Referred to simply as “the farm” until recently, Shady Spring Farm has a deep and interesting history. According to research, Shady Spring Farm is part of the original land tract of 280 acres referred to as “Nebuchadnezer’s Defeat” that was granted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to Abednego Stevens on the 7th of January, 1786. Abednego Stevens, Esquire, was a major landholder in the area and had served as a captain in the Revolutionary War.
Later, during the Civil War, Confederate cavalry visited Shady Spring Farm. On the evening of July 30th, 1863 after burning the nearby town of Chambersburg, the rebel army camped in and around the town of McConnellsburg and sought meals from many residents in the area. Ms. Jane Johnston, then mistress of Shady Spring, served ham sandwiches to the visiting troopers on the banks of the stone springhouse. This limestone springhouse, for which the farm is named, has a dateboard reading 1827 and is one of several beautiful old buildings on the farm.
The oldest of the buildings, the large stone farmhouse was built between 1793 and 1803 and has four original fireplaces plus 6-over-6 windows with original wavy glass. The German bank barn has a stone foundation and heavy hand-hewn beams secured with wooden pegs. The large knotched and hand-hewn beams used to support the main floor of the barn indicate that this 40x80’ structure was built using parts from an older and smaller wooden structure, probably the original barn on the farm. Another old building on the farm and our main focus over the past four years is the small frame farmhouse known as the “tenant house.” This quaint 3 bedroom house was built in the 1880s as a residence for a tenant farmer and his family. The unusual one-seat outhouse is designed to be fly-proof and was required on any farm that provided milk commercially during the early to mid 20th century.
We invite you to walk our lane and stroll the grounds. Please do not attempt to pet or feed the cattle while enjoying Shady Spring Farm; they are not part of the service.