Frederick Douglas Home Site open for Family Fun Day
Sunday August 5, 2012, I was present at the Family Fun Festival held at the Fredrick Douglas Historical Site. The planned summer events are apart of series that the National Park Service offers to bring in more public attendance to historical lands. While free and open to the public, this renovated home is located on a massive hill, attached are park service officals who provide guided tours along with a small muesem and gift shop. Tours and lectures on the site incorporate the history of a man who was first to purchase a home in the area after being freed from slavery.
The life of Fredrick Douglas was one of the most influencial of any educated Aferican American in his time. The preservation of Cedar Hill, as the home were named, began in 1962. Originally Fredrick Douglas purchased the home for approximately $6,700 in 1877. At the time, this value would equal $1.3 million in today's economy. He lived on the barren, suburban land upon a hill for only 17 years until 1895. At age 77 he died of a massive heart attack inside of his dinning room. The National Park Service began to currated this site with efforts to restore and preserve it in 2004. Final construction was completed in 2007. The total cost paid by tax payers is $2.7 million. This site remains open every day of the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. along with a gift shop.
This event invited local federal city government, entertainers, and civil war portrayer along with history buffs of all ages. An official "Lion Rode" was directed by WABA, the Washington Area Bicycle Association, and incorporated support of Capitol Bike Ride Rental. This event honored the nickname given to Fredrick Douglas as the "Lion" of the Anacostia neighborhood. Soul in Motion Players, Inc. demonstrated live African Drums on the doorsteps of the house itself. Lectures from the 54th Massachusetts Regiment gave insight upon the role Fredrick Douglas gave on being an inspiration for slaves to seek their freedom. In fact, 2 of Mr. Douglas' 21 grandchildren fought in the Civil War alongside another 209,000 African American soldiers. This even educated the public and provided an up close look into how this legendary historical figure led his life.
The tours of the home itself start at the bottom of towering hill. Looking upward at the cascading staircases is like peering into the clouds. Upon reaching the front door, one will see Minerva, the Greek-Roman Goddess of Freedom and Liberty. It is placed as a door knocker to a door that can only be opened by a single skelton key. The modestly lavish decorated 4 story home holds 21 rooms and measures in at 6,000 plus square feet. Yet for most visitors the bottom floors, with considerable contained ropes, is only open for viewing.
Walking inside, tours are guided to the left of the door, showing the undisturbed East Parlor. A rarely hand-crafted rocking chair carved with detailed stories on the sides is on display. This was a gift from the people of Haiti, and listed as one of Mr. Douglas' prized possessions. Adjoined is the study where he would have spent 4 hours a day in devotion reading and writing. Upon the walls are large portraits of President Abraham Lincoln and Ms. Stanton, two important civil rights leaders. Following the hallway around, will lead into the largely portioned self chores area. This home holds its own food storage, laundry room, kitchen, and separate back entry apart from the celler's outer staircase. This design indicates a sophisticated purpose of space.
For the time era in which Cedar Hill was in existence the overall comfort it provided was first class. Once a lecturer at the University of New York in Rochester, Fredrick Douglas was rewarded by a bust in his image. It is now one of the many replicas which now lives in the homes West Parlor. This historical site, which includes many moderations from the home's state during Douglas' ownership is kept for public viewing to honor his accomplished life. To learn more about the Fredrick Douglas Historical Site, please visit the following sites:
This article was originally written by myself, Jenia Silver. I was in attendence t the Famly Fun Day in Washington DC. The photos seen here are also taken by myself.