High In The Blue Ridge


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Archaeology at Catoctin Mountain Park, focus on historic settlement. Presented at Society for Historic Archaeology Conference (2012)

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High In The Blue Ridge

  1. 1. High in the Blue RidgeArchaeology and the Historic Landscape atCatoctin Mountain Park Study conducted for: National Park Service, National Capital Region Conducted by: The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Gregory Katz, RPA
  2. 2. Catoctin SAIP Study• Survey of 2,700acres out of6,000 (45% ofpark)• Identified 119new sites• Phase IIevaluation of 9sites
  3. 3. Appalachians Great Valley Catoctin Potomac R.
  4. 4. RuggedLandscape Abundance of rocks, trees, and streams Shortage of flat, tillable land, and open pasture Big influence on area’s history
  5. 5. Living on the Mountain Small farms Lumber industry Support trades (e.g. blacksmithing, shopkeeping) Tourism Moonshining
  6. 6. Rocks: the Native Landscape
  7. 7. Rocks: Thin Soils Variable across park, but generally quite thin and stony Not well- suited for most forms of agriculture
  8. 8. Streams Two large streams: Owens Creek and Hunting Creek Good mill seats
  9. 9. Forest Composition is mostly oak Eastern part of park was chestnut prior to the blight Used for timber and for fuel - charcoal
  10. 10. Catoctin Furnace 2 miles from park  Operated ca. 1775-1903 Burned local charcoal Employed teams of colliers Catoctin Mountain provided wood
  11. 11. Life on the Mountain: Farmsteads Small with diverse production Strong “Dutch” influence (Palatinate/German and Swiss descent) Income from produce and timber products Participated in a very local economy
  12. 12. 18th & Early 19th Century Farms Crops were grains and vegetables Small plots Parcels vary greatly in size Active farmland was 4-5 acres per farm
  13. 13. Small Farms ca. 1810
  14. 14. 18th & Early 19th Century Farms Log and stone houses  Some sheds, root cellars, and small barns  Often banked- dug into a hillside Ike Smith Farm ca. 1937 (CATO tract file 93)
  15. 15. Mid-to-Late 19th Century Farms More livestock and pasture land Corn, grains, and orchard fruit Active farmland grew to 35 acres per farm, on average
  16. 16. Farms ca. 1913
  17. 17. Stone Field Walls Unplanned and gradually accumulated Found along field edges and property lines
  18. 18. Terrace Garden Site
  19. 19. Terrace Garden Site: History Possibly part of 1773 patent, iron prospecting Owners mostly of German descent; farmers  Creager family (1796-1830s)  Series of owners (1830s-1870)  Wilhide family (1870-1937)
  20. 20. Terrace GardenThe Farm at Acquisition(1937) Crops House Pasture Wooded CATO tract file 111
  21. 21. Terrace Garden The Farm at Acquisition (1937)Wilhide Farm ca. 1937 (CATO tract file 111)
  22. 22. Terrace Garden: Redwares
  23. 23. Sawmill HouseSite
  24. 24. Sawmill House Site: History Patented in 1797 Probably settled ca. 1800 by Ignatius Brown Browns were farmers and possibly millers Sawmill operated until the late 1890s
  25. 25. Sawmill House Site The Farm at Acquisition (1937) Schatzer Farm ca. 1937 (CATO tract file 109)
  26. 26. Sawmill House Site: Ceramics
  27. 27. Horse TrailOasis Site Horse Trail Oasis
  28. 28. Horse Trail Oasis Site: History Land was patented in 1782 House probably built ca. 1850 as a tenancy  James, Joseph, and Isabella Prior; laborers Owned by the Buhrmans from 1874-1915; farmers House destroyed prior to 1911
  29. 29. Horse Trail Oasis: Sample Artifacts
  30. 30. Horse Trail Oasis: Tobacco Tags
  31. 31. Acknowledgements•Stephen Potter, NPS-NCR•Mel Poole, Holly Rife, Jeremy Murphy, andBecky Loncosky, NPS-CATO•John Bedell, Charles LeeDecker, LisaKraus, and Jason Shellenhamer•Field crew: Jen Babiarz, ChelseaBorchini, Robin Kuprewicz, JackieMaisano, Mary Patton, Tiffany Raszick, EmilyWalter, and Brian Wenham
  32. 32. Late 19th & Early 20th Century Farms Frame houses, often with stone foundations  Larger barns and sheds Charles Brown Farm ca. 1937 (CATO tract file 92)