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Agricultural fundraiser gets $2,500 boost

December 22, 2003

The board of directors of the Washington County Agricultural Education Center recently kicked off a fund-raising effort with a donation of $2,500 from MidAtlantic Farm Credit.

The donation will help support the Rural Heritage Village Project, the latest phase in the Ag Center's development.

Established eight years ago to foster knowledge about the agricultural history and heritage of Washington County, the Ag Center Park, on Md. 65 south of Hagerstown, is home to the Rural Heritage Museum. The ultimate plan for the facility is reconstruction of a farm community as it existed in the pioneer days.

The fund drive will help develop the Rural Heritage Village, which ultimately will consist of a 1 1/2-story, two-room log farmhouse, a bank, barbershop, church, blacksmith shop, doctor or dentist's office, a schoolhouse, a saloon and an undertaker's shop. A one-room log house, a windmill, corncrib and a hog pen already exist on the site.

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The Rural Heritage Museum, completed in 2000, houses authentic examples of farm machinery, furniture, clothing, wagons, farm implements and other items that would have been used during the 18th and 19th centuries as pioneers pushed westward. An entire general store was reconstructed within the museum, housing items that farm families would have used during the period. The museum was made possible through $350,000 in donations and a State of Maryland matching grant.

The center also houses the annual Washington County Ag Expo, spotlighting county farm youth projects. Activities take place in a number of facilities thanks to donations and county support. A multipurpose building, the Mason and Dixon Kennel Club Building, four livestock pole barns, a milking parlor, a tractor pull track/jousting area, horse show ring, a recreation area, two pavilions and other structures have been provided through voluntary donations by citizens, local groups and organizations, businesses, and support from state and county government.

Those interested in supporting the museum/park can call 301-739-9429 for information.

The Agricultural Education Center is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax-deductible in accordance with IRS regulations, according to Dick Schukraft, head of the fund-raising drive.

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