For Immediate Release
March 4, 2008
Contacts: Neil Tickner, 301 405 4622 or firstname.lastname@example.org
UM Preserves 1746 Mansion and Slave History
College Park, Md. - University of Maryland experts and students will work to preserve one of the oldest houses in Prince George's County - "Bostwick," a Bladensburg mansion built in 1746 by a prominent merchant and slave importer.
Bostwick is one of only four remaining pre-Revolutionary War buildings in Bladensburg. The building is on the National Registry of Historic Places and is owned by the town. It also served as the residence for the first U.S. Secretary of the Navy.
Under a new agreement, Bladensburg will give the University of Maryland's Historic Preservation Program, part of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, full access to the mansion, its outbuildings and the seven-acre property.The parties signed the agreement today.
"Bostwick provides an extraordinary laboratory for our students and a priceless resource for the community," says Donald Linebaugh, director of the University of Maryland's Historic Preservation Program.
To begin, University faculty and students will conduct a preservation feasibility study, assessing water issues, foundation movement, plaster damage, landscaping and other needs.
The preservation program will have permission to conduct approved restoration work as part of courses, field schools and independent research projects.
"This is more than just a big, old house," adds Linebaugh, who lives in an 18th century laundry house on the property. "Slaves and indentured servants lived and worked here, and their story has yet to be told. I am looking forward to what our historical research and archaeology will bring to light about their stories."
Christopher Lowndes purchased the Bostwick property in the new river town of Bladensburg, built his house and business and eventually acquired over 1,500 acres in the immediate area. He operated a store, shipping company, imported slaves and made ropes.
One of Linebaugh's graduate students is already conducting extensive historical research on the property, and another lives in the main house while she researches the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area, of which Bostwick is a part.
"We want to save more than the building - we want to preserve the cultural landscape of the entire site and town," Linebaugh says. "There are many historic buildings in Maryland that are seriously endangered, and with this agreement Bostwick won't become one of them."
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