Couple celebrates in historic barn after last minute dilemma

Katrina Olivier and Justin Ross got married Sunday and were the first to use the restored German bank barn at the Allison-Antrim Museum for a wedding reception.

A couple who took an unusual path to matrimony found themselves veering off traditional practices for the ceremonies as well.

Katrina Olivier and Justin Ross tied the knot on Sunday, realizing their goal of marrying on 10-10-10. Events leading to that day also marked the first time the restored German bank barn at the Allison-Antrim Museum was used for a wedding reception.

The barn, approximately 150 years old, was purchased in 2003 and moved in pieces from Chambersburg, then carefully reassembled at 365 S. Ridge Ave. at the hands of experts. Through the years the AAMI board of directors oversaw renovations to make the structure useful for many purposes while maintaining its historic integrity.

Today the barn is insulated and the exterior looks as it did when it was part of an active farm. The interior still has the beams, woodwork and space of the original structure. The upper level houses two open center bays, a children’s discovery room, library, exhibit rooms, kitchen and restrooms. The lower level is accessble by staff only for storage of the collections, and contains the mechanical equipment.

Steps to the aisle

Olivier, 22, and Ross, 24, first met as babies when his grandfather, a widower, married her grandmother, a widow, in Cumberland, Md. Through the years they saw each other at family events and holidays. At the grandfather’s memorial service in 2007, the young adults realized there could be something special in each other. They exchanged email addresses and phone numbers, and began corresponding.

Olivier, the daughter of John and Kathy Olivier, lived in Greencastle and Ross lived in Newport News, Va. Four hours apart, the two eventually met up half way frequently to see each other. Finally, Olivier moved south.

“Her parents were furious,” recalled Ross.

But the match was real and the two became engaged and set the date. Olivier always wanted a fall wedding, her favorite season. They both favored the sequence of numbers when they looked at the calendar.

“It’s a perfect 10 wedding,” said Ross. “I like the symbolism.”

So plans were made to hold the ceremony at Trinity Lutheran Church, with the reception at the Antrim House. On Sept. 2, Kathy Olivier received the news that the local restaurant was closing, and they frantically looked for another location.

Kathy Olivier had toured the museum during Old Home Week and thought the barn would be cute for a wedding.

“That always stayed in the back of my mind,” she said.

She immediately called AAMI board president Bonnie Shockey, who contacted the board, and replied the same day with permission for a reception in the barn.

“She answered my prayer,” said Kathy Olivier. “They even cancelled their Friday night dance so we could set up.”

AAMI holds ballroom dances every other week in good weather.

The family hired a caterer and DJ, and Olivier’s aunt Darlene Spataro, Frostburg, Md., spent the better part of the week decorating the barn's interior. The couple was pleased with her efforts.

“This is above and beyond anything I pictured,” said the bride. “I like the rustic feel.”

“Now we see what they saw,” added Ross, who hadn’t been able to visualize the possibilities ahead of time.

Shockey said the request fit the goals of the board, to make the museum facilities available to the public for their specific needs.

“It is more than a barn,” she said. “It’s a venue for different occasions.”

Last fall the Smithsonian Institution brought two buses through on historical tours, and the travelers ate a catered meal in the barn. The AAMI board also sees the potential for workshops and conferences.

While the barn does not have air conditioning or heat, those will be installed as funds are obtained.

Weather was not an issue Sunday. The 75 celebrants found favor with sunshine and mild temperatures as they made a little piece of history in Greencastle.