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April through October
Sundays 1-4 PM (except Easter)
Extended hours based per event.

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About the Farm

Hancock Family

Photo Gallery

History

Events Calendar

Upcoming:

SPRING FARM FESTIVAL

April 21, 2024

MOTHER’S DAY TEA AND INTERPRETING HISTORIC WOMENS’ CLOTHING

May 12, 2024

May Displays

May 19, 2024

MEMORIAL DAY

May 26, 2024

June Displays

June 2, 2024

HOTBEDS

The hotbed yard was used to grow plants for early market produce. Hotbeds were always placed near the creek to have access to needed water. Being near the tidewater reduced the potential for frost damage with sudden weather changes while the plants were being grown.

When first used, straw was used to cover the plants. In later years the bad weather days during January were used to sew together burlap blankets. The blankets were made from the empty bags from the fertilizer purchased the previous year. The blankets were used to cover the hotbeds at night to maintain temperature for the growing plants. It required much less time to remove these blankets from the hotbeds than the usual straw covering. If the composted manure pile was not sufficient for the planned hotbeds, January was the time to haul pine needles and leaves from the woods or corn stalks from the fields to be added to the manure pile. The added material was mixed in by hand, turning with pitchforks to begin the necessary rotting to create the heat needed to start the hotbeds. 

February was the beginning of hotbed season. Every clear day was used to prepare the hotbed frames, do the final turning of the manure compost for maximum heat and finally prepare the hotbeds for first seed by February 15th. Hotbed frames were set level with the surface of the ground for maximum insulation by the surrounding soil. The frames were set level with just enough slope to drain any rainwater from the glass. Eight to ten inches of steaming compost were placed in the bottom of the hotbed, then three to four inches of screened topsoil were added to fill the frame within two to three inches of the top. The air space between soil and glass was kept to a minimum to make full use of the heat produced by the rotting compost. The space could be increased as needed for the growing plants by raising the hotbed frame and sash above the ground surface with a block and metal pry bar. Planting the seeds or other work on the plants after the seed had germinated was restricted to one to two hours during the middle of sunny days to avoid losing too much of the heat needed for plant growth. 

March required constant care of the plants in the hotbeds. The plants were watered as needed during the middle of the day, then the sash was propped open during the middle of the day. Bright sunshine and moderating temperatures provided more heat than required for the plants. March also was the time to transplant seedbed tomatoes and peppers to provide better root systems before transplanting to the fields. Other hotbeds were prepared without the compost for heat to start cucumbers, squash, cantelopes, and sometimes other crops. These plants could not be easily transplanted and were planted in tin cans, (the same as paper or plastic pots today). When the metal can for preserving food became standard, and Baltimore became a center for commercial food canning, an enterprising businessman began salvaging used cans, steam cleaning and bagging those used cans for a secondary use by farmers as plant containers. The melon plants growing in tin cans, started in March or April under glass, could be transplanted to the field in early May with 4 to 6 weeks head start over field planted seed, and gain a full month in first harvest of marketable melons

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Split Rail Fence

The traditional “Snake and Cross” or “Zigzag” fence is based on remnants of the original fence. The 11 foot, hand split rails would have been constructed of chestnut. The chestnut blight killed most of the towering trees in the early 1900’s.

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Entrance

Hancock’s Resolution is now a Historic Park in the Anne Arundel County Park System. While farmsteads like this used to cover this county side (except this one was constructed with stone while the great majority were wood frame) this c. 1785 stone house and milk house are the last surviving authentic, restored but not renovated, farm structures left in the entire region. As such they are of singular importance. (1785 was four years before George Washington became President of the United States.

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Cook House

The owner of this two story farmhouse, Henry Alfred Cook, married Rhoda Virginia Hancock, who was born upstairs at Hancock’s Resolution. Constructed in the mid 1800s with an addition added later in the century, this house was originally located approximately a mile west of its present location. It was moved to the park in 1991 to serve as a care taker’s home.

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Bodkin Creek

In either one or both of June 12 and 14, 1608 (N.S.*) (the first date before going up the Bolus (Patapsco) River and the second date coming back down the river) Capt. John Smith and his crew entered and mapped Bodkin Creek, very probably looking for fresh water. (* “N.S” stands for “New Style”, meaning the Gregorian calendar presently in use and not the earlier “Julian Calendar”, in use at the time of his voyage.”

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Graveyard

The Hancock family graveyard contains at least 125 head and foot stones. The graves are marked with headstones made of the local sandstone, which was readily available. While many of the tombstone’s inscriptions have worn away, several from the 19th and 20th centuries are still readable including one marked “A. H.” and dated 1809, which marks the grave of Anne Hancock, third wife of Stephen. Stephen’s grave is some distance away to the left and the space between the graves may contain the graves of Stephen’s children and earlier wives.

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Farm Field

The farm field is an area where exhibition crops are planted and farming using historical methods is demonstrated.

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Bee Hives

Bee hives in boxes, baskets or even parts of hollow logs were a part of traditional farming practices. Beehives were documented on Francis Hancock’s 1832 probate inventory; honey and beeswax were important to both 17th and 18th century farms. The bees at the farm are tended by the farm’s master gardeners and housed in modern “Langstroth’s Hives.” These movable frame hives, patented in 1852, revolutionized bee keeping and are still preferred today.

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House

Stephen Hancock built the house in 1785 and Hancock descendents continued to live in the house until the 1960s. Lacking electricity, plumbing and central heating the house is largely unchanged since its construction. The house is constructed of native sandstone. Galleting is used on the entire wall surface of both the house and the adjacent milk house. It is the only known rural example of this technique in the Chesapeake region. The first floor contains one large room with plaster over hand-split lath. Original Federal period trim, including baseboards, chair rail, window and door surrounds, decorate the room as does the elaborate mantelpiece.

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Milk House

In the 18th and early 19th century dairy products were stored in the milk house. The Hancock family used the building as a grocery and dry goods store in the early 20th century until the frame building was later constructed. It also has the galleting that is also used on the house.

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Gardens

A “kitchen garden” located just outside the home consisted of both foods and herbs and ornamental plants. Kitchen gardens were common place into the 1900s. The current garden is a historically accurate reconstruction of the Hancock family garden. A grove of ancient Lilacs and a thicket of Chickasaw Plums (known to be utilized by the pre-Colonial Indian populations of Anne Arundel County) are found outside the gardens.

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Well

The well is believed to have dated from the 18th century when the house was constructed. The well remained in use until the 1950’s when the elderly Mamie Hancock could no longer manage the daily chore of hauling water for everyday use and a modern well with hand pump was installed closer to the house. Approximately 14 feet deep, the well is lined with stones “dry laid” and is untouched except for repairs at the frost line.

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Store

The Hancock family ran a dry goods and grocery store in the 20th century. The store served the local farmers, lighthouse keepers, fisherman, and oyster dredgers as well as the seasonal workers who were employed at the farm. This current building is a historically accurate reconstruction of the frame building and houses displays and a small gift shop.

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Barn Site

This is believed to be the site of an early barn. At some future date, we hope to reconstruct the barn and have farm animals.

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Trail

Self-guided Tour (map available at entrance)

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Trail

Self-guided Tour (map available at entrance)

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Bodkin Creek

War of 1812 Burning of Lion picture – wording to use: On August 24, 1814, a British raiding party, patrolling the Patapsco area in advance of their attack on Baltimore, entered Bodkin Creek and burned a “fine” American schooner they identified as being the “Lion of Baltimore”. That is the same name as one of America’s best privateers in the War of 1812 although, it turns out, there may have been more than one vessel of that name.