Star Decorations

In the southwestern counties of Somerset and Bedford, local carpenters developed a distinctive barn star tradition in which the star was cut from wood and then affixed to the barn gable peak. Several designs have been documented, some with five points and others with a "wagon wheel" of many points. These stars are a unique regional expression in Pennsylvania.

Barn with star in Somerset County
Barn star, Somerset County, c. 1900.
Photo courtesy of Fred Will.

Barn in Lower Swatara Township, Dauphin County with a prominent star design
"Star Barn," Dauphin County, 1872
The well-known "Star Barn" between Harrisburg and Lancaster is a one-of-a-kind
"gentleman farmer's" interpretation. The star designs are actually louvered ventilators.