Founded in 1776, Montgomery County, Maryland has done an incredible job in preserving and sharing the history of the community. History buffs will delight in seeing the past come to life at these publicly accessible historical attractions in the area. Check out Heritage Montgomery for an extended list of historic sites in the county.
For nearly 100 years, The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (C&O) was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River. Today, it endures as a pathway for discovering historical and recreational treasures!
Take a trip back in time aboard the mule-drawn Charles F. Mercer packet boat at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, or stay overnight in one of six historic lockhouses through the award-winning Canal Quarters program managed by the C&O Canal Trust. Five lockhouses are in Montgomery County. Don’t forget to visit The Monocacy Aqueduct. As the largest of the 11 aqueducts erected along the C&O Canal, it is often described by many historians as one of the finest canal features in the United States.
Josiah Henson Museum and Park is a former plantation property where Josiah Henson was enslaved. Henson was a famous abolitionist, author, and preacher and was the inspiration for Harriet Beecher’s famous novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. The original home to former plantation owner Isaac Riley still stands and is accompanied by new museum exhibits that tell the story of Josiah Henson’s life including what it was like to be enslaved most of his life and what he did to overcome it.
Experience Maryland as it looked in the early 1800s by visiting Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park in Sandy Spring. The Woodlawn Visitor Center is a stone barn full of interactive exhibits that tell the story of a bustling farm and the earliest residents of the Woodlawn community. Walk the Underground Railroad Experience Trail and imagine what it was like to be a freedom seeker.
The Beall-Dawson House was built in 1815 by Upton Beall, a wealthy man who served as Clerk of the Court for Montgomery. The largest and most impressive house in Rockville at the time, the brick estate was designed to reflect Beall’s wealth and status and provide a home for him, his wife and three daughters. Following Beall’s death, his daughters continued living in the house for the rest of their lives. The house was then owned by the Dawson family and eventually the Davis family – the latter helped with the house’s restoration in the 1940’s. Then in the 1960’s, it was purchased by the City of Rockville and converted to the Montgomery County Historical Society’s headquarters. Today, the house still contains most of its original architecture, including the indoor slave quarters, and serves as a museum of life in 19th Century Rockville.
The home Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, for the last 15 years of her life. Originally a Red Cross warehouse building constructed in 1891, it was remodeled in the “Steamboat Gothic” Victorian architectural style and became Clara Barton’s permanent residence and national headquarters of the American Red Cross in 1897. She occupied the house until her death in 1912.
Local history full steam ahead at the Gaithersburg Community Museum! Located in the B&O Rail complex in Olde Towne, the Museum’s indoor/outdoor interpretive spaces provide hands-on learning centers for children that spark the imagination and exhibits that explore Gaithersburg’s rich history. Ever-changing weekly activities and monthly programs make the Museum an interactive space for all ages.
Glen Echo Park is a lively visual and performing arts site dating back to 1891. Initially home to a Chautauqua program dedicated to providing the “masses” with opportunities for education and recreation, by 1900 the site had become a popular amusement park, in operation until 1968. Part of the National Park Service since 1971, Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Inc. oversees art, history, and recreation programs in a unique setting.
A unique cable ferry in operation since 1786. A popular crossing point for troops during the Civil War, it was known as Conrad’s Ferry until being renamed after Confederate Col. Elijah Veirs White. The automobile ferry crosses the Potomac River between Poolesville and Leesburg, Virginia every 20 minutes.
Stories of the Underground Railroad are rich and rooted deep into Montgomery County. The multitude of historic sites and experiences located across the county make it a choice destination for history buffs or visitors looking to understand the trials, tribulations, and heroism of the freedom seekers.