Nicole A. Diehlman
Old Forge Farm
Clopper Road, Hagerstown, Washington County
The house at Old Forge Farm is a two-story, three bay stone dwelling built in 1762 as recorded on a date plaque set in its south gable wall. A long, two-story, five bay addition extends to the rear or east of the main section. The entire house is constructed of roughly coursed fieldstone with slightly more careful cutting in evidence at the front section. Several vertical seams in the walls reflect early additions or alterations. One seam on the south wall marks the joint between the two sections. On the north wall of the addition is a distinct seam just east of the west bay. Between this seam and the main section is an arched door head, the opening having been filled with stone. Windows on the front section and the upper story of the addition have 6/6 pane double hung sashes, with the lower story openings of the addition having 6/9 lights. The main entrance is located in the middle bay of the front elevation, and is simple in appearance. A more elaborate entrance with a fanlight over the door is located in the west bay of the south elevation of the ell. Its decorative pediment is said to be a reproduction of the original. Other entrances are located variously in the east and north elevations. The roof of the entire structure is covered with slate. Plain boxing finishes the eaves of the main section while a course of simple molding has been applied to the eaves of the addition. The main section has a large central flue. A second flue, also large, is located between the second and third bays from the east end of the ell. In addition to the house, a stone end barn and stone shed, and a stone tenant house are located north of the dwelling. The barn is in fair condition and dates to the late 18th or early 19th century. The shed may have formerly had a different use, and the original sections are just the two stone walls. The stone tenant house is a 19th century structure that has been modernized.
The front section of the Old Forge house is particularly important as one of the oldest dated dwellings standing in Washington County. Built in 1762, before the close of the French and Indian War, the house was certainly one of the most substantial dwellings in the area of that date. The structure, with its steeply pitched roof, small, irregularly spaced windows, and its central flue, reflects its 18th century building date. The ell to the rear or east of the main section was probably added before 1800. The house and farm received the name of Old Forge from the nail forge the Hughes family ran nearby. Nothing remains from the Antietam Forge site, but it was one of a number of forges located in Washington and Frederick Counties and nearby Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although the forge itself does not survive, its existence is marked in its connection with the house in which the ironmaster lived.