Agricultural Field Guide
The purpose of this Agricultural Building Field Guide is to provide basic information about the wide variety of farm and agricultural buildings, structures, and landscapes found throughout Pennsylvania. Agriculture has always been an important industruct in Pennsylvania and remains the commonwealth's second largest economic force after tourism.
The Historic Agricultural Resources of Pennsylvania historic context presents an overview of the building trends and agricultural history of the state by region and era and offers guidance on how to interpret the physical features of farms and farmsteads. These regions have specialized agricultural practices and buildings designed to meet specific crop needs and terrain challenges. While many types of agricultural buildings and structures are found throughout the commonwealth, others are found in particularize locations based on ethnic traditions, era of construction and agricultural needs. Most buildings in agricultural settings reflect vernacular building traditions and are not examples of formal architectural styles. Vernacular buildings are those created by local craftsmen or builders based on traditional, common or utilitarian forms. Some vernacular forms are quite distinctive with easily identifiable decorative details and others are defined more by their form, shape and purpose than by surface decorations.
Pennsylvania's agricultural buildings reflect both changes in culture and in farming practices over time. While some farms retain their historic core grouping of farmhouse and associated outbuildings with newer buildings added incrementally beyond the core, others have experienced change of setting with the loss of original landscape features or loss of historic structures.