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Three buildings nominated for historic register

May 31, 1998|By STEVEN T. DENNIS

by Kevin G. Gilbert / staff photographer

Wilson School

Three buildings in Washington County have been nominated by the county for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

The buildings include the best examples of one- and two-room schools in the county and a residence dating from 1800.

In 1860, storekeeper Rufus Wilson built a school for his son and the children in the neighborhood. The Wilson School on Rufus Wilson Road on the south side of U.S. 40 west of Conococheague Creek is believed to be the last one-room schoolhouse in the county that hasn't been converted to a residence.

The school is operated as a museum by owners Lewis and Frances Horst.

Wilson's house, general store and barn are listed on the register as the Rufus Wilson Complex, Ehman said.

Ehman said the Wilson School is typical of the period. In 1867, the county had 127 schools, but only six had more than one room.

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In 1950, the Wilson School was the last one-room schoolhouse in the county to close.

Beaver CreekThe 1904 Beaver Creek School near the Mason-Dixon Dragway illustrates another stage in the history of county schools - the two-room schoolhouse.

The brick building that stands today was not Beaver Creek's first school. Two schools served the community before the Maryland General Assembly required public education in 1865. A stone structure, built in 1833, burned in 1845. A brick schoolhouse, built in 1858, burned in 1903.

Neither the Wilson School nor the Beaver Creek School had running water, so students took turns hauling water with buckets.

The Beaver Creek School closed in 1961 and was turned over to the Historical Society in 1971. The society has furnished the school with period furniture and antiques and operates it as a museum.

For more information, call the society at 301-797-8782.

Lantz-Ziegler HomeThe Lantz-Ziegler Home on Leitersburg Pike at the Antietam Creek dates from 1800.

George Lantz built the home and then died in 1801. His son-in-law, Frederick Ziegler, took possession. It is still used as a residence today.

The county has 70 sites listed on the register, ranging from Antietam National Battlefield and the C&O Canal to the South Prospect Street Historic District.

To be placed on the National Register, the sites must be approved by the Maryland Historical Trust and then nominated to the U.S. Department of the Interior, which makes the final decision, according to Stephen Goodrich, chief senior planner for the county.

Inclusion on the register doesn't prohibit owners from altering the home, Goodrich said.

Elizabeth Graff, curator for the Washington County Historical Society, said the county has thousands of properties listed on its historical sites survey.

Graff said the county's historic sites are rapidly becoming victims of bulldozers.

"It's just a shame that we have this rich architectural heritage and people don't appreciate it," she said.

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