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Doors open into havens for history

May 15, 2003

Ten houses are listed for Washington County in the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage guide, but the first house was withdrawn from the pilgrimage. Nine remain. The numbers correspond with the map shown, beginning with Hoffman Farm on Keedysville Road, but visitors can start anywhere on the tour.

1. Hoffman Farm, owned by John Hollyday and Richard Gold

18651 Keedysville Road

The Hoffman Farm has been in the same family for six generations. The stone springhouse, circa 1810, was the farm's first home.

The 1830s brick farmhouse recently was renovated, and slave quarters and a log hog pen also survive.

Adjacent to Antietam Battlefield, Hoffman Farm served as a hospital for 800 men following the bloodshed.

2. Jacob Hess House, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Putnam

17 S. Main St.

The oldest house in Keedysville sits on a sharp bend of the Little Antietam Creek. The two-story log structure was built in 1768 by Jacob Hess, who was brought to the area to oversee the construction of a mill on Antietam Creek.

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A three-bay stone addition was added later in the century. Most of the woodwork and floors are original.

The Putnams have restored the stone summer kitchen and first-floor rooms, discovering a hidden fireplace and exposing an original stone hearth and red oak flooring.

3. Doub Farms, owned by Mr. and Mrs. William O. Doub

19520-19522 Shepherdstown Pike

There are two restored farmhouses tucked in rolling fields near Keedysville, just off the road between Boonsboro and Sharpsburg.

The stone house was built in 1787, and a four-room fieldstone addition was added in 1840.

The two-story, eight-room brick house was constructed in 1851.

A brick smokehouse, a 19th-century shed and a stone bank barn with an 1819 cornerstone still stand.

4. Antietam Rest, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Frye

3724 Mills Road

President Abraham Lincoln met Gen. Ambrose Burnside at this site in October 1862.

The Federal-style brick house was built in 1844. Restoration includes birds-eye and tiger maple faux-finished doors. The basement features two walk-in fireplaces, original shelving and decorative paint, and the antebellum decor is highlighted by a rare 1859 map of Washington County.

5. Middlekauff-Poffenberger Farm, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Lester G. Fant III

6623 Sharpsburg Pike

There are two residences on Middlekauff-Poffenberger Farm: an unusual Tidewater-region brick house, circa 1760 to 1780, and a German-style, stone farmhouse built in 1820.

Other structures include a stone lye house, a log smokehouse and a frame summer kitchen, a large bank barn and a stone springhouse.

The current owner purchased the farm in 1981, restored it and furnished it with antiques from 100 years earlier.

The brick house has been stabilized and awaits restoration.

A formal cutting/vegetable garden is inspired by the 18th-century character of the historical buildings.

6. Melwood, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Yewell

16811 Shaffer Road

Not too far from the Antietam Battlefield is Melwood, a circa 1800 stone house on 25 acres. An architectural historian has speculated that the house originally may have been a log house on a stone foundation and rebuilt about 1810 as the owners became more affluent. Melwood, named for the owners' ancestral homes in Prince Georges County, Md., has 2-foot thick walls and wood-paneled window openings. An old cooking fireplace with indications of a bake oven remains in the summer kitchen.

7. Woburn Manor, owned by Mr. and Mrs. James Peterson

7661 Dam No. 4 Road

Completed in 1820, Woburn Manor is a four-level stucco-covered stone structure. The original owner was Thomas Buchanan, a Hagerstown lawyer and later Circuit Court judge. A summer kitchen, springhouse, barn and purported slave cabin still stand, and many original elements remain, including yellow pine floors, window sashes, doors, mantels and arches. The front portico and fanlight were reproduced based on early 20th-century photos.

8. William Hagerman Farmstead, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Todd A. Bowman

7202 Dam No. 4 Road

The farmstead, on a gravel lane that leads to the C&O Canal and Potomac River, is home to a two-and-a-half story five-bay brick house that dates from the 1860s. A 50-foot deep, hand-dug well is behind the house as are a smokehouse, wash house and tenant house. There's a service kitchen in the house's cellar. Interior details, including a plaster ceiling medallion, Italianate-inspired mantelpieces, grain-painted doors and original moldings, have been retained.

9. Rose Hill Manor, owned by Mrs. Richard K. Hershey

16001 Spielman Road

Rose Hill Manor, the setting for several scenes in the recent film "Gods and Generals," was built around 1800. The house, furnished with English and American antiques, features a hanging staircase, carved shutters, edge-grain pine floors and a salmon-colored brick exterior.

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