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  • 7204. Ferry Hill Stop 4

    If walls could talk, what stories would they tell? As you’ve walked around property to this side of the house, we hope you’ve noticed the architecture of Ferry Hill. The original house built by Blackford around 1812 included this rear brick section you now see. The families who owned Ferry Hill lived in the front portion of the home and in the rear, there was a dining room, kitchen, and an upstairs that served as quarters for Blackford’s and Douglas’ slaves prior to the Civil War. As you look out onto the lawn, imagine soldiers camped about during the war. If you look to your left, toward a more modern garage that was added in the 1950s, you will be facing east and looking in the direction where previous outbuildings including the original slave quarters, smoke house, wood storage, and laundry were located. Justbeyond the current building were a very large fenced-in garden and an orchard. When Henry Kyd Douglases sister came to live here, she and her children would be the sixth generation of the same family that lived in Ferry Hill. By 1917 Nannie’s son, John Kyd Beckenbaugh would bring his family to live at Ferry Hill. Beckenbaugh had also been engaged in the military prior to moving here, the same as Blackford and Douglas. Many changes were made to the house during the Beckenbaugh time. One of the first additions is the enclosed sunroom you see on this porch. Originally, the front of the house was separate from the rear and could only be accessed bywalking outside. Until his death in 1940, Beckenbaugh served as the superintendent at Antietam National Battlefield. While at Antietam, he saw the transfer of the battlefield from the War Department to the National Park Service. Beckenbaugh was instrumental in saving many historic properties on the battlefield and creating new roads. During his tenure, he worked with groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy to develop monuments to honor Confederate soldiers and established a permanent memorial at the headquarters of Robert E. Lee. Prior to Beckenbaugh serving at the Battlefield, only Union Memorials had been established. At just eight years old, Beckenbaugh’s grandson, Jack, came to live at Ferry Hill Place to seek better air for his asthma. Until his passing in November of 2013, Jack worked at Ferry Hill as a volunteer for the park. He shared personal narratives of his memories with many guests. Jack remembered hauling milk cans by wagon down to the Shepherdstown Pike to be picked up by the dairy truck and other days when he would put on his grandfather’s old sweater and floppy hat and head out to help him with the pigs. Around the 1940s, the Beckenbaughs opened a restaurant at Ferry Hill in the back section of the home. Later in 1954, they would sell the restaurant to Fred Morrison who had worked at the restaurant. Morrison expanded the restaurant by adding the addition you see now with white siding. He also created an addition on the other side of the home for the restaurant and bar. Ferry Hill Restaurant was a very popular spot, especially for students from across the river at Shepherdstown College. Morrison eventually sold the property to the National Park Service in 1974 but occupied the home until 1979 at which time the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal made Ferry Hill their headquarters. In 2002, the headquarters was moved into Hagerstown, MD which left the building to be used as an exhibit space.