Ever since a fateful state report on Pennsylvania in fifth grade, my family has gone on a number of history-related vacations. Many of these have been to sites associated with the US Civil War (That report I mentioned had a paragraph on Gettysburg and that is what started this whole thing). Our first stop this year was Ferry Hill Place.
Ferry Hill was the childhood home of Henry Kyd Douglas, a member of Stonewall Jackson’s staff. Over the years, the home has been used as a restaurant and as a National Park headquarters. In May 2012, new exhibits opened to show the estate’s history and role in the Civil War.
Exhibits took us through four of the rooms of the house. Displays included signs, banners, snippets of original documents and a small area for children to explore uniforms. I could learn about the families that once called Ferry Hill home, the land, and preservation at the estate.
Ferry Hill was pretty quiet when my family visited so that gave me plenty of time to read and to take photographs of the house. If you have a chance to visit a historic site, one thing I recommend doing is talking to staff and volunteers. It can be fascinating to learn what items on site are original, ongoing studies, threats to buildings, etc. The student I talked to was very informative. I learned the large column porch on the house is actually from the 1950s and not original to the house.
You can learn more about Ferry Hill Place on its National Park Service site.