National Colonial Farm

4 Historic Sites to Explore in Prince George’s County

National Colonial Farm

National Colonial Farm

DC-area residents don’t have to look far to find historical sites to explore – after all, our area is renowned for monuments, museums and historical homes that take millions of tourists back in time.

And Esplanade residents don’t even have to cross into the District to take in a day of history. Prince George’s County offers quite a few historical sites and homes right in our backyard. The county was established way back in 1696 and is now home to 325 designated Historic Sites, 73 individual National Register properties, and eleven National Register Historic Districts.

If you have friends and family planning to visit you during the upcoming spring months, consider showing them the history that is right in your own backyard. Here are 4 Prince George’s County historic sites worth visiting:

1. Surratt House Museum

Does the name “Surratt” ring a bell? The Surratt family will be forever tied to the assassination of President Lincoln, which you can read about here. This house in Clinton, built as a middle-class farm house for John and Mary Surratt in 1852, served as a tavern and hostelry, a post office, and a polling place. During the Civil War, it was a safe house in the Confederate underground system. Today, the museum focuses on mid-19th century life, the Lincoln assassination conspiracy, and the involvement of the Surratt family.

2. Fort Washington

Fort Washington was first built in 1809 and then rebuilt in 1824 after it was accidentally destroyed. Until the Civil War, it was the only river defense for Washington, DC. During World War I, it was used as a staging area for troops heading to France. It is now part of the National Park Service and open daily; picnicking is permitted on its grounds.

3. The National Colonial Farm at Piscataway Park

This outdoor living history museum depicts life on a typical tobacco plantation during Colonial times. You can visit a circa 1770 farm dwelling, an 18th century tobacco barn, and an out-kitchen. In the kitchen garden, you’ll find 18th century varieties of herbs, flowers, and vegetables, while field crops include “Orinoco” tobacco and “Virginia Gourdseed” corn.

4. The Laurel Historical Society and Museum

Begun as a grist mill on the Patuxent River in 1811, the city of Laurel grew into a company town based on cotton before evolving into the diverse Washington suburb that it is today. The Laurel Historical Society “City of Laurel Walking Tour” which features 49 sites throughout the city and provides great insight into the town’s history (the tour is available at the Laurel Museum).