When you think of archaeology, you may not think of new artifacts being found all the time here in Maryland. But according to our guest, Director of Archaeology for Anne Arundel County Stephanie Sperling, there may be things worth digging up in your backyard!
Mt. Pleasant in Washington County was listed as an Endangered Maryland site in 2014.
Mt. Pleasant is located on top of a hill just to the south of Sharpsburg and adjacent to the western boundary of the Antietam National Battlefield. The property contains several historic structures including a tenant house, a slave cabin, summer kitchen, frame barn, and a two-story frame farmhouse. The architecture of many of these structures reflects building characteristics of the early 19th century. Civil War troops marched past this house on their way to the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862 and cannons were placed on the grounds surrounding the house. The house even served as a Confederate field hospital after the battle. The farmhouse sits on 180 acres of agricultural land that is under easement with the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET).
This property is significant because of its connection to the American Civil War and because it is a great example of an intact farm complex from the early 19th century. Known as the Henry Blackford Farm during the American Civil War, this farmhouse was mentioned in accounts of the Battle of Antietam. Today the property serves as an important part of the rural historic landscape in Washington County which has changed little since the Civil War. The house falls within the view of Antietam National Battlefield, and so it helps visitors at the battlefield understand what Union and Confederate soldiers would have seen when they were marching into battle.
The current property owner requested a demolition permit for the house in 2011. MET denied the request and asked the owner to mothball the structure to prevent further deterioration. To date the owner has done nothing to preserve the building and so this property could still be lost due to demolition by neglect.
MET submitted Mt. Pleasant to Endangered Maryland in an effort to raise awareness about the significance of the property and to pressure the owner into making the right decision for the house. This house should be saved not only because of its historic significance but also in the interest of its heritage tourism value. People come to Antietam seeking an authentic experience, and this house currently adds a great deal to that experience. Representatives from MET, Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, and Save Historic Antietam Foundation want to see the house sold to a property owner that appreciates the significance of the house and intends to rehabilitate the structure.