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NCF_121230_001_STITCH.JPG: Marshall Hall
NCF_121230_002_STITCH.JPG: That's Mount Vernon in the distance
NCF_121230_008.JPG: Marshall Hall:
The mansion house dates from the earliest period. Erected as a one and one-half story brick house and enlarged c. 1760, Marshall Hall is a good example of early eighteenth century Maryland colonial architecture. Prior to the destruction of a large portion of the mansion by fire in October 1981, its features were recorded by the Maryland Historical Trust (1971) and the National Park Service (1981). The small brick outbuilding behind the mansion probably also dates from the earliest period.
In the late nineteenth century, Marshall Hall was the place of a popular Victorian amusement park (photo far right). Visitors arrived and departed by steamboat, which also made regular stops at Mount Vernon. A modern amusement park was erected in the mid-twentieth century and operated until the 1930s.
Marshall Hall patented as "Mistake" in 1728 by Thomas Marshall was the estate of the Marshall family from some time after 1728 until 1867. Thomas Marshall (1694-1759), the first owner, is buried in the family cemetery on the property.
Marshall Hall is the westernmost end of Piscataway Park, established under federal legislation to preserve those lands which provide the principal overview from the Mount Vernon estate across the Potomac River and historic Fort Washington to the north.
NCF_121230_061.JPG: Marshall Hall
Built by Wm. Marshall in 1690 on land obtained from the Piscataway Indians. Maryland landing of Posey ferry used by Washington. Mt. Vernon in sight from river shore.
NCF_121230_065.JPG: Outdoor Activities:
Welcome to the Accokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park. Here, everyone can learn about the past, the present, and the future of peoples' relationship to the land in southern Maryland. You can learn about history, nature, and ecology -- all at once!
Not surprisingly, people have always debated how to use land. But no matter how we think of land, we leave our footprint on it -- even in what seems like the most unspoiled place.
This site explores some of the meanings the land has held for various peoples in southern Maryland over hundreds of years. As you explore, think about what the land means to you.
NCF_121230_067.JPG: The National Colonial Farm:
The National Colonial Farm offers a glimpse into the farming and social lives of Marylanders between 1760 and 1775.
The National Colonial Farm was one of the Accokeek Foundation's first endeavors. It offers a view into the life of a small, middle class farm family in Maryland.
You might see historical interpreters portraying people who lived and worked on the farm, including slaves. You can see buildings from that period. You can even see varieties of animals and plants similar to those people used 250 years ago.
NCF_121230_079.JPG: Welcome to the Visitor Center:
The Visitor Center can be a starting point for your visit. Inside, exhibits describe the people who have inhabited this part of Prince George's County. You can learn about why Piscataway Park exists today and how the Accokeek Foundation preserves this legacy. While inside, please visit the museum shop, which helps to fund visitor programs in the park.
From the Visitor Center, explore the site's diversity. You can see the National Colonial Farm. You can enjoy the view of George Washington's Mount Vernon. You can hike a nature trail.
NCF_121230_086.JPG: To honour the memory of
The Hon. Frances Payne Bolton
Member, United States Congress from Ohio 1940-1969
President, Accokeek Foundation, 1957-1977
Whose vision, generosity and leadership made possible the preservation of the historic view from Mount Vernon
NCF_121230_090.JPG: The Potomac Heritage:
Before you flows the great Potomac River, a 390-mile stretch of water, forests, fields, and wetlands that tells the story of ten thousand years of human habitation. The river begins as a spring at the Fairfax Stone in West Virginia, evolves to a tidal river in Washington DC, and eventually expands to a body of water that is over ten miles wide as it empties into the Chesapeake Bay.
When Captain John Smith made his fateful voyage past this site in 1608, he saw Native American villages and stockaded forts scattered along the shoreline. A century-and-a-half later, George Washington looked across the waterway to see the same unblemished landscape that one views from Mount Vernon today.
Millions now live and work along this corridor, building upon cultural traditions laid down over ten millennia. The story of the Potomac valley is the story of colonial estates and small farmers and watermen and urban dwellers. It is an expression of the American Experience.
Vast areas of wilderness and open space remain along the river. Countless historical sites have been preserved. It is one of the prime recreational resources of the region. The Accokeek Foundation works with many other organizations to preserve the river's past, save environmental areas important to our quality of life today, and educate the public about how crucial this precious resource is to the future of our country.
NCF_121230_093.JPG: Piscataway Park:
This park and its scenic views have been made possible by the generous donations of lands and scenic easements by the following public-spirited citizens.
NCF_121230_099.JPG: The National Colonial Farm:
Hundreds of thousands of people have visited The National Colonial Farm since it was founded in 1958. The farm was created to show how the ordinary farm family lived in colonial times prior to the American Revolution and has served as an important center for the preservation of rare strains of historic crops.
While many of the great Potomac River estates, such as Mount Vernon and Gunston Hall are well preserved today, most of the small tobacco plantations of the period have vanished. The Colonial Farm addresses how people lived on these smaller plantations: the crops they grew, the food they ate, the animals they raised, and the structures they lived in.
The colonial farmhouse, tobacco house, kitchen, crops, gardens, and chestnut rail fences all paint a picture of a rural, often isolated family life. The Virginia Gourdseed corn, Red May wheat, and Orinoco tobacco -- all rare heirloom varieties grown here -- represent, along with the produce of the gardens, the basic staples of life. The farm animals -- Red Devon cattle, Razorback hogs, Hog Island sheep, and various types of fowl give the visitor an idea of the kinds of animals they maintained.
The general public and thousands of school children participate in the education programs developed for the site each year.
NCF_121230_138.JPG: I loved the pig with the beard!
NCF_121230_168.JPG: He wanted some lovin'
NCF_121230_174.JPG: Garden of the World:
The Museum Garden brings together farming techniques from three continents. People from each continent brought their interests, customs, tastes, and some plants with them. They all contributed to colonial Maryland agriculture.
When many of us today go to unfamiliar lands, we bring something familiar with us. The voluntary European -- and involuntary African -- migrants to Maryland in the colonial period did the same. They brought their tastes, their agricultural techniques, and ways of preparing food.
The Museum Garden preserves some of these foodways. Some of the crops are native to the Americas. Others come from Europe, and still others hail from Africa. We grow the crops in each section differently to reflect the styles of the people who contributed them to colonial Maryland. We also preserve the seeds of each plant to maintain genetic diversity.
Native American Garden: The Piscataway Indians around present-day Accokeek grew their crops in small mounds. They also practices a technique called interplanting, growing complementary varieties together.
European Garden: Colonists from wet European climates grew their crops in raised beds in straight rows. This style allowed for better drainage and avoided compacting the plant beds in a moist environment.
Africa Garden: People in the arid regions of West African grew these crops in a circle pattern. It kept the focus together making best use of available water. It also allowed the farmer to harvest while standing in the middle of the circle, rather than washing energy moving around. Slaves in Maryland sometimes used these practices brought from Africa.
Colonial Kitchen Gardens: Farming families in colonial Maryland grew much of their own food. Wealthier planters experimented with a wide variety of plants in their gardens. Such experimentation was impractical for poor families, so their gardens had less variety.
Women tended the gardens. White members of the household ate first, with slaves eating only after them. Many slaves did not receive enough food for the amount of work they did, so many likely hunted and fished on the side.
NCF_121230_200.JPG: Mount Vernon's across the water
NCF_121230_227.JPG: Fishing the Potomac River:
In 1759, George Washington wrote that the Potomac River was "... well-stocked with various kinds of fish at all seasons of the year, and in the spring with shad, herrings, bass, carp, perch, sturgeon, etc in great abundance." Fishermen tossed their nets into the river and pulled their catch ashore by hand or by mule.
The Potomac River was once the most profitable fishing river on the East Coast until over-fishing, pollution, and sedimentation devastated the fish population. By the early twentieth century, the once plentiful sturgeon disappeared from the Potomac, and shad and herring were rare.
Fortunately, catch limits, clean water laws, and conservation actions are cleaning up the Potomac. Government agencies and private citizens are working to replenish the shad and herring populations and to reintroduce sturgeon to the Potomac River. In time, these troubled species may again be "in great abundance."
NCF_121230_232.JPG: Traveling on the Potomac River:
For more than 10,000 years, the Potomac River has been a key to prosperity for people living within its watershed -- providing water, food, recreational opportunities, and a means of transportation.
Native Americans in birch bark and dugout canoes were the first to travel on the Potomac River and its tributaries. In 1608, John Smith's voyage heralded the European colonization of the Potomac. As the colonies grew, larger boats and sailing vessels plied the Potomac, carrying people and supplies, and stopping at large plantations like Mount Vernon to load tobacco for the journey to the Chesapeake Bay and across the Atlantic to European markets.
In time, the internal combustion engine changed transportation on the Potomac as elsewhere. But a sense of the river's maritime history returns when sailing, canoeing or kayaking its waters today.
NCF_121230_240.JPG: Fort Washington in the distance
NCF_121230_245.JPG: That pile of dirt in the distance is apparently being turned into some development.
NCF_121230_265.JPG: Pumpkin Ash Trail
The Pumpkin Ash Trail takes you on a journey through time. In it, you see different stages of a forest growing from cleared land.
When you walk the Pumpkin Ash Trail, you will enter four different habitats. Each is important. Different plants and animals rely on each of them.
You begin in the Forest habitat. Once this land was cleared and farmed, but forest has grown on it again in the last 50 years.
Next you will see the Lowland Forest/Riparian Forest habitat. This habitat has forested areas along the river.
Next you see the Wetland. The Wetland has some areas with nearly constant water, and other areas that are dry sometimes and wet at other times. The water affects that grows in each place.
Finally, you will enter the Grassland. You will notice smaller trees there. That's because it was cleared land until the 1990s, when it was allowed to grow up naturally again.
As time progresses, the plants and animals in a particular habitat will change. Some may become more prevalent, while others become less so. Scientists call this process, by which one species displaces another, ecological succession.
Walking through the Pumpkin Ash Trail, you will see the ecological succession in reverse. The first habitat, forest, is a formerly cleared agricultural area where trees have grown for more than 50 years. There you will see trees like oak and hickory common to older forests. In the grassland area, cleared for agriculture until the 1990s, you will see smaller trees. These sweetgums, tulip poplars, and cedar trees are typical of newer forests.
NCF_121230_274.JPG: Above Ground Archaeology:
You can tell what might have been here before. One tree that has spreading branches suggests there had been cleared open space. It might have been a yard, or a pasture -- or a house.
Several ways exist for us to know that the land along the Pumpkin Ash Trail was once cleared for agriculture. Records and first-hand accounts talk about a house and a farm. But written records are not the only way to know. Barbed wire, non native plants, and old drainage ditches all add pieces to the puzzle. Whenever humans use an area, we leave evidence that we were there.
As you walk the trail, be on the lookout for indications of what might have been here before. We'll give you a few clues. What else can you find?
Along the trail you may see some trees much larger than others. Their branches spread out further than those of most other trees. These are wolf trees, which are left standing after others had been cleared.
When people selectively clear trees, the remaining wolf trees can spread their branches and become larger than trees held back by nearby competition. You can find them in areas that were once pastures or near former homes.
NCF_121230_334.JPG: The Pollinator Garden:
Native plants naturally occur in the region in which they evolved. Natives are adapted to local soils and climate conditions, typically require less watering and fertilizer, and are often more resistant to insects and diseases. Wildlife has evolved to rely on native plants for food, cover, and a place to raise young. Planting natives helps to preserve the balance and beauty of our natural ecosystems.
Back to Natives:
This pollinator garden is an area that had been completely covered by non-native, invasive plants including Oriental bittersweet, multiflora rose, and garlic mustard. The invasive plants smothered and killed most of the native vegetation. Invasive species cause ecological damage when they compete with native species and reduce biological diversity.
This pollinator garden contains over 20 species of native wildflowers and grasses such as Big Bluestem, Common Milkweed, Cardinal Flower, and Sassafras.
NCF_121230_339.JPG: Science and History Together:
Here at the National Colonial Farm, you will see a realistic portrait of everyday life in Prince George's County 250 years ago.
Welcome to the National Colonial Farm, one of the Accokeek Foundation's first educational programs.
Created in 1958, the National Colonial Farm originally emphasized preserving heirloom crops with tied to colonial era Maryland. This scientific focus is still important, but the Farm's mission has since expanded. Today, the Farm depicts life on a small tobacco farm in the mid- to late-1700s. Most farmers in colonial Maryland lived on small farms like this, rather than big plantations like 8000-acre Mount Vernon.
Come take a journey through history, agriculture, and ecology.
History Comes Alive:
Actor-interpreters portray ordinary life on a small family farm between 1760 and 1775. The family story presented at the National Colonial Farm is a composite. The individuals' daily labor, interactions, possessions, and crops are based on the historical records of twelve local colonial families.
Originally built around 1770, this house had people living in it until 1950. Small and comfortable, yet easily expandable houses like this suited the lifestyles of families on small farms. The Accokeek Foundation moved it here and reassembled it using colonial methods in the 1990s.
This tobacco barn is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Accokeek Foundation moved it here from near Annapolis in 1981 and spent two years reassembling it using colonial methods. The high roof, a feature of colonial Maryland barns, provides a clue to the structure's age.
The National Colonial Farm is a demonstration of colonial agriculture. The Milking Devon Cows, Hog Island Sheep, Ossabaw Hogs, Dominique Chickens, and Black Spanish Turkeys are among the few remaining of their kind. They are representative of farm animals you would have seen here in the 1700s.
NCF_121230_372.JPG: The Rain Garden:
Every inch of rain that falls on a 1,000 square foot building yields 623 gallons of water! This rain garden, which is planted with native wildflowers and grasses, is designed to soak up the rain water that pours from the downspouts of a nearby building.
NCF_121230_376.JPG: This bog was on the way to the National Colonial Farm
Wikipedia Description: Piscataway Park
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Piscataway Park, located 20 miles southwest of downtown Washington, D.C. near Accokeek, Maryland, protects Marshall Hall and the National Colonial Farm. The park is located across the Potomac River from Mount Vernon, and its original purpose was to allow the view from Mount Vernon to be as it was in George Washington's day, by preventing development on the opposite side of the river.
Piscataway Park is home to bald eagles, as well as beavers, osprey, and other wildlife. The park contains areas of wetlands, meadows, and woodland.
The park is administered by the National Park Service and is managed by National Capital Parks-East.
National Colonial Farm:
The National Colonial Farm is a living history example of a 1770's tobacco farm. Many of the structures on the site are open to visitors, including a barn, smokehouse, out-kitchen, and the farm house. Costumed interpreters demonstrate various techniques, including candlemaking, gardening, and sewing.
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