schwartz said. The farm, known as Bunker Hill Farm, was established around 1785 and early-on supplied food for men and animals working at the iron complex at Pine Grove Furnace and Laurel Forge.

Local lore and some trail guides contend that the barn was built by Hessian soldiers captured during the Revolutionary War and imprisoned at the nearby Carlisle Army Post where they built a guardhouse. The guardhouse resembled the wall.

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