WHY DOES CECIL COUNTY NEED A FARM MUSEUM?
Agriculture was and is still the backbone of the county's economy. Glance at early maps from the late nineteenth century and you'll se it is dotted with farms throughout and gristmills located along all the major creeks. Sadly, many farms are being lost to development. In addition, many of our young people have no idea about the origins of their food outside of the grocery store. The CCFM hopes to bring the agricultural experience, through historical presentation, to our young people. Older adults will appreciate our vision to bring a glimpse of "the good old days" back for a brief visit.
A working farm museum within the county will help educate the community on the importance of agriculture and its preservation. The museum will also serve as a focal point to display important local historical artifacts important to this area. The museum will also help to attract tourists to the area giving them another reason to extend their stay within the county.
THE MUSEUM'S HISTORY
A Cecil County Farm Museum Committee was established in 1997 with support from State Delegate David Rudolph and a group of 13 interested people including Walt Mason, Phyllis Kilby, Earl Simmers, Jerry England, David Reed, David Wilson, Bud Moore, Paul Gray, David Mackie, Jerry Webb and Jim Yerkes. An Old Time Farm Day was held in conjunction with the Cecil County Fair which later expanded to a weekend and still continues to this day. On July 15, 1998 the first donation of $1.00 was made by Earl Simmers to open up a bank account for the group. Jerry England personally built a sled for being used for Tractor Pulls. Betty Moore produced a hand painted sign with logo that is still in use today. The group began to regularly meet at Calvert Grange and began to develop plans for opening a Farm Museum. In 2000, Jerry England offered Jerry's Auto in Rising Sun as a temporary place to house museum artifacts and the group became a 503(c)3 non-profit organization. Paul Gray also established a website for the group. September of 2000 saw Norman Astle and Phil Johnson join the Board of Directors and Henry Mason come on as Treasurer.
In 2002, land was offered by the county on Elk Mills Road to establish a permanent location for the museum. New directors Tom Jarrell, Ben Haines, and treasurer Betty Boyle became an integral part of the group. In October 2003, the group began making Apple Butter as an annual fundraiser. By the end of 2004 the group had 136 members. Fundraising continued with Apple Butter, the Cecil County Fair Silent Auction, the Cecil County Farm Bureau Auction and the generosity of many donors as well as grant acquisition. By 2010, despite an enormous effort from membership and friends of the group, the plan for a permanent location on Elk Mills Road proved unsuccessful. In 2013 the Farm Museum was offered the old farm buildings that stood on the newly purchased land that would become the new Cecil County School of Technology. Members began developing the former Hoagland Gates - Broadlands Farm. Building restoration was begun and the barn was turned into a permanent museum location as well as meeting room. An additional pole building was built in 2019. Work continues to get the museum fully operational. After much blood, sweat, and tears, we hope to open the museum to the public in June 2021.