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Frederick County Council Designates First Rural Historic District in the State

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Frederick County established the first locally designated rural historic district in the State of Maryland this week when the Frederick County Council authorized the Peace & Plenty Rural Historic District at their April 4, 2023 meeting. The district, roughly bounded by Detrick Road, Old Annapolis Road, Green Valley Road, and Old National Pike, was designated to the Frederick County Register of Historic Places.  

“The Peace and Plenty Rural Historic District is a wonderfully intact rural landscape that illustrates our agricultural heritage in the eastern part of Frederick County,” County Executive Jessica Fitzwater said. “The land was protected under existing agricultural easements and now the historic buildings are protected with the County Register district designation.”

In a letter sent to the County Council, Preservation Maryland’s President and CEO, Nicholas Redding stated, “The addition of the Peace and Plenty Rural Historic District is an important step forward for Frederick County and the State of Maryland, as this will be one of the first rural historic districts locally designated with design oversight in the state. This addition will preserve and protect historically important rural resources and stunning landscapes that have a deep historical significance to Frederick County and Maryland.”

The Peace and Plenty Rural Historic District consists of 10 historic parcels with structures dating as early as 1760 through 1940. The district had a continuous role in the periods of Frederick County’s rural agrarian intensification through the industrial-urban dominance period. The houses, barns, and outbuildings are all excellent examples of the evolution of farm life and architectural preferences over the period of 1760 to 1940. 

“Peace and Plenty Rural Historic District is a rich visual history of agriculture and architecture in Frederick County,” said Amanda Whitmore, Historic Preservation Planner. “The property owners within the district desired to protect their historic structures and came together to unanimously nominate their farms.” 

Locally designated rural historic districts do not exist in the State. The Maryland Historical Trust identifies historic properties and districts, but their identification carries no regulation authority. The National Register of Historic Places includes rural historic districts as well however, listing on the National Register does not include design review oversight. Properties designated at the local County or City level are reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission for proposed exterior changes. 

“We are excited to have Frederick County be a model to other jurisdictions in the State of Maryland for local designation of rural historic districts,” said Steve Horn, Director of the Division of Planning and Permitting.

For more information on the County Register of Historic Places, visit FrederickCountyMD.gov/HistoricPreservation.

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