Soul in the soil The Buch farmhouse was a fixture on Warwick’s campus for many years

By on January 8, 2014

By:

PATRICK BURNS Record Express Staff pburn.eph@lnpnews.com

, Staff Writer



Photo by Preston Whitcraftâ?©The Buch farmhouse on the Warwick High School campus was demolished during Christmas break. The school district determined that it was structurally unsound, and that it was not considered a historical property.

Students returning from Christmas break may not have noticed the altered landscape at the Warwick High School campus.

But the soil there is forever changed.

A demolition crew on Dec. 23 took down an old brick home that sat in the shadow of Grosh Field, and in doing so eliminated one of the last remnants of the Buch Family "century farm."

It was built by the family in 1871 and occupied until September by the Buch family, which had owned all of the land that is home now to the high school and middle school campuses.

Two original Buch family structures that remain on the property – a barn and tobacco shed – are used for storage by the district, said Dr. April Hershey, Warwick School District superintendent .

The school district had purchased the property from the Buch family in 1984 with he stipulation that Warren and Alverta Buch would continue to live in the farmhouse, located at 50 Campus Drive, said Gaylord Poling.

Poling, the son-in-law of Mrs. Buch, is married to her daughter Nadine. The couple co-own the Tiger’s Eye on East Main Street in Lititz.

Poling said the family "mourns its passing," referring to the former farmhouse.

the Buch family has received "warm wishes and remembrances from people in the community since the news disseminated of demolition," he said.

"Many extended family members, friends, and Fresh-Air children have fond memories of spending time at the farm," he added.

The Buch home – once the place to go after pony and tractor rides and fireworks viewing, with homemade ice cream and large family dinners – "was never without activity," Poling said.

Warren H. Buch, Alverta’s husband who died in 1995, prided himself on maintaining the property in pristine condition.

"He was a true gentleman farmer with his signature straw hat and cattle truck. Warren and Alverta loved the property, their tractors, livestock, and the beautiful garden that greeted visitors to the Warwick campus," Poling said.

The decision to raze the Buch farmhouse followed three months of planning, inspections, and discussion by the Warwick School Board and its building and property committee.

Poling said the family had inquired whether the home had historic value. But the district and township said it did not.

"The process that was followed through with Warwick Township found that the home, the barn and the tobacco shed did not qualify as historical structures," Hershey said.

Warwick Township manager Dan Zimmerman last week confirmed that the school district was not required to obtain a demolition permit for this project.

While the school district has no immediate plans for the property, Hershey said the decision to take down the house made sense while students were away on Christmas break.

Hershey said it was sad to demolish the home, but the building had severe structural damage.

"When workers attempted to demolish the building it collapsed on itself," Hershey said.

She went on to say there have been preliminary discussions about possibly erecting a poll barn on the property to store vans trucks, tractors and other equipment.

Mrs. Buch, who is living at Moravian Manor after suffering a debilitating fall two years ago, had worked many years at the high school, Poling said.

"All six of her children were educated in the district," he said. "They were avid followers of Warwick Warriors athletics and enjoyed talking with the students, and teachers, as they crisscrossed their property."

Poling remembers that Mrs. Buch often talked with Dr. Bonfield and Principal Swisher, "stopping by the house just to chat and update her on the activities happening on campus."

"In later years, the maintenance staff was very caring toward Alverta," he said. "We are very thankful for their attitude and many kindnesses. It made her feel like she was a part of the Warwick family."

More BUCH HOUSE, page A18