Update of Josiah Henson Renovation Project

Update of Josiah Henson Renovation Project

Did you know the Pike District/White Flint area is the home of an important and fascinating piece of our nation’s history?

Josiah Henson Park is the former plantation property of Isaac Riley where Reverend Josiah Henson was enslaved. This park is a historic resource of local, state, national and international significance because of its association with Reverend Henson, whose 1849 autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s landmark novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The Park contains the historic Riley/Bolten House (1800-1815) and its attached log kitchen (1850-51). The Josiah Henson Park is part of the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program.

The Josiah Henson Park is a 3.34-acre park located at 11420 Old Georgetown Road in the Luxmanor Community of North Bethesda. The goal of the current renovation project is to create a museum dedicated to telling the story of resilience and perseverance in overcoming slavery, based on the detailed words and experiences of Josiah Henson – enslaved in Montgomery County for much of his life.  The museum will reopen later this year.

The renovation project, now under construction, includes:

  • the conversion of the historic Riley/Bolten House into a public museum,
  • the construction of a new 2,900 SF visitor center with a bus-drop off the area and a three-car parking lot on the former Rozier property, and
  • the installation of exhibits that educate and interpret African American History in Montgomery County, including a first-person narrative of Josiah Henson.

Amy Ginsburg

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