Plans move forward to renovate McConnaughey farmhouse
A century ago, life on the McConnaughey Farm in Ligonier Township was self sustaining.
The 126-year-old farmhouse was built by John Callendar McConnaughey with bricks fashioned from clay in the meadow on the 123-acre property.
The large family grew their own vegetables, grain and hay. Cattle, sheep, pigs and chicken were raised for milk, eggs and meat. Even the coal that heated the kitchen stove came from a private mine on the property, off Old Lincoln Highway West in Ligonier Township.
“I think they were pretty self sufficient,” said Charlie Stough, a Darlington native who spent much of his childhood visiting his grandparents' farm.
“They really didn't have to buy much at local stores,” he said.
The Loyalhanna Watershed Association will embody that same self-reliant spirit when they begin renovating the brick farmhouse and wooden barn to be used as the group's new headquarters.
Ligonier Township supervisors have approved the association's plans to restore the farm to its original glory.
The association will convert the historic structures into usable space, but leave the rest of the property undeveloped.
Some of the land will be leased to local farmers. The rest will be seeded with natural grasses and plants to return the land to a natural wetland habitat.
Two floors of the farmhouse will be used for office space and a conference room, plans show.
The barn will be used for seminars and workshops and will be available for use by other environmental groups, association executive director Susan Huba said.
The $1.5 million project will include “green initiatives,” including minimally altering its footprint, reusing existing structures, using natural and recycled construction materials and making energy-efficient improvements to the buildings, Huba said.
Ed McConnaughey, who as a child lived on the farm with parents Josiah Edwin and Anna Catherine McConnaughey, said he's happy the association plans to keep the farmhouse and barn standing.
After his family moved to town in 1947, he said he still spent much of his time at the farm.
“I enjoyed working there. I brought hay down over the hill for the horses, and shoveled snow and helped panel the living room. Everyone would come in and help keep the farm running,” he said. “My uncle came in from Wilkinsburg every weekend.”
Stough, who is McConnaughey's cousin, said he, too, is in favor of the project.
“I think it's a great idea to preserve the farm and farmland. It sure beats having 40 houses out there, and (the farm) really adds to the beauty and charm of Ligonier,” Stough said.
In October, the township zoning hearing board approved the property, located in a residential district, for civic use.
The association came before the supervisors last week to seek approval of an alternative parking plan and permission to use limited lighting at the facility.
The township ordinance requires a specific level of lighting on parking lots, footpaths and entrances.
The association's plan for LED-type lighting would not meet that requirement, said project architect Timothy Fyock of Benchmark Engineering.
“We want to keep it like a farm. It will be maintained like a farm,” Fyock said.
The alternative parking will be used for a few annual events at the Ligonier Country Market lot off Springer Road. That property is also owned by the association.
Supervisors unanimously approved the plan. More than 20 people in support of the project attended the public hearing for the occupancy permit.
The association is now housed in the former township municipal building on Andi Lane, just west of Ligonier. The former municipal building will be torn down, Huba said.
Jewels Phraner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ligonier Valley students return to school Monday
- Tournament marks 50th year for Ligonier fencing coach
- Ligonier artists display work in anniversary show
- Ligoner Township hires new manager
- Fuel service temporarily unavailable at Ligonier Sheetz
- Allegory Gallery showcases new shop location