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Fund created to benefit Ferry Hill Place

December 03, 2009

The Community Foundation of Washington County says a new fund has been created to benefit the restoration and nonprofit use of the Ferry Hill Place Plantation in Sharpsburg.

The Fund was started by Jim Norton, a trustee of the Carlson Family Foundation and a resident of the Sharpsburg area who has supported many of the restoration projects along the C&O Canal National Historical Park, according to an e-mailed release from the community foundation.

Historic Ferry Hill Place overlooks the Potomac River in Sharpsburg, across from Shepherdstown, W.Va., at the site where in 1765 a ferry began serving the people of Charles Town and Harpers Ferry in West Virginia, and Hagerstown, Frederick and Baltimore in Maryland.

John Blackford acquired interest in the ferry and in 1812 built Ferry Hill Place as his family home. The Blackford family sold some of the property to the Virginia and Maryland Bridge Company and by 1850 a toll bridge had been constructed. At one point, Ferry Hill was the home of Confederate officer Henry Kyd Douglas.

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The plantation became a pig farm early in the 1900s and a restaurant in the mid-1900s. Because of its location along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, it served as the headquarters of the historical park from 1979-2001.

The unoccupied Ferry Hill Place Plantation remains part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

This new fund will focus on establishing resources to improve Ferry Hill Place, the release says. That will include further developing and polishing the plantation as a historical destination; making physical improvements to the facility and gardens to restore its grace and productivity; promoting the history of the plantation through displays, exhibits and a communications program; developing cooperative educational programs based at the plantation to help the public better enjoy recreational opportunities in the park; and making the most of the site as a venue for cultural events, according to the release.

Ferry Hill Place and the National Park Service will seek public comment on plans for the plantation through a series of meetings with the public this winter, the release says.

More information can be obtained by contacting Stacey Gerard at 301-432-4483.

Anyone interested in financially supporting or learning more about the Ferry Hill Place Plantation Fund may call the Community Foundation at 301-745-5210.

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