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Md. Farm Owners Restore A Piece Of History

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WOLFSVILLE, Md. (AP) — Patty and Jeff Hurwitz hope to follow in the tradition of the Grossnickle family and keep their 109-acre Wolfsville farm in their family for at least the next two hundred years.

But she hopes the land never becomes known as the Hurwitz Farm.

“I think it should always be called the Grossnickle Farm,” she said of the land she now calls home. “That’s what we call it,
people around here call it that — some people even still call it Paul and Jenny’s farm.”

The ancestors of current-day Wolfsville Grossnickles had settled in Wolfsville by the third quarter of the 18th century, according to a history of the land compiled by the National Register of Historic Places.

The land remained in Grossnickle hands until it was sold to William Hauermann in 1994. Hauermann divided the land into parcels with the intention to develop, but decided to return to his native New England after his wife took ill, Patty Hurwitz said.

“It was a shame his wife got sick, but lucky for us and the community that the farm didn’t get developed.” she said.

The Hurwitzes bought the farm from Hauermann in November 1995, and rented it out for a time. It sat vacant for a few years before the couple started renovations in 2009.

After about 13 months of work, the couple moved from their nearby home to the Grossnickle place.

“We were on Easterday Road for 30 years,” Patty Hurwitz said.

“We raised our children there — it was hard to leave.”

Fortunately, Jeff Hurwitz said, they did not have to sell their former home and a daughter lives in it today.

“We’re getting ready to hold a big family reunion there,” he said.

The current Grossnickle farmhouse is thought to date to about 1840, Patty Hurwitz said, though there are outbuildings older than that.

“We haven’t been able to figure out if there was an original farmhouse that this one replaced, or what,” she said.

She credits the good shape of the house to the fact that it was lived in and maintained by Grossnickles for all those years.

“There’s family pride there to keep the place up,” she said. “When you live in your parents’ house, you take care of it.”

In addition to the farmhouse, the property contains several outbuildings, including a smokehouse, streamhouse, grain shed, a barn, a small log cabin and a small shed that contains what Patty Hurwitz calls a “beehive” oven.

In its day, it was used to bake bread and pies, she said.

The log cabin is the oldest building on the property. The logs were in surprisingly good condition, so the Hurwitzes had the building rechinked during the renovations.

All of the outbuildings were re-sided to protect them, but the interiors were left as they were in homage to another way of life.

Inside the house, great care was taken to preserve as much of the original home and its trim as possible, Patty Hurwitz said.

Original floors, crown molding, windows and doors were kept when possible.

The couple even gave great thought to where an addition would be placed.

“We deliberately lined up the addition in the back so that when you come down the road and see the farm, all you see from the road is the original stone farmhouse,” Patty Hurwitz said.

The addition includes a kitchen, laundry room, sunny hallways and a powder room.

Bathrooms were added on the second floor as well, given that the house was built without them. An earlier renovation of sorts, while the house was still owned by Grossnickles, saw the addition of a small bathroom on the main floor.

Post-renovation, the Hurwitzes have the best of two worlds.

They live in a historic farmhouse with 18-inch-deep stone walls, laid by hand with the help of horses nearly two hundred years ago.

A modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops and modern bathrooms bridge the farmhouse to the 21st century.

That the Hurwitzes own Grossnickle Farm is serendipitous as far as Jeff Hurwitz is concerned.

He grew up in Frederick, but his parents bought a house in Wolfsville around the time he graduated from high school and
started college.

He never tired of the beautiful view of the farm as he crested Wolfsville Road on the way home.

“This was always a special farm,” he said. “I always loved it.

Even while the farm was owned by the couple and rented out to tenants, it was always his dream to one day live in the special stone house.

 “I think it was Jeff’s dream more than mine, but I capitulated,” Patty Hurwitz said with a laugh.

It was a gift to the community that the Hurwitzes preserved such an important part of the Wolfsville community.

“But it was a gift that we were able to do this,” Patty Hurwitz said. “We wanted to honor the family and their memories,
and we did not want to take away from any of the family heritage –that was really important to us.”

Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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