5 Historical Locations in MoCo That You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

5 Historical Locations in MoCo That You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

Montgomery County is full of historical landmarks and buildings, many of which are well known outside of the county. But for every notable landmark, there are many more that are often overlooked by the public.

We’ve picked 5 of these historical sites that you probably didn’t know existed and are shining the spotlight on them. The criteria is simple: These sites have to be places that, outside of their respective communities, are probably not well known to many MoCo residents.

1. The Madison House (Brookeville)

Photo courtesy of Isaac Donsky

During the War of 1812, as the British burned Washington D.C., President James Madison and his staff fled to Brookeville, where they stayed in the house of Brookeville postmaster Caleb Bentley overnight. For one summer night, Brookeville became the temporary capital of the United States of America, and the Madison House became the temporary White House.

2. The Sandy Spring Underground Railroad Trail (Sandy Spring)
Photo courtesy of Isaac Donsky

While it is well known that the Underground Railroad did pass through many parts of Montgomery County, this section of the trail through Sandy Spring is notable for several reasons. Firstly, the Quakers who owned the nearby farm provided shelter to escaping slaves, and the barn where they stayed is still standing. Secondly, the trail actually connects with another trail that leads to the original Sandy Spring. Finally, the bamboo that is grown on the property is the same bamboo that is fed to the National Zoo’s giant pandas.

3. Ziegler Log Cabin (Hyattstown)

Photo courtesy of Isaac Donsky

The wealthy Ziegler family pretty much owned all of Hyattstown during the 1800s, and the log cabin that was the original home for them still stands to this day, though a newer farm house has been built around it. Archaeological digs have discovered evidence that during the Civil War, the property was used as a camp for both Union and Confederate soldiers, who used nearby Sugarloaf Mountain as a lookout point.

4. The Josiah Henson House (Rockville)

Photo courtesy of the Montgomery County Parks Department

Out of all the sites on this list, this one is the one that people may recognize the most. Josiah Henson was a slave whose life was the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s ground-breaking novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Henson fled to Canada in 1830, where he founded a settlement for escaped slaves. What’s left of the cabin where he was kept in bondage can still be viewed to this day.

5. The Darby Store (Beallsville)

Photo courtesy of the Montgomery County Parks Department

If you’ve ever driven through western MoCo, you’ve probably seen this little corner store before, but never wondered about it. The Darby Store is one of the last remaining general stores built in the early 1900s that’s still standing. The building has been through a lot, serving not only as a general store, but also as a local post office during the 1920s.

By Isaac Donsky

5 Comments on "5 Historical Locations in MoCo That You Probably Didn’t Know Existed"

  1. Great list, I really didn’t know the Darby Store is one of the last remaining 19th century general stores still standing. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kathryn MacKinnon | July 28, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Reply

    Love th Ed history on MOCo! Thanks for this starter list!

  3. Earnest Stanley | July 28, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Reply

    Thank U for including African-American history. You all are one of the only places that touches on it even if it’s not your focus.

    Earnest Stanley

  4. I didn’t know about these sites, and especially the Underground Railroad Trail so close to where I live. I will be visiting some of these places, thank you!!

  5. 1. Madison House is a private residence. Not a public museum/park. 2. Underground Railroad EXPERIENCE Trail cannot be said to have definitely been used as an escape route. Woodlawn may/maybe not UG station. Unknown. Barn museum is great when it re opens. Dr. Palmer was read out of SSMeeting for refusing to free his enslaved . 3. Read Josiah Henson’s autobiography for the real story. Google it. Nice to mention these things, story needs enlargement.

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