To see this year’s tour pages click here
SATURDAY MAY 30, 2015
10 am to 5 pm
RAIN OR SHINE
To provide funds for the establishment of a Preservation Maryland Western Maryland Field Agent to assist in the identification and preservation of historic sites.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~HISTORY~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Mills and stone bridges: we do not naturally associate them today, but in the 19th century, when Washington County’s beautiful stone bridges were built, they were almost always related. Grist mills, powder mills, saw mills, woolen mills—all relied on the plentiful water supply and were the heavy industries of their day. Grist mills, especially, were the heart of the economy in this region for at least 100 years and it has been said that every stone bridge in this county (except one) was associated with a mill to allow wagons loaded with flour, grain, iron, or one of many other products to cross the adjacent waterway. The only exception being our most famous bridge—Burnside Bridge.
Many roads we use today are based on ancient trails, probably at one time paths used by Native Americans, especially the roads going over the mountains. However, in the 18th and 19th century roads were altered and added to be of most benefit to mill owners who needed consistent access to resources and markets. The picturesque rolling landscape and lovely rivers we enjoy today, presented real hardships in the days of horse drawn transport. The National Road, today’s Alternate Route 40, was finished in 1821, and provided an ideal way to transport goods to the rapidly growing cities to the east. However, today many of the old mill-centered country roads have been abandoned and sit quietly, visible only in the winter when the frozen fields expose slight dips in the landscape.
Our tour this year includes several mill-related properties. Valentia, the wheat plantation of Thomas Claggett was the greatest producer in the county in the years between 1800 and 1840 and set the price of flour during its heyday. Oxbow Bend Farm was the original home of the builder of Trovinger Mill. It was connected by a now abandoned road to Old Forge Farm which sits beside a stone bridge associated with several types of mills which once stood across Antietam Creek. (This bridge was ordered to be destroyed by Robert E. Lee on his retreat from Gettysburg, but his engineers would not, as they felt the creek was so easily forded.) Doub’s Mill and Sycamore Springs Farm are both mill properties. The latter had mills on the property, long gone, but the deeds of both properties are connected by the historic laws of water rights which required mill owners to respect water levels to allow upstream mills to function. The earliest landowners in this region were speculators who purchased large tracts of land and later resold it to settlers whom they encouraged to move west. German, Swiss English, and Irish settlers moved from Pennsylvania and the Shenandoah Valley. Wealthy established families from eastern portions of the state moved west and established large plantations, especially as tobacco became a less lucrative crop. In the years between the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War, the production of iron was an important product of Washington County. The Antietam Furnace in Mt. Aetna, owned by the Hughes family, produced iron products, including cannon which were used by Washington’s army for use during the Revolutionary War. Forges, furnaces, lime kilns and nail manufactories were all related to the production of iron and were found around the county.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ DIRECTIONS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
BALTIMORE: I-70 W to Hagerstown, then I-81 S 2.4 miles to exit 1 MD63/MD68 East
WASHINGTON, D.C.: 270 N to I-70 W, I-81 S 2.4 miles to exit 1 MD63/MD68 East Towards Boonsboro (left at bottom of ramp)
FROM POINTS SOUTH: I-81 N towards Hagerstown, exit 1 MD63/MD68 East towards Boonsboro (right at top of ramp)
Follow MD63/MD68 East towards Boonsboro, .3 mi.; turn right onto MD63/Spielman; proceed .5 mi. (CAUTION: UNGATED RAILROAD CROSSING); destination on right.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ LUNCH ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A gourmet food truck, 3 Barrels 4 YNO , awaits your pleasure from 11:30 until 2:30 at tour home #4 located at 20522 Campbell Ct., Hagerstown, MD 21740. A $10.00 prix fixe lunch consisting of your choice of #1 turkey, avocado, and turkey bacon, or #2 roast beef horseradish aioli, arugula, cheddar cheese on sourdough, or #3 grilled vegetables, pesto oil on chiabatta; plus a choice of a side:potato salad, vegetable penne pasta salad, or greek salad; also chips, iced tea, water, or lemonade. By reservation only. The favor of your reply is requested by May 25, 2015. Please make check payable YNO catering and mail toTina Angle, P. O. Box 351 Maugansville, Mayland 21767.Outdoor seating will be available. Large groups please contact Laura Zimmermann (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a seating time. . Restroom available.
ROSE HILL MANOR, Spielman Road
Built about 1800 and attributed to Benjamin Henry Latrobe. At the end of a long tree lined drive, this stately residence stands on over 200 acres. Its identical fan-lighted doorways at each end of the great hall provide a gracious welcome. Over thick cherry doors, cut from trees on the property, are exquisite wood carvings. A hanging staircase, carved shutters, edge-grain pine floors and the salmon-colored Flemish bond brick exterior are notable features. The house, furnished with American and English antiques, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
| || VALENTIA, Poffenberger Road |
Valentia, majestically overlooking the Antietam Creek, is a limestone mill settlement dating back to the 18th century. The earliest land records indicate an English land grant called “Maid’s Fancy” was received by Thomas Claggett in April of 1749. As time passed the name was changed to Claggett’s Lot, followed by Claggett’s Luck and finally on Valentine’s Day in 1815, the Claggett heirs named the tract Valentia.
Except for the grist mill, destroyed by fire in 1908, all buildings still remain as a reminder of what was once the largest grain and plaster producer in the area. The miller’s house, manor house, barn, meat house, dairy house, slave house, and the 1840 bridge are all constructed of native limestone. The stone wall along the front of the property was constructed from the stone salvaged from the mill when it was destroyed by fire. Today, the most recent caretakers, are slowly restoring the property, a challenging but loving work in progress. On tour, facing Antietam Creek from the top of the hill, is the manor house, graciously displaying colossal columns on the front porch and landscaped by mature trees throughout the yard. Inside, the home retains original elements; skillfully handcrafted moldings, twelve foot high ceilings, and heart pine flooring. Changes were made due to need, but for the most part it stands as a representation of elegance and charm of an earlier time. Also on tour is the guest house, which was once a slave dwelling and work space.
DOUB’S MILL, Beaver Creek Road
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SYCAMORE SPRINGS FARM, Campbell Court
This stone Germanic farmhouse, built circa 1790 for Joel Newcomer, a son of the property owner, remained in the Newcomer family until 1932. It has been owned by only four families since the 18th century and was not modernized until the 1970s. Most recently, the current owners did a whole house renovation which added a family room, large kitchen, and an enlarged master suite. This house is a part of the Beaver Creek settlement which was made up of the Newcomer, Funk and Doub families, early settlers to Washington County. An 18th century bank barn, just west of the house is earlier than the house, which was not unusual, as the business of farming was often more important than a comfortable house. (A former building, believed to be the original house, once sat above the house, but only the stone foundations are visible.) During recent renovations the foundations of the original kitchen fireplace and small winder stairs were found resting on the dirt when the floor was removed. The stairs went to a servant’s room above, unconnected to the house until the 1970s. Today the old kitchen is a small sitting room, overlooking Beaver Creek. An 18th century smoke house with original rat tail hinges sits very close to the east of the house beside a later summer kitchen. Exterior stonework has been repointed and repaired and a new porch was built. The current owner is an avid gardener and beds of plantings surround the buildings. A very old double dark purple lilac, common to old farms in this area, was the only flowering shrub on the property when the owners arrived and it has been carefully preserved. Heirloom 17th century Van Sion daffodils were also found growing below the stone walls that lead down to the creek, one of the only remnants of the previous gardens that might have been here over the past 200 years.
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OXBOW BEND FARM, Hopscotch Lane
Known as the “Rohrer House” on the National Register of Historic Places, the house was begun in 1769, shortly after John Rohrer bought a parcel of land called Lane’s Folly which included one of John Stull’s Mills. The patent was then called Nancy’s Contentment and included the stone mill and property. The house and mill (now known as Trovinger Mill) remained part of the same property through three name changes. The original house was a one-story German manor-style brick structure with a cellar. The front façade shows the Flemish-bond brickwork used in the 18th century and on the gable ends the outlines of the original one-story gables can be seen. The second story seen today was added in the early 19th century, and a frame ell was added on the south in the late 1800s. In 1999 the current owners purchased the house separate from the mill and began a three-year restoration project, which included the addition of a library, guest suite and new kitchen. The house sits on a bluff overlooking Antietam Creek with the creek winding around the property on three sides, forming an oxbow. A large barn was moved from another part of the property to its present location in 1918. Scottish Highland cattle live in the barn and greet visitors at the fence. They have long horns and wavy long hair. Each has a name and comes when called, as they are strictly pets. Stone foundations of former buildings sit in the yard which included a carriage house and icehouse.
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GOOD HARTLE FARM, Little Antietam Road
Jacob Good built the log house that is now the Good-Hartle home shortly after purchasing 344 acres in 1765. In 1833 George Hartle purchased the farm and built a field stone addition that his heirs lived in till 1949. The home was modernized by two other families in the 1900s, adding electricity, plumbing, a kitchen and apartments.
| OLD FORGE FARM, Old Forge Road |
The oldest dated house in Washington County, listed in the National Register of Historic Sites. Built in 1762, this large Germanic house became the home of Daniel Hughes two years later. The Hughes family ran an iron plantation of over 17,000 acres. They smelted ore at Mt. Aetna Furnace and forged the pigs at Antietam Forge powered by Antietam Creek. The forge sat on what has become an island in the creek below the house and, over time, several mills stood on the western creek bank. A village grew around this manufacturing site. Three stone structures, one a duplex that housed the ironmasters (when running, the forge operated 24 hours a day with each ironmaster having a twelve hour shift), stood across the road on a cliff overlooking the creek. Two of these remain, but the forge, mills, and any worker housing is now gone. Over the past 30 years the current owners
have replaced the slate roof with Buckingham slate, rewired and re-plumbed the house, added a stone terrace and a patio. In 2003, they built a frame addition to the east. The original stone end barn and a small stone structure, once a forge, have also been restored. The farm has free-range chickens, guineas, heritage turkeys and peafowl and a herd of Barbados Blackbelly Sheep.
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