News / USA

Claude Moore Colonial Farm Steps Back in Time

Claude Moore Colonial Farm Steps Back in Timei
X
November 28, 2013 7:42 PM
On the outskirts of Washington, there's a place where it seems time has stopped. Claude Moore Colonial Farm is a U.S. national park in McLean, Virginia, which recreates and reenacts life on a tenant farm around the year 1771. The vast majority of Virginians at that time were tenant farmers, who grew tobacco to pay their rent and buy food. VOA’s Madeeha Anwar spent a day on the farm to learn more about American life at the end of the 18th century.
TEXT SIZE - +
Madeeha Anwar
— On the outskirts of Washington, there's a place where it seems time has stopped.  Claude Moore Colonial Farm is a U.S. national park in McLean, Virginia, which recreates and reenacts life on a tenant farm around the year 1771.  The vast majority of Virginians at that time were tenant farmers, who grew tobacco to pay their rent and buy food.  

When you visit the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, you step back almost two and a half centuries, to a time when this part of America was under British Rule.

Life was governed by the rhythms of agriculture. People worked from dusk to dawn - and in the colony of Virginia, spent much of their time growing tobacco.

The U.S. Park Service created the farm just before the 1976 U.S. Bicentennial celebration.  But facilities manager Jon David Engle says it’s now privately operated - unlike any other national park in the country.

“In 1980 the park administration decided that they could not keep the park going and the people who worked here and the group of the volunteers who loved the place so much got to get with the local congressman and worked out an arrangement with the Park Service," said Engle.

The park staff and volunteers portray the Bradleys, who represent one of the families who actually lived in this part of Virginia back in the 18th century.

They gather in the morning to get ready, change into period clothes and start their day.

Everyone has an assigned task. The women go to the kitchen garden where they plant crops for the coming season.

"Right now my girls are working in the kitchen garden. We got Martha the eldest and Sally the youngest. They are planting the fall crops. So things like peas, spinach and lettuce, all sorts of greens, radishes, cabbage that sort of things we are planting right now," said Heather Bodin.

Heather Bodin portrays farm wife "Lydia." She says the farm offers a unique experience for visitors, especially for kids.

"One of my favorite stories was the young man - little boy - who realized for the first time that the chicken that you eat comes from the animal chicken. He had only seen chicken in the packets in the grocery stores. He realized there's a moment where there's a light bulb off his head and you could see him saying chicken is chicken," she said.

The family gathers around the old wooden table for lunch and then Richard Bradley and the children head back to the tobacco field. He pays the landlord in tobacco - about 230 Kilos a year - to lease the land.  

"I must pay 500 pounds [227 kg] of tobacco to my landlord and that’s not a percentage and that’s a set amount 500 pounds. So, if I grow 600 pounds [272 kg], I only have a hundred pounds for me, if I grow 1100 pounds [500 kg], I’ve 600 pounds left over. So, that would be a good year and I could buy my wife any dress and so forth but tobacco must be inspected, it must be weighed, it’s very strictly controlled," said Bradley.

Twenty-first century visitors can experience the 18th century for a few hours, or get a real taste of everyday Colonial life by spending a weekend with the Bradleys. The Claude Moore Farm brings American history alive for hundreds of visitors each year.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid