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Catoctin Furnace Historical Society Accomplishments for 2019



  • Awarded Monarch Waystation grant of 115 native pollinator plants.  Thanks to the Green-walled Garden club for their help.


  • Hosted a table at the AARCH/ LDS Family History Day.
  • Hosted Sixth Annual “In Their Own Voices” to commemorate Black History month.


  • Launched the new website, designed specifically for use on phones and mobile devices. It’s aesthetically pleasing, and most importantly, easy to use.  
  • Received $15,000 Network to Freedom grant from the National Park Service and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. This grant matched our MHAA grant proposal for facial reconstruction of two enslaved individuals from the Catoctin Furnace Cemetery.  
  • Green-walled Garden Club received 1st place award from the Federated Garden Club of MD for their work in the kitchen garden behind the log house.
  • Members attended the Small Museum Association Conference held at College Park. As a direct result CFH,S joined the SMA and the Maryland Museums Association; we also registered with System for Award Management and
  • Forgeman’s House received final approval for all building permits. April
  • Received Preservation Maryland’s Best of Maryland Phoenix Award for our innovative Historic Preservation Building Trades program with Silver Oak Academy.
  • Cemetery Trail work 100% complete. Designer chosen to design the trail waysides.
  • New exhibit featuring concealed clothing found at the Forgeman’s House on display at the Washington County Historical Society.


  • Hosted visitors from the Homewood Retirement Community. We look forward to seeing more groups from Homewood and are grateful for their donation to the society.
  • Successful Maryland Iron Festival 2020 with over 2,200 visitors! Thanks to sponsors First Energy and Visit Frederick, as well as the US National Park Service and DNR.  
  • Elizabeth Comer was featured on Preservation Maryland’s PreserveCast podcast.


  • Members joined in a fond remembrance of CFHS founder Mary Rae Cantwell.
  • Silver Oak Academy and the Green-walled Garden Club planted the pollinator garden behind the log house.
  • Awarded Frederick County Landmarks plaque for the Museum of the Ironworker.
  • Received $8,000 Preservation Maryland Heritage Fund grant for a new hand crimped standing seam roof on the Museum of the Ironworker.


  • Summer issue of National Gardener Magazine featured article about the historic gardening program with CFHS, Silver Oak Academy, and the Green-walled Garden Club.
  • Roof on Museum of the Ironworker completed and HVAC system installed at Forgeman’s House


  • Two MHAA grants received: $17,600 for the Collier’s Log House Rehabilitation and $38,500 for “Forged in Bone: Facial Reconstructions of Catoctin Furnace’s Enslaved Workers.” 
  • $500 grant from the Maryland Museums Association conservation fund for the preservation of the large metal door found during trail construction.
  • Visits by Outdoor Afro Washington, D.C., group, United Way of Frederick County, and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area.
  • Archaeologist for a Day project completed, with 30,000+ artifacts processed.
  • Catoctin Furnace included in Maryland’s Underground Railroad and African American Heritage Travel guide.


  • Hosted CFHS table at the Great Frederick Fair.
  • Awarded the Frederick County Landmarks County Executive’s Award as well as the Community Leadership Award.
  • Completed purchase of blacksmithing tools and equipment, thanks to HCWHA mini grant.


  • Received Maryland State Arts Council Creativity Grant of $3500 for the publication of Catoctin SlaveSpeak, an important collection of narrative poems by Elayne Bond Hyman.
  • Hosted Fallfest, with more than 130 visitors on Friday and 160 on Saturday.
  • Hosted Spirits of the Furnace – once again a success, with more than 80 visitors.
  • Elizabeth Comer spoke to the Myersville-Wolfsville Area Historical Society.
  • Members attended ASWAD (Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora) conference in Williamsburg, Virginia.


  • Hosted FCPS STEM teachers to plan fieldtrips and study programs for 2020-2021.
  • StudioEIS completed forensic facial reconstructions of two individuals. Cheyney McKnight (Not Your Momma’s History) completed a head wrap for the woman.  
  • Hosted 9th annual Traditional Village Christmas.