Searching for Curators to Care for Historic Houses in Cecil and Harford Counties in Exchange for Lifetime Leases

Old Bohemia Tenant House: Photo Credit: Maryland DNR

Press Release – Maryland Dept. of Natural ResourcesCitizens interested in becoming curators to the Old Bohemia house in Cecil County or the Stephenson property in Harford County are invited to join the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for one of its open houses. The estates are available for restoration under the Department’s Resident-Curatorship Program, which matches up historic properties with people interested in restoring, maintaining and periodically sharing them with the public in return for the right to lifetime tenancy.

“This program is great because it helps preserve these beautiful, historic landmarks, while allowing the curators to reap the rewards of their hard work by living in and enjoying the property,” said Emily Burrows, manager of cultural resources and curatorships for DNR.

The Old Bohemia Tenant House open houses will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on September 30 and October 27 at 300 Church Rd in Warwick.

Located on the grounds of the Old Bohemia Wildlife Management Area in Cecil County, the Old Bohemia Tenant House was built c. 1840 as a dwelling for tenant farmers who worked the adjacent farmland. The house, along with St. Francis Xavier Church and Rectory, were part of the much larger Old Bohemia plantation (established around 1704) that eventually consisted of a saw mill, wharf, blacksmith shop and brick kiln, among other buildings and points of interest. Currently surrounded by agricultural fields, the house has many early period elements such as early woodwork and flooring. The original brick kitchen floor is also intact beneath more contemporary wooden floorboards. Although not finalized, the area of the curatorship lease is a little larger than an acre.

The  James Stephenson House open houses will be held from 10 a.m. to 2  p.m. on September 29  and November 3 at 737 Craigs Corner Rd in Havre de Grace.

Stephenson House. Photo Credit: Maryland DNR

Located within Susquehanna State Park, the Stephenson House is significant because of its ties to the 18th century Darlington community and because it retains many of its original and unique features. In addition to having unaltered early woodwork and flooring, it is unusual for a house of this age not to be brick or stone, and its telescoping layout is also unique. While the main focus of the restoration will be the house, the outbuildings are historically important, and must be preserved as part of the curatorship. Preference will be given to proposals from non-profit organizations with missions keeping with that of DNR.

Resident curatorships help ensure the long-term preservation of historic buildings at no cost to the State of Maryland. Curators, who can be individuals or organizations, pledge to restore and maintain the historic property and outbuildings in exchange for a lifetime lease on these State protected lands. The program has helped preserve more than 50 historic buildings on State park land for over the past 30 years.

The properties will only be available to the public during open house events. For more  information on these properties, citizens may visit  dnr.state.md.us/land/rcs/index.asp or contact Emily Burrows at eburrows@dnr.state.md.us or 410-260-8457.

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