CHURCH CREEK — The Applegarth Tubman Medicine Hill Preservation and Education Foundation has announced that it has received a grant in support of its Medicine Hill preservation project from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Bartus Trew Providence Preservation Fund.
According to a news release, the grant will support the Applegarth Tubman foundation’s efforts to preserve and restore the historic 196-acre Medicine Hill rural farm complex, including its 15 buildings, in Dorchester County. The complex is situated on the Honga River south of Church Creek not far from the recently established Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Museum.
Grants from the Bartus Trew Providence Preservation Fund are designed to encourage preservation at the local level by providing money for the acquisition, maintenance, and preservation of landmarks and memorials on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The late Bartus Trew, a longtime resident of Chestertown and owner of the historic Providence Plantation in Kent County, provided a gift to the National Trust for Historic Preservation which established the preservation fund.
Paul Applegarth, president of the foundation, said receiving the grant was an important milestone for the project, confirming Medicine Hill’s significance and helping with other potential donors.
The Medicine Hill property has a significant history, having been in the Applegarth and Tubman families for more than 200 years, the release states. Both families have played key roles in Dorchester County’s history and in the county’s political, religious and business development.
Eight generations of these families are buried at the nearby St. Mary Star of the Sea church and in a family cemetery at St. Giles Fields, both of which date from the 1700s.
The site is now so threatened by the effects of rising waters of the Chesapeake Bay, storms and time, that the Maryland Historical Trust has included it as among its list of most endangered historic properties, according to the release.
The Applegarth family recently created the nonprofit Applegarth Tubman Medicine Hill Preservation and Education Foundation to preserve the historic site and plan for its future to benefit the public.
With plans to implement a multi-pronged project and to become a model for best preservation practices, the foundation hopes other challenged historic rural properties in the Bay watershed region will benefit.
“The National Trust is honored to provide a grant to help preserve this important part of our national heritage. We are very supportive of this worthwhile project. The Medicine Hill project was selected from a large number of qualified applicants competing for a very limited amount of funds,” said Paul Edmondson, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Bartus Trew Providence Preservation Fund grants enable local groups to respond proactively to a preservation challenge by providing funding for property acquisition, bricks and mortar preservation and technical assistance, while building public awareness of the value of preserving the Eastern Shore’s unique heritage, the release states.