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Star Barn, John Motter Barn

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1872 and later, Daniel Reichert. Nissley Dr. between PA 283 and Spring Garden Dr., 3.4 miles northwest of Middletown
  • (© George E. Thomas)

The construction of PA 283 divided the Motter farm but made its great barn with its wall gable and giant star-shaped ventilators visible to a wider public. Like most post–Civil War barns, it is far larger than the typical late-eighteenth-century variety and is largely wood frame above a masonry base. Its size and array of secondary structures—all except the silo ornamented with giant stars like the barn—indicate that the complex is something other than the usual farm. Responding to the rising animal markets created by the Civil War, this began as a horse farm and in the early twentieth century was converted to dairy, perhaps to serve Milton Hershey's milk chocolate production in nearby Hershey. John Motter turned to local mortician and master carpenter Daniel Reichert of nearby Progress to design the barn that was intended as a dual work and showplace for raising and selling horses. In accord with German values, prosperity could be demonstrated by buildings, and his handsome building no doubt helped persuade buyers to loosen their purse strings in such an opulent setting.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Star Barn, John Motter Barn", [Middletown, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 342-342.

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