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Life from the past
This fine old brick structure at 135 West Washington Street in Hagerstown is the headquarters of the Washington County Historical Society. It is said that the main structure of the house was built for William Price, a prominent young attorney, who acquired the property in 1823. The mansion is a typical town house of the late Federal period. Upon entry, guests are greeted with a spacious entry hall dominated by a breath-taking (original) spiral staircase rising gracefully to the third floor. There are several bedrooms with furnishings from the 1850-1870s.
Peter Bell, Jr. built the oldest section of the existing house in 1818. Peter Bell was a potter, who was working on the site as early as 1804. He made redware pottery that is classified as being part of the Shenandoah Valley pottery group. Peter Bell had eight children, among whom were John, Samuel and Solomon Bell. They were all very important Shenandoah Valley potters. John worked mainly in Waynesboro, PA and Samuel and Solomon worked together in Strausburg, VA. The Miller House has an important collection of Shenandoah Valley pottery, including works by three generations of the Bell family.
Exhibits include papers and historic items of the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. As well as more than 200 clocks including Hagerstown and Frederick tall-case clocks, and antique dolls representing all major 19th century European manufacturers.
The Miller House Library contains many early documents and church records of Washington County.
The garden, containing old varieties of roses and other flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables, is gradually being developed and has been created as a memorial to the late Victor Davis Miller, III, President of the Historical Society from 1966-68.
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