Heritage Fund Highlight: Opening the Door to Handsell

04/14/2021
By Jessica Feldt

Handsell Historic Site, managed by the Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance, now has a replica of the broken front door that once stood in the entryway of the home.

The house at Handsell is one part of this historic site, which interprets the history of three unique cultures that shaped the surrounding location. These cultures are the indigenous population that resided in the village of Chicone, African-Americans, and the colonial settlers. The plantation in this area used the forced labor of close to one hundred African Americans. Later, the sharecropper community of Indiantown grew up around the house.

The house at Handsell is an 1837 rebuild of an 18th century house devastated by fire ca. 1781. It lay vacant and boarded up from the 1950s to the early 2000s. The Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance purchased the house in 2009.

The recreation of the door is part of a larger project for the Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance. Their goal is to allow people access to the house again, and the new door is doing just that. The project has also included an entry door and kitchen step restoration.

The Heritage Fund, a joint program of Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust, helped fund the recreation of the front door. The work, done by Robert Davis of Davis Custom Carpentry, was based on the remnants of a broken door found at the site and plan drawings by Michael Bourne. The Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance is now turning its attention to the restoration of the front porch to allow visitors to use this new door.  

Jessica Feldt · Preservation Initiatives Manager

Jessica Feldt manages our proactive preservation and grant-giving programs and is here to help you move your project on the path towards preservation.

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