MHT File Photo
Carroll County Almshouse and Farm
500, South Center Street, Westminster, Carroll County
The Carroll County Farm Museum consists of a complex of 15 buildings including the main house and dependencies. Most of these are original; two, however, are new structures and two are rebuilt from old materials. The most prominent of the buildings is the 30-room brick main house, around which the others are arranged. Originally designed and constructed for use as the county alms house, it is a long, three-story, rectangular structure, nine bays wide at the first and second floor levels of both front and rear façades. The main entrance of both elevations is located in the fourth bay in from the west end; a centered door on the second floor levels opens onto what were once the galleried roofs of the one-story farm porches. The nine eyebrow windows just below the roof cornices frame casement sash of 2/2 panes; the remaining windows have flat arches and frame sash of 6/6 panes. The gable roof is covered with tin and a single flush chimney stands at each end of the ridge. Centered on the roof is a simple frame cupola sheltering a farm bell. A separate building set at a right angle to the main house now houses the original summer kitchen, wash room, and baking room, and may have once housed farm and domestic help. It is a two-story brick structure containing 14 rooms and has a recessed two-story galleried porch across its west side, the last regionally characteristic architectural feature. In addition to these two buildings, there is also a brick, one-story dairy with a pyramidal roof dominated by a pointed finial of exaggerated height with Victorian Gothic "icing" decorating the eaves; a large frame and dressed stone bank barn of excellent quality and one of the better examples of its era and type in the region. a blacksmith's shop, springhouse, smokehouse, icehouse, and numerous other sheds and dependencies of various and sundry types, all in good repair and all used as a part of the working farm museum activities.
The Carroll County Farm Museum's significance is twofold; the preservation of the original Carroll County Almshouse founded in 1852 and the creation of the Farm Museum established in 1965 as a tribute to the great agricultural heritage of the County and the State of Maryland and as a monument to those early pioneers who created this great enterprise. The Museum is a working farm with many fine buildings that rank among central and western Maryland's best examples of pre-Civil War farm architecture. Each of the farm outbuildings has been utilized to display antique tools, and vehicles or to demonstrate crafts of yesteryear. With the exception of the log cabin, the museum remains much as it did in the 1850 period.