The red, brick-enclosure barn at the intersection of Rocherty and Cornwall Roads is a useful landmark for navigation, but what’s the story behind the property?
Known variously as the Brown Hospitality Farm and the J. P. S. J. G. Farm among other names, the property at 2055 Cornwall Road consists of several structures, two of which are more recognizable: the elevated barn overlooking the intersection and the accompanying stone farmhouse.
The farmhouse adjacent to the barn, nestled among a few trees, is the older of the the two structures, having been built sometime between 1775 and 1790. Naturally, the house as originally constructed did not have sophisticated electricity, heating, or plumbing systems, amenities that were not fully implemented until 1972. According to research by the Swatara Watershed Association, the barn structure was first built in 1797, although it is not clear what portions have been added or reconstructed since then. (This paragraph updated to clarify that we do not know how much of the current barn structure is original.)
For many years, the property was the home of James C. Brown, equestrian exhibitor, breeder, and president of the American Morgan Horse Institute. He and his family renovated the house but were careful in keeping the layout preserved (accommodating for old-fashioned farmhouse elements like 24-inch-thick walls).
The property, at just over 4 1/2 acres, was purchased for one million dollars in July 2018 by WellSpan Properties Inc. The property sits near the North Cornwall Commons development, which continues to progress through its phases, two of which (Phases 4 & 5) are situated up the street on Cornwall Road.
According to a spokesperson for the WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital, WellSpan has “tentative plans to offer services there that would meet the needs of our community.”
The spokesperson also clarified that they “are still assessing the property, including the existing structures, and have no definitive plans or details to share at this time.”