Rural History Festival to present agriculture development in area

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

WELSH RUN — Visitors to the Conococheague Institute can explore the 30-acre historic Rock Hill Farm to experience the agricultural development of the area from 1730-1935 during the Sept. 12 and 13 Rural History Festival at Rock Hill Farm, 12995 Bain Road.

The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13.

The cost is $5 per car. Bus tours are welcome with pricing available by calling 717-328-3467.

Have you ever wanted to know how to write with a quill pen, how flax and sheep's wool become clothing, or the basics of Native American agriculture? These skills and many more will be demonstrated throughout the weekend as the Conococheague Institute shares the story of Rock Hill Farm, which was actively farmed from 1730 - 1991.

The event will include living historians, domestic life demonstrators, colonial children's games, craft vendors, music and food. Entertainment highlights will be an 1850s medicine show by Faire Wynds Entertainment, complete with flea circus and fire eating.

Scheduled talks include the topics of regional barn types and tape weave looms that were used to make straps, tapes (a period term for what we'd call ribbon) and other narrow woven goods. The presenter of the loom talk is Mara Riley, expert in 17th and 18th century clothing.

The 30-acre site includes some original structures dating back to the mid-1700s and new buildings that were constructed using old materials salvaged from local sites. Each of the major buildings will be open for interpretation of pre-Revolutionary War era and early farming by the settlers; the American War of Independence and how that affected farming; the 1820s and the effect of the Industrial Revolution on rural communities; and the Civil War to the 20th century and its changing effect on horses and other domestic animals.

Genealogists, expert or novice, will find a treasure trove in the Institute's 8,000 volume library, which will also be open during the festival.

For more information call, 717-328-3467

About the Institute

The Conococheague Institute serves as a regional center for developing and fostering awareness, understanding and stewardship of the cultural and natural history of the Appalachian frontier of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. We strive to achieve our mission through education, research and preservation.

Local people pronounce the Native American word “Conococheague”: CONICA (rhymes with "Monica") JIG (like the Irish dance). In 1822, Conococheague was defined as meaning, “long indeed, very long indeed.”

Headquartered within Rock Hill Farm, a well-preserved historic farmstead was established in the early 18th century in southern Franklin County, near the village of Welsh Run. The 30-acre site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes two historic house museums with outbuildings, a research library, two relocated historic log structures, a replica Eastern Woodland Indian village, walking trails with access to a pioneer cemetery and several historic gardens.

The Conococheague Institute is grateful for the support of sponsors: Franklin County Visitors Bureau, Visit Hagerstown, Smith's Implements - John Deere, Mercersburg Academy, Leighton Wolffe and Jim Rogers.