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Historic African American Schoolhouse Available For Curatorship

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Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The historic property known as the Hornbaker House in Washington County, is coming available for restoration under the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Resident-Curatorship Program. This property is located on the grounds of Fort Frederick State Park, 11100 Fort Frederick Road, Big Pool, Maryland. An open house will be held on Saturday, June 7, 2008 from 1 pm-3 pm, for those interested in learning more about the site and the program.

“The Resident-Curatorship Program is a great opportunity for citizens to be directly involved in the preservation of Maryland’s historic resources.” said Bruce Alexander, Manager of Curatorships and Cultural Resources for DNR. “The curator who chooses to live in and restore the Hornbaker House will be preserving an important part of our state’s history.”

Built in the late 19th century (circa 1899) the Hornbaker House was originally an African-American School. Once known as the Fort Frederick “Colored” school house, the small school was constructed to provide for the education of area African-American children during a time of racial segregation in Washington County. It operated on and off for a few years, then closed permanently in April 1909, when its students were sent to other segregated schools in Clear Spring and Williamsport. The Washington County school board sold the property in 1914, and it was enlarged and turned into a residence.

Under this exciting program, in exchange for a lifetime lease, curators agree to restore and maintain the house according to strict historic preservation standards and at no cost to the state. The program requires that curatorship proposals represent at least $150,000 worth of improvements to the property, which must be completed within seven years. Certain properties may require a significantly greater investment. In addition, the curatorship is subject to regular inspection by state officials, and can be terminated for non-compliance. Resident-Curators, who can be individuals or organizations, must also agree to open the property to the public three to five times each year.

Since 1982, the Resident-Curatorship Program has helped to preserve over 40 historic buildings on state parkland. More information, including photographs and bid proposal guidelines, can be found on our website: or by contacting Bruce Alexander at 410-260-8457.


Written by Symphony

May 20, 2008 at 8:27 pm

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