We recently took a guided walk around the Howard County Conservancy property looking at the buildings through the eyes of the historians. Much of the property is being preserved, in order to keep examples of agricultural heritage so important to Howard County. The farm was named Mt. Pleasant by the Brown family members who lived there. The family owned the land from 1692 until they donated it to the Conservancy almost 20 years ago. Parcel names and boundaries changed over the years either by marriages, or bequeathing of properties to the various children, and the 232 acres are what remained that Ruth and Frances Brown donated. Together the sisters taught school in Howard County for a combined total of 97 years.
Head up the driveway towards the top of the hill where many of the buildings still stand.
The farmhouse is the centerpiece of the property, and you can’t see it until you get far into the grounds. It sits high on the property with vistas in many directions. I can only imagine how peaceful and quiet it was before Waverly Woods and I-70 were added. You can hear the interstate traffic faintly these days.
It was built in stages, with the front of it, seen from the parking lot, a newer addition. New, being relative, that is. The original log cabin is still under the siding covered walls near the rear of the house, the logs were covered over as the family grew and expanded the house. Inside there are three separate staircases, and connections between the different parts of the home.
The front of the farmhouse is used for offices now, and the rear is the home of the caretaker’s family, so it is not open to the public. This view from the rear shows where one of the “front” entrances is located, which faced west-northwest.
There are numerous outbuildings as well. Many of these are in stages of preservation. Some are used for demos. Besides the ones I picture, there is a carriage house, a corn crib, a bank barn, and wagon shed. One of the two coops now holds the resident chickens.
The smokehouse and second coop, once used to house guinea fowl. No one knows why those cut outs are there.
When can you see much of the property used as it may have been used years ago?
At the annual Fallfest in October is one time. Including demonstrations in the blacksmith shop. Also this year, there will be a wonder walk in July that showcases what it was like to live and farm on the land.
The Montjoy barn, which is always a draw for people visiting, was moved to the Conservancy from Ellicott City and reassembled. It would have been torn down to make way for development in its former location.
There is also a three acre honors garden on the grounds, where you can find examples of plants native to this area.
Finally, stop in and get the arboretum guide, and you will find trees on site that are beautiful specimens like this American Elm behind the farmhouse, and while back there look carefully and find the outhouse and the foundation for the ice house. Lots of history on the property. So much to discover on your own, or on one of the Conservancy wonder walks. I volunteer here and never get tired of exploring the trails, walking the pathways, visiting the chickens and goats, looking for birds, or just chilling out.