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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Beginnings of Roseville Park

Roseville Park, 1937
Because, yes, I am this easily distracted, I wanted to post a few things about the early days of Roseville Park. This was brought to my attention by a comment by Bill Harris, who linked to this article in the News Journal (link may or may not work for you). The gist of it is here:
Planning for the neighborhood of Roseville Park got under way off Kirkwood Highway in 1928, with a few homes done before the Great Depression idled the project and uncounted others nationwide.

The post-World War II boom saw many more homes built in the neighborhood – boasting the oldest continuous civic association in the state – and more recent building brought the total of homes to 179.

From its start, when Kirkwood Highway was two slim lanes, the quiet, almost-hidden neighborhood near Polly Drummond Hill Road – one of the state’s first subdivisions, if not the first – welcomed residents and guests with a brick wall with end post tops engraved “Roseville” and “Park.”
The point of the article was that part of one of those brick pillars had been found in someone's yard, and was rebuilt. A good article, and a good mention of a community that was older than I had realized. In my response to Bill's comment, I had expressed some doubt about the characterization of the development as having "gotten under way off Kirkwood Highway in 1928". (Leaving aside the facts that A) there was no Kirkwood Highway in 1928, and B) technically the road there even today is Capitol Trail, not Kirkwood Highway.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Inexplicably Famous Polly Drummond

Polly Drummond's Tavern today
Several times previously here on the blog, we've (directly or indirectly) uncovered the origins of, and the people behind, various road and place names in Mill Creek Hundred. We've hit things like Duncan Road, Brackinville Road, Little Baltimore Road, Loveville Road and McKennan's Church Road. Usually, the person behind the name is either a major landowner nearby, or a prominent figure in the community (like a preacher). This time, we'll look at a name (first and last) known by pretty much anyone who's spent any time living in or passing through Mill Creek Hundred -- Polly Drummond. And while she did live for a while in the area that bears her name, she was not a large landowner (by "large", I mean her property -- I have no idea about Polly's size) nor did she live there very long. Assuming the name started to be used while she was there, it's now been around almost ten times longer than she was.

The very short version of this post is that Polly Drummond, for a time, operated a small tavern on the hill that now bears her name. The dual challenge here is to A) find out more about who Polly Drummond was, and B) figure out why her name came to be attached to a hill that already had a name (the road, of course, was later named after the hill). For the first part, I think I've done a pretty good job of collecting more about Polly Drummond in one place than any other place I know of. I can pretty much follow her from cradle to grave, and I even have some more information about the tavern that made her "famous". As for the second part -- we can only speculate. Not surprisingly, though, I do have a few thoughts about it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Identify This Mystery Object

The Mystery Object
I have something I want to put out for everyone to take a look at. My hope is that maybe someone might know what the heck it is. It was found in the woods near an old farmsite (I don't want to say exactly where just yet, on the off chance it might be rare), and I have no idea what it is. It seems to be made of copper, judging by the coloration and discoloration. If I remember correctly, it's roughly about two feet long, give or take.

The catch here is that it may or may not have anything to do with the farm in which it was found. It's not very far from the barn, but it's sitting in a small creekbed. It may or may not be connected to some copper tubing that is visible nearby. The tubing comes out of the creekbank and may come from the barn as some sort of drainage system. Since the object is in this small creek, that, to me, at least raises the possibility that it could have been washed there from somewhere else, and have nothing to do with the farm. It could be an old car part for all I know.

Does anyone have any idea what this might be? Here are a couple more pictures. If you have any ideas, feel free to speak up.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Interesting Owners of Woodside

I know that this one, again, is technically a little outside of Mill Creek Hundred, but it's close and does have a connection. This particular topic came to my attention recently while researching the posts about Caleb Harlan and Plumgrove Farm. I had always figured that the Ferris School was built on land donated by Mr. Ferris, although until recently I had no idea who that might have been. As it turns out, though, the money to start the school came from John Ferris, but the property was purchased with that money by his cousin, Caleb Harlan.

The property that Harlan purchased, known as Woodside, of course has its own history prior to the founding of the school. I'm not interested here in going into too much detail about the very early years of the house, or details about the house itself, for that matter. If I find more about those topics, perhaps I could come back to that someday, but the focus of this post is in a slightly different direction. In particular, I want to look briefly at the last three men to own Woodside, immediately before Harlan's purchase and the founding of the school. (Unless someone owned it very briefly, I believe these are the last three owners.) While none of these men were from Mill Creek Hundred (and I think only one was technically from Christiana Hundred, where the property sits) or particularly impacted it directly, they're just interesting guys.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Fell Historic District

Fell Historic District area, c.1860
A couple years ago (have I been doing this that long?) we took a brief look at the history of the Fell Spice Mill at Faulkland. In that post, we focused primarily on the history of the spice mill itself, and the Fell family who ran it. I mentioned, however, that there are several other aspects of the story that are worthy of their own posts. I think the most obvious are the surrounding buildings in the Faulkland area that comprise the Fell Historic District, entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. There are eight buildings in the district, erected over a period of a century and a quarter, from 1800 to 1925. Some of them are visible from Faulkland Road, and some are not. You may even have driven by them without realizing their historic nature.

We'll now take a look at these eight homes (they weren't all homes to begin with, but they are now), which I've divided into three periods -- Early, Middle, and Late (original, huh?). There's more to say about some than others, but we'll touch on them all (with pictures!!). If you want to refamiliarize yourself with the basic history of the district, I recommend going back and reading the original Spice Mill post. That will hopefully make it easier to follow along with the names being used here.