Montgomery County Executive denies access to “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” archaeology reports

After spending more than $1 million to buy a building oral tradition suggested was the “real Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Montgomery County paid an archaeological consultant to conduct research at the property to identify intact archaeological resources to assist in interpreting the property. Last year I requested copies of the archaeology reports that the consultant produced. Funded by county, state, and federal dollars, the archaeological research was undertaken to complement Montgomery County’s plans to develop the property as a new heritage park.

Screen capture of Montgomery County Parks Department Josiah Henson Park master plan Website with maps showing archaeological excavation locations. Captured Nov. 1, 2010.

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Montgomery County, Md., Josiah Henson-Uncle Tom’s Cabin Links Roundup

A new page aggregates links to blog posts and news stories about the Montgomery County, Maryland, park originally called “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”: Josiah Henson and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” links roundup.

Please leave your suggestions for additions in this post’s comments field.


Montgomery County Council responds to “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” blog post

Yesterday, I received the email quoted below from former Montgomery County Council president Nancy Floreen in response to my blog post on Montgomery County employees writing letters to the editors of local newspapers on behalf of private citizens. Continue reading

A Cabin’s Tale: The two sides to Montgomery County’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Shortly after the Washington Post published its article on Montgomery County’s purchase of the property long believed to be the “real Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” the National Trust for Historic Preservation published a blog post reporting on the Post story. Titled, “Preservation Round-Up: Snafu! Edition,” the National Trust’s post was roundly criticized by Montgomery County preservationists. On November 30, 2010, two Montgomery Preservation, Inc., officers wrote a guest blog post for the National Trust for Historic Preservation titled, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Beyond History and Interpretation to the Internet.” Continue reading

Montgomery County employees working on PR, not parks, letters to newspapers show [updated]

Updated December 2, 2010

Montgomery County residents see a bleak future for vital public services and amenities due to an evolving budget crisis. Over the past several weeks, we have learned that public safety jobs may be cut and that revenues continue to disappoint county leaders. So in times that demand austerity, I wonder why Montgomery County officials believe we have the resources to undertake a public relations campaign to promote the development of the park formerly known as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”? Continue reading

Montgomery County wants to spend $5 million on Uncle Tom’s Cabin

The Montgomery County Planning Department will hold a work session next week on the proposed Josiah Henson Special Park master plan. Today, the Montgomery County Parks Department posted its staff memo to the Planning Board detailing its cost estimates to develop the park. Parks Department staff estimates that it will cost between $3 and $5 million to implement the option recommended at the October 28, 2010 hearing. Continue reading

Montgomery County refuses to release “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” records

The Montgomery County Parks Department has spent more than $100,000 on historical and archaeological consultants to do research at the Josiah Henson Site (formerly known as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”). Except for the archaeology reports, you can read all of the consultants’ work at the park’s website. If you want to read about the archaeology done at the site, you are out of luck. Continue reading

Were MoCo and MD State government officials and the press duped in 2006 about the real “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”?

International media attention — from CNN, NPR, the New York Times, the Times of London, and others — was focused on Montgomery County, Maryland, in the winter of 2005-2006 as the county bought what it thought was “the real Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Five years and nearly $2 million later, the Montgomery County Planning Board is holding a public hearing Thursday October 28 at 7:00 PM to take testimony on proposed Parks Department plans to develop the property formerly known as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and to formally change the park’s name by removing the “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” label.

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Unmaking Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Updated)

In 2006 Montgomery County, Maryland, received international attention for purchasing a 19th century farmhouse that oral tradition suggested was the original “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The county paid $1 million for a little over an acre in suburban North Bethesda. Now, four years later the county is holding community stakeholder meetings to map out the future of what officials are now calling The Josiah Henson Site. I recall the excitement surrounding the announcement that the legendary material link to American literary and social history would be “saved” from land hungry developers gobbling up Montgomery County real estate. Continue reading