In the past two centuries, agriculture in Montgomery County has undergone a series of changes. Many of those changes are reflected in East Oaks, the sprawling farm in Poolesville.
When the National Register of Historic Places added East Oaks to its list of historic properties, the report not only mentioned the stately Federal-style home but also noted its place in Montgomery County’s agricultural development.
“East Oaks is significant . . . for its association with the history of agriculture in Montgomery County,” wrote the historic preservation officer who prepared the report. “The complex of buildings represents agricultural development over a period of more than a century.”
Agriculture in Montgomery has shifted from self-sufficient grain and livestock farms to mechanized agricultural production. Later came an emphasis on dairy farming as well as horse breeding and training.
The part of Maryland where East Oaks is located was not settled until more than a century after the first settlements in Southern Maryland. When land for planting tobacco became scarce in the southern part of the state, speculators pushed north to the wooded land on the upper Potomac River.
East Oaks was originally part of a 3,000-acre plantation called Killmain. In 1812, Ludwick Young II purchased 1,645 acres, and he and his wife moved to Killmain with their six sons and two daughters. Young was a successful farmer who introduced advanced agricultural techniques to the area.
When he died, his property was divided among his eight children. Henry Young built East Oaks around 1829 on the land he received. He also constructed sandstone slave quarters, a stone bank barn and a stone dairy — all of which are still in existence but used in other ways. One of the two tenant houses is a frame-and-log construction. Its oldest part may have been on the property before the main house was built.
Young owned 10 horses, seven dairy cows, 69 pigs and 33 beef cattle. He grew a variety of grains (wheat, corn and oats) as well as vegetables (potatoes, beans and peas). According to the 1850 Agricultural Census, Young was a fairly typical if somewhat prosperous farmer for his time.
When Young died, his widow and his son Henry Young Jr. continued to live in the home and operate the farm. From 1862 to 1863, Union troops occupied the woods in a corner of the property.
East Oaks remained in the Young family until 1909. The farm went through a couple owners before Daniel J. Callahan Jr., a Riggs Bank executive, bought it in 1942. He raised cattle there until the 1980s.
When Alan Weintraub owned the farm, his daughter, actress Lisa Ann Weintraub, married actor Michael Bucklin there. According to a 1985 Washington Post article about the wedding, the couple met when they starred in the off-Broadway play “The Good Sport.” The current owners breed and train thoroughbred horses at the farm.
The Federal-style home has been added on to over the years but possesses a high degree of integrity and sophistication with original moldings, floors, doors and mantels. The reddish brown sandstone used to build the house’s foundation and the slave quarters is reportedly the same as what was used to build the Smithsonian Castle.
“East Oaks is a beautifully maintained, outstanding example of the houses of this period in this area,” wrote the historic preservation officer.
The farm has expanded over the years, adding a three-car garage, swimming pool and a second tenant house. The dairy barn was converted into 12 horse stalls. The indoor riding ring has a EuroXciser.
The four-bedroom, five-bathroom, 5,384-square-foot home on 156 acres is listed at $3,875,000.
Listing agent: Cindy Souza, Long & Foster
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