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Old farmstead, new problems

Brumbaugh-Kendle-Grove Farmstead

Brumbaugh-Kendle-Grove Farmstead

September 25, 2005|By PAT SCHOOLEY

A cluster of farm buildings stand below a rise that carries U.S. 11 above and past them on the west, about a mile from the Pennsylvania border. A large brick house and a stone smokehouse are unused. Cattle stand under the fore bay of the massive, pierced-end brick barn.

Johann Jacob Brumbaugh was 22 when he came from Germany to Philadelphia in 1750. He soon moved to the Conococheague District of Frederick County, Md., which became Washington County in 1776. He acquired large tracts of land both in Pennsylvania and in Maryland. He married Mary Elizabeth Angle, a local girl, in 1760. He built his original two-room, two-story log house well to the north of this farmstead, on land subdivided from the farm some years ago.

At some point, Brumbaugh built a house on the present site. He died in 1799. Four years later, Mary Brumbaugh filed documents releasing her dower interest in this farm to her children in return for an annual payment of 35 pounds. She died in 1806, and her son Henry acquired his siblings' interest in the property. Both Johann Jacob Brumbaugh and Mary Brumbaugh are buried in a small cemetery west of the house.

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Henry Brumbaugh's son Andrew purchased the 274-acre farmstead from his father in 1847 for $12,330, with rights reserved to Henry and the family to pass to and from the "burying ground" for the "purposes of interment," and the right to occupy "the room he now occupies in the main building on said premises, and the room above and one half of the large room upstairs, with privilege of passing in & out of the passage, for himself and wife, during their natural lives."

This house survives only as part of the foundation seen in the cellar.

Andrew Brumbaugh died in 1859 and was buried in the family cemetery. By 1880, his daughter Sallie and her husband, Norman E. Schindel, held a mortgage on 162.7 acres of the property, which included the house and cemetery. Sallie died two days after giving birth to her only child in 1883. Seven weeks later, the farm was auctioned off. At that time, the farm was listed as having "a two-story log and roughcast dwelling house, a large brick swisser barn, a good well of water, 1 two-story tenement house with stabling, a good wagon shed, carriage house, hog pen and all other necessary out buildings with an excellent orchard of apple and peach trees."

The barn and the stone smokehouse still stand. Norman Schindel's mother, Carmilla (or Camilla) Schindel, purchased the farm for $9,927.75, then left it to her two sons at her death in 1894. Norman's brother, S. Milford, deeded his share back to his brother.

A year later Norman and his new wife, Emma, sold the farm to Samuel M. Kendle for $9,140.62. It was Kendle who built the expansive brick house over the foundation of the old log and roughcast house, which he removed. The main block of the two-story house is five bays wide with a central entrance. The walls are laid in seven-over-one common bond. Windows have two one-light sashes set in arched openings with floral motifs incised in the lintels beneath these arches. A two-story ell is centered on the back of the main block of the house and has double porches under the main roof span on both the north and south sides of this ell. Inside, the walls are plastered and the woodwork molded with bull's-eye corner blocks. It is a well-built, substantial house that cost about $4,000 to build, according to Thomas Williams' "History of Washington County MD."

Kendle remained until 1924, when he sold 160 acres to I. Luther Grove. Grove remained there until 1959, when he sold it to his son and daughter-in-law, Luther Grove Jr. and Leona Grove. When the Groves decided to sell in 1997, part of the farmstead was purchased by the Washington County Commissioners, and the other part went to the Jacob Engle Foundation. The foundation sold its part of the farm to the county two years later. Since then, the house has stood vacant, part of a planned airport expansion.

The awkwardly named Brumbaugh-Kendle-Grove Farmstead is in an awkward position, caught in a governmental catch-22. Because of its proximity to the airport, the house cannot remain vacant; it's a security risk. Without tenants, the house must be demolished, according to government officials. But rehabilitating a historic house is expensive, according to estimates, preventing tenants from moving in.

Historic building collides with modern security needs


The Washington County Regional Airport wants to expand its runway. The farmstead is not in the way of the runway expansion. The farmstead is across the road from the airport and out of the loop for security purposes. The airport's perimeter fence does not protect it, and adding a security fence around the 85-acre parcel is not in the plan.

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