Locations Manager(s): Michael John Meehan
Witness Filming Locations:
These scenes were actually shot at 30th Street Railway Station, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Google Map
The same spectacular Philly train station was also seen in "Blow Out" and "Trading Places".
The other, small train station they departed from for Philadelphia was in Parkesburg PA.
The Lapp's Amish farm where Harrison Ford stays belonged to Paul and Emma Krantz. It is located near Strasburg, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 1993, the Krantz's approached the Lancaster Farmland Trust about preserving it and it has now become a Trust property.
Jaime Toth made it her mission to locate the actual house where the "Lapp's" farm was filmed. After over 8 hours searching, she finally had a street name: Bunker Hill Road. It is near Strasburg around two tiny towns called Hessdale and Refton. After much searching, frustrated and ready to quit, she turned down a dirt driveway at house #758. Driving down this long driveway, she saw the house! It was so awesome. This driveway is where Danny Glover parks the car and they walk down the hill with their guns. The actual house looks a bit more run down than in the movie. The barn is to the right of what actually is 2 houses. Supposedly the Krantz family does not own the house anymore, it was sold to some Amish. [Thanks to Jaime Toth]
I knew the Krantz's for several years. The production originally wanted to use the main house, but it is completely wired for modern conveniences. According to the the daughter, they came through with chains to "age" the door frames and such to make it look more "authentic", but the mother objected to basically making a mess of her house, so they moved to the shed next door for many of the scenes. The shed was also much easier to remake into a simple house without modern conveniences. They also built mockups to make it appear to be one structure. (Mrs. Krantz is actually shown weeping in an early shot.)
Of course the house looks more "run down" than in the film... it's an actual farmhouse, lived in by actual people! Hollywood wants to portray a particular view, so they prettied it up for the camera. This isn't really surprising.
The scene where Danny Glover was shot and left that famous long blood smear was indeed in the barn. The production team did not remove the smear after they left, and was very hard to remove. In addition, the birds in the pond in the film were imported, and never left. This was a bit of an annoyance, but something that they lived with.
There were actually 3 birdhouses that Ford "constructed" at a cost of $2k each (I believe). One was knocked over by the car during shooting as part of a scene.
Several years after the film was finished, Mrs. Krantz decided to sell to one of her Amish neighbors, so it no longer belongs to them. However, as the daughter was emphatic about, it was quite a hassle (and considered to be quite rude) for tourists to go onto their private property to see the house. Since it was their house, it's understandably a violation of their privacy to have people driving onto their land. Even though they no longer live there, another family does, and so I would ask that anyone wanting to go to the house be respectful. Many people in the area will misdirect tourists because of the lack of privacy. I knew the address, so I knew not to ask for the "Witness House." Just please respect their property, even if it is obviously an iconic location. [Thanks to Sasha]
The Lancaster County Courthouse was used as the location for the police station in the movie. Also, the underground garage was used for the scene where Harrison gets shot by Danny Glover's character. [Thanks to Becky Coffman]
The Town where ford gets in the fight with the tourist is Intercourse, Pa (rt 340), outside the Zimmerman and Sons store -where he also uses the phone. [Thanks to Alicelynne Watson]
The opening credits, very skillfully depicting an Amish horse-and-buggy out of sync with the modern world, was shot at the intersections of Rt 896 and Rt 30, about halfway between Strasburg and Bird-in-Hand. That particular intersection is the equal of any ultra-modern strip mall shopping environment, with pseudo-'factory outlets' et. al; but a half-mile or so away, in almost any direction, lies the seemingly endless farms of the Amish, and the quaint, well-preserved towns that complement the landscape. [Thanks to Lowell Tackett]
Many of the locations filmed in 1984, especially those near route 30, have disappeared due to road construction and many homes and business being built. [Thanks to Mary]
The police station scenes (offices) were filmed in the Greist Building, Lancaster -the tall structure on the square. The underground garage was at the courthouse, about a block east on King Street.
The scene of the murder was filmed on a replica set of the Phila. Train Station. This set was built at the Posey Iron Works Building on S. Prince Street. I have been told the silo scene, when the man is smothered in corn, was filmed here, too. [Thanks to Brad Igou]
The silo used in the final scenes that was filmed at the Posey Iron Works has been moved to Country Barn. (211 S. Donerville Rd, Lancaster, PA 17603) The public can view it there. [Thanks to Jim Stauffer]
I was secretary/treasurer of PIW until its close. Posey had plants at both South Prince Street and Old Harrisburg Pike. The silo and rest room scenes were both shot at the Harrisburg Pike location in the old brick mold shop. This property is now part of the Franklin and Marshall College campus. I got to know Craig Edgar, the set designer, who shopped for props around the county and attended the auction of assets upon the closing of Posey Iron. [Thanks to Charles R. Simmons]
Thanks to Paolo Della Frattina, who kindly wrote in with the locations of the "Happy Valley" Bar (where Book wrestles a suspect out for Rachael and Samuel to look at), Books sisters house and his corrupt boss, Paul Shaeffer's House. As these are exclusives, we'll hold 'em back until the launch of our new locations feature, coming soon :)
Mike Huller kindly wrote in to say that the barn raising scene was filmed behind his house. We'd love to have more details.
Can you help? Particularly with The Barn? Please Update Us
Locations LinksIf you know of a good link for Witness locations, please let us know.
Next Section: LX Preview
LX is our radical new locations feature that we've been beavering away on.. For years!
Each location will have it's own page with then/now pictures, maps, StreetView, discovery story and the most detailed explanations on how the location was used. Most importantly, the locations will have a status that shows whether they are verified correct and by whom. We are working with the actual locations managers or other crew where possible. The whole thing will be very interactive and you will, of course, be able to update everything.
We are pleased to be able to bring you a sneak peek at what LX locations will be available for Witness upon release:
The Lapp's Amish farm
The Barn Raising
The City Train Station
The Rest Room
"It's Not Our Way"
The Police Station
The Parking Structure
The "Happy Valley" Bar
Hot Dog Cafe
The Rural Train Station
The Grain Silo
Paul Shaeffer's House
Opening Credits - Amish Horse and Buggy
Please Note: The status of some entries in this preview may be wrong because they are in-progress or need updating before release.
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