The Monocacy Battlefield National Park consists primarily of three farm properties, the Worthington, Thomas and Best farm properties. I’ll cover the Worthington house in a second post. What makes this special is the extent of original preservation of those three homes which were on the battlefield at the time of the fight, and in relatively original condition, with the same outbuildings and dependencies that were on the properties. You go to visit Monocacy, and you’re seeing nearly exactly what the Union and Confederates saw 150 years ago, although with more trees.
The Thomas farm had a large manor house on the property owned by a wealthy gentleman farmer from Baltimore who had acquired the property as a country home to escape the heat and humidity of the big city.
Changes made to houses always leave signs. The face of this house used to have a porch that spanned the width of the house, on both the first and second floors, and the second story windows were once full-length doors like the first floor windows. These would have been very useful in the days before central air conditioning to help catch a breeze in the summer. Also, the third story dormer windows are most likely 20th century additions, as is the decorative arch over the front door. The house itself was occupied by private owners into the 1960s at least, and now is used by the Park Service for meetings. While you cannot tour inside the house, the interior is in stable if not terribly original condition, which you can see through the windows.
The grand allee out front leads down to the Georgetown Pike (today known as Route 355 or Rockville Pike). It may have been a bit less dense in 1864, but it would have looked generally similar at that time. What a wonderful way to approach your home, isn’t it?
The Thomas farm is still a working farm – they have a herd of cattle, and crops are planted and harvested out of the fields. The barn itself is the same structure that was present in 1864 at the battle. The round silo is NOT original, as round silos did not show up until the first decade of the 20th century.
Another view of the silo.