Stone Gables

Stone Gables Estates Lancaster County, West Donegal Township

Stone Gables Estate is home to Ironstone Ranch and The Star Barn Village. Both sites feature meticulously restored historic buildings including the nationally renowned Star Barn, a covered bridge, and functioning railroad and engine house. RGS was honored to be a part of the Star Barn Village, the Lincoln Railroad, and the Herr’s Mill Bridge projects.

The Star Barn Village

Developing a Historically Precise Master Plan at Star Barn Village
The Star Barn Village site is a precise configuration of the original Star Barn farmstead at its new location in Elizabethtown, PA. The newly constructed farmstead is now home to the restored Star Barn plus replicas of the many outbuildings on site. To create the site master plan, we reviewed historical photography and met extensively with our client and the architect.

Securing Complex Approvals Brings Clients’ Vision to Life
Once the master plan was completed, we received final approval from West Donegal Township to begin development. For approval from the National Historic Register and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the entire site needed to be oriented to the original layout. Final approval came from the National Park Service which indicated that The Star Barn Village would retain its registration on the National Register of Historic Places, even after its relocation to Elizabethtown.

Additionally, RGS was influential in amending the Zoning Ordinance of West Donegal Township to add and revise specific requirements to permit the subject property to house the Star Barn Complex. Post Construction Stormwater Management design was completed in a manner which respected the mature woodlands and existing wetlands on the property.

The Lincoln Railroad

Stone Gables Estate is now home to the Harrisburg, Lincoln & Lancaster Railroad which features a replica of an 1868 steam locomotive, pulling replicas of rail cars, one of which was used as President Lincoln’s Funeral Car. The railroad once crossed the property in the very location as the reconstructed railroad does today. The line was originally built in 1838. The tracks were removed in 1903 when the new Pennsylvania Railroad mainline opened through Elizabethtown, which today is the Amtrak line running between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. RGS worked closely with design professionals to establish grades of the railroad and to secure necessary NPDES permitting and local approval to permit the construction on the property.

Herr’s Mill Bridge

The Herr’s Mill Covered Bridge was originally built in 1844, and was the longest double arch covered bridge in Lancaster County at 108 feet. RGS worked closely with structural engineers, contractors, builders, and railroad engineers to preserve the historic Bridge and integrate it into the existing woodlands on the property. RGS conducted a flood study and prepared Chapter 105 permit applications to allow for the bridge to be reconstructed over the surface water bisecting the site. The covered bridge was then established at an elevation in coordination with the railroad design to ensure for vehicular and rail crossings at a similar location. RGS then designed a road through the property, utilizing much of the existing Sunoco Pipeline right-of-way. The road had to respect existing grades and mature trees while providing necessary stormwater management controls while meeting the strict requirements of Sunoco, LP. Everything, including the limestone abutments were reused.

We navigated these complexities through positive relationships forged with local municipalities and conservation districts, resulting in the approvals to resurrect these Central Pennsylvania treasures.