Historic Rock Ford

Historic Rock Ford Historic Rock Ford, the home of Revolutionary War General Edward Hand, stands near the Conestoga River, approximately 1 mile south of Lancaster City.
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Historic Rock Ford is the preserved 18th Century home of Edward Hand who served as Adjutant General to George Washington during the American Revolution. Today, Rock Ford is comprised of 33 acres at the southeastern edge of Lancaster City surrounded by Lancaster County Central Park. The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places and is recorded in the Historic American Building Survey. Rock Ford is widely considered to be one of the most important examples of Georgian domestic architecture surviving in Pennsylvania and the most intact building predating 1800 in Lancaster County. The mansion’s elegant rooms are furnished with an outstanding collection of period furnishings and decorative arts.

Operating as usual

Historic Rock Ford usually ends its tour season on October 31. However, we are excited to announce that this year's tour...
09/10/2020

Historic Rock Ford usually ends its tour season on October 31. However, we are excited to announce that this year's tour season has been extended through Sunday, November 22!

Tickets may be purchased at rockford.yapsody.com.

We look forward to seeing you!

This October, we welcome you to come and discover the rare opportunity of being in the Historic Rock Ford mansion after ...
08/27/2020

This October, we welcome you to come and discover the rare opportunity of being in the Historic Rock Ford mansion after dark. Will you experience the presence of those who, in life, inhabited these rooms? Our Board President, our Executive Director and our Curator will be leading intimate, after dark tours of the mansion in which they will share some of the many legends and accounts of ghostly activity at Rock Ford over the centuries. Some of the content that will be shared is of an unsettling nature which is not for the faint of heart. Consequently, this tour is not recommended for children.

Each tour will be limited to eight adults so early reservations are advised to avoid disappointment! For details and reservations, please visit www.rockford.yapsody.com. Tickets are selling fast for this exclusive opportunity! Tickets are $25 and will include an 18th century inspired hot buttered rum served by the outside fire following your tour. (Non-alcoholic cider also available.)

Historic Rock Ford will not have a 2 pm tour time on Friday, August 28. We apologize for any inconvenience to our visito...
08/26/2020

Historic Rock Ford will not have a 2 pm tour time on Friday, August 28. We apologize for any inconvenience to our visitors.

Thinking about visiting Historic Rock Ford during the months of September and October? Our ticketing information for tou...
08/05/2020

Thinking about visiting Historic Rock Ford during the months of September and October? Our ticketing information for tours during these months is now available!

www.rockford.yapsody.com

07/20/2020

Dear Rock Ford Foundation Members and friends,

We hope this finds you well. As we are sure you know, Rock Ford has been in the news recently and we want to take the opportunity to fill you in on a few key points that were not fully fleshed out in the articles on line or in the paper. In all cases, our participation in these stories was in response to requests from members of the media to provide statements on various topics related to current events.

First, it is important to understand that we continue to bring the story of General Edward Hand to the visiting public. Whether these visitors are out-of-town tourists, local folks, special interest groups, or school children, our guides are passionate about sharing the history of Edward Hand and of the times in which he lived.

Through the example of this one man, we are provided opportunities to learn and connect with others about Lancaster in the 18th century, the War for Independence, the foundation of our Republic, early medicine, politics, architecture, agriculture, family, and more. Edward Hand also opens the door to the topic of slavery, a tragic part of American history that was not often discussed when Rock Ford opened to the public in 1960.

Hand owned enslaved people throughout his residency in Lancaster. Research that has been ongoing for the last ten years has shed light on these individuals and the institution of slavery in Lancaster County and we have been incorporating this research into our tours and programs ever since. The addition of this information in no way demeans or disparages the positive contributions of Edward Hand. Instead, it allows us to better understand the full man as a flesh and blood human being who embodies all the complexities, paradoxes, and failings of our nation's founding. It also brings to the fore the contributions of an entire population of enslaved individuals who allowed Edward Hand and his contemporaries to succeed in their endeavors and helped to build the United States through their forced labor.

Rock Ford history is not being erased. It is being enhanced by adding more layers to the narrative. It is our job to honestly and thoroughly tell these stories to the best of our ability so that our visitors may draw their own conclusions about their history and how it influences us today. We will never attempt to minimize Edward Hand's positive contributions nor will we neglect to say that he was a slave owner. We will continue to search for information that will inform us about every aspect of life at Rock Ford and the museum will be its most interesting and meaningful when we can tell about all the people who lived and worked there.

We invite you to reacquaint yourself with Edward Hand and his household by exploring the Rock Ford website. Read the document titled "Completing the Picture: Slavery and Servitude at Early Lancaster County" located under the new tab labeled "Research." You will also find more information about current events including a description of the
re-branding process we are undertaking in anticipation of the opening of the John J. Snyder, Jr. Gallery of Early Lancaster County Decorative Arts which was delayed due to COVID-19 related shutdowns.

These times of upheaval and national disharmony underscore that our past is as relevant today as it has ever been. It is starkly clear that the teaching and understanding of American history are vital to the advancement of our society and to the functioning of our Republic. Even as we move forward, our past shapes our present and our future and is inescapable. As stated by F. Scott Fitzgerald in the closing sentence of The Great Gatsby, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

Thank you for your support of Rock Ford's educational mission. It has never been more important.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns.

Sincerely,
Pamela Stoner, Board President

Samuel C. Slaymaker, III, Executive Director

Sharing this interesting post from History of Lancaster Rediscovered about John J. Snyder, Jr.
07/16/2020

Sharing this interesting post from History of Lancaster Rediscovered about John J. Snyder, Jr.

John J. Snyder, Jr., a preeminent antiquarian with a particular interest in 18th- and 19th-Century furniture, clocks, and architecture, was a fixture among the Lancaster history scene for many years.

Snyder was instrumental in several local organizations including President James Buchanan's Wheatland, the Heritage Center of Lancaster County, and the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County. The graduate of Dickinson College authored and co-authored several books and articles about his passion -- local antiques and architecture.

One of his key books was the now popular "Lancaster Architecture 1719 - 1927" booklet. Published in 1979, the 36-page booklet gives an excellent, and brief, synopsis of local architectural styles found in the Garden Spot. One can often find a copy at local book sales and used book stores; autographed copies are harder to find.

On November 20, 1979, Snyder held a book signing at the Barr-Hurst Book Shop. This autographed copy was bequeathed to History of Lancaster Rediscovered several years ago to be cataloged in our extensive private collection and library.

Snyder died in 2014 and left a void within the local history scene that will be very hard to fill. At his bequest, his extensive antique collection was divided among several local historical organizations including at Historic Rock Ford, which will soon open the John J. Snyder gallery.

Remember to Like, Follow, and Share History of Lancaster Rediscovered's page as we rediscover Lancaster's history and heritage.

#rockfordplantation #historyoflancaster #discoverlancaster #lancastercity #architecture #hansherrhouse #homes #antiques #tallcaseclock #lancasterpa #figlancaster

In addition to being open Tuesday through Friday for reserved tour times, Historic Rock Ford is delighted to announce th...
07/13/2020

In addition to being open Tuesday through Friday for reserved tour times, Historic Rock Ford is delighted to announce that we will be open for tours on select weekend dates beginning Saturday, July 18. Visitors may check available dates and times through our box office and purchase their tickets in advance at www.rockford.yapsody.com.

Admission: $10 adults; $8 seniors (65+), $8 youth (6-17) and no charge for children 5 years and younger.

Historic Rock Ford is now open for limited tours. All guests must purchase their tickets in advance through www.rockford...
07/07/2020

Historic Rock Ford is now open for limited tours. All guests must purchase their tickets in advance through www.rockford.yapsody.com.

We look forward to welcoming you at Rock Ford!

07/04/2020
Tickets for tours at Historic Rock Ford for the month of July are now available! Please visit our Yapsody page for detai...
07/01/2020
Historic Rock Ford Mansion Tour at Historic Rock Ford tickets on Yapsody.

Tickets for tours at Historic Rock Ford for the month of July are now available! Please visit our Yapsody page for details on tour requirements and to make a reservation. We look forward to seeing you!

https://rockford.yapsody.com/event/index/577896/historic-rock-ford-mansion-tour

Historic Rock Ford presents Historic Rock Ford Mansion Tour - Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Buy Historic Rock Ford Mansion Tour tickets at Yapsody.

06/24/2020

To: Ms. Edith Gallagher, Board President School District of Lancaster
Re: Edward Hand Middle School name change
From: Rock Ford Foundation, President of the Board of Trustees Mrs. Pamela Stoner
Date: June 23, 2020
Contact: [email protected]

Rock Ford fully supports the rights of the School District of Lancaster to name or rename its schools to reflect the needs of the community and its students.

As educators and museum professionals, we hope that any decision that is reached follows a thorough study of Edward Hand's life and times and that students take part in this research. Further exploration should include the histories of persons after whom other schools are named including George Ross, George Washington and James Buchanan, for example. We recommend that this includes a study of the
people who would be affected personally and economically by this change.

After a great deal of research over a period of years we consulted with the African American Historical Society of South-Central PA to develop our interpretation of
the enslaved at Rock Ford and in Lancaster County. We welcome the opportunity to share this research with students and community members.

Rock Ford is committed to telling the full story of Lancaster’s diverse population during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and invites everyone to join in our efforts to give voice to enslaved and often unnamed individuals who worked
invisibly in the homes, fields and industries of Lancaster.

We are excited to announce that Historic Rock Ford will be opening for limited tours beginning Tuesday, July 7, with tou...
06/23/2020

We are excited to announce that Historic Rock Ford will be opening for limited tours beginning Tuesday, July 7, with tours at 10 am, 12 pm and 2 pm. The mansion will remain closed for tours on weekends.

All visitors must purchase their tickets in advance through Rock Ford's Yapsody page. Details and ticket links will be coming soon!

Come celebrate at Historic Rock Ford with our brand new Micro Event package. Covid-19 kept us apart, come back together ...
06/22/2020

Come celebrate at Historic Rock Ford with our brand new Micro Event package. Covid-19 kept us apart, come back together on our beautifully historic property with an intimate affair that will allow you to safely celebrate with those you love the most. Contact our rental coordinator for more details at [email protected].

#microwedding
#intimateandhistoric
#togetherisbetter
#weddingsatrockford

Happy Father's Day from Historic Rock Ford!#weddingsatrockford#rockfordplantation #fathersday2020
06/21/2020

Happy Father's Day from Historic Rock Ford!

#weddingsatrockford
#rockfordplantation
#fathersday2020

Historic Rock Ford's cover photo
06/18/2020

Historic Rock Ford's cover photo

Our latest Insider's Guide by Executive Director Sam Slaymaker tells a story from Rock Ford's past.https://conta.cc/2UNO...
06/15/2020

Our latest Insider's Guide by Executive Director Sam Slaymaker tells a story from Rock Ford's past.

https://conta.cc/2UNOsmC

Rock Ford, an Educational Improvement Organization, sincerely thanks UGI for its generous support of our school programm...
05/28/2020

Rock Ford, an Educational Improvement Organization, sincerely thanks UGI for its generous support of our school programming!

Learn more about a Hand descendant's family heirloom in this next Insider's Guide written by our curator Sarah Alberico!...
05/25/2020

Learn more about a Hand descendant's family heirloom in this next Insider's Guide written by our curator Sarah Alberico!

https://conta.cc/3cWiGeq

Find out more about General Edward Hand's field desk in our first "Insider's Guide to Rock Ford" written by Director Sam...
05/14/2020

Find out more about General Edward Hand's field desk in our first "Insider's Guide to Rock Ford" written by Director Sam Slaymaker.

https://conta.cc/3fEb81w

Rock Ford is waiting for the day when we can open our doors once again to the public. Thank you for bearing with us duri...
05/13/2020

Rock Ford is waiting for the day when we can open our doors once again to the public. Thank you for bearing with us during these difficult days. Brighter days are ahead, and we hope to see you soon.

#historicarchitecture
#historichousemuseum
#rockfordplantation
#lancasterpa
#discoverlancaster

Today, we are sharing another page from the Rock Ford coloring book that was created in the early 1960's by noted Lancas...
05/09/2020

Today, we are sharing another page from the Rock Ford coloring book that was created in the early 1960's by noted Lancaster County artist Florence Starr Taylor. Several years ago, Rock Ford reproduced this vintage coloring book from the original printing. Copies of the new printing are available in the Rock Ford museum shop.

This page depicts the Hand family gathering in the first floor main hallway of Rock Ford in preparation for going to church at St. James in Lancaster.

These pictures are the objects that were in our recent coloring pages. The photos are of a taper jack for melting sealin...
05/08/2020

These pictures are the objects that were in our recent coloring pages. The photos are of a taper jack for melting sealing wax, a foot warmer or foot stove for holding hot coals, a warming pan or bed warmer, a porcelain covered deep bowl for storing a variety of foods such as sweetmeats, ginger, nuts, etc., and a candle stand used for reflecting light.

Today, we are offering coloring pages of some items that would have been used by General Hand and his family. Can you gu...
05/06/2020

Today, we are offering coloring pages of some items that would have been used by General Hand and his family. Can you guess their uses? We will post photos of the actual items soon!

If you love history, what better time could there be than now to enjoy listening to a series of three podcasts about Roc...
05/04/2020

If you love history, what better time could there be than now to enjoy listening to a series of three podcasts about Rock Ford: "Lancaster's Hidden Gem of the Early American Republic."

The series is produced by Heather Teysko, who has one of the longest continuously running independent history podcasts and has been broadcasting since 2009. Although she currently resides in Spain, Teysko grew up in Lancaster where she served as a docent at Rock Ford while in high school. She has retained a strong interest in her former hometown and is enthused about the idea of using podcasting to show how small museums can use this technology to tell their stories to a wider audience.

https://rockfordplantation.org/podcasts/

Another fun activity for the family! This time, we have a Word Search puzzle with items pertaining to the rooms and cont...
04/28/2020

Another fun activity for the family! This time, we have a Word Search puzzle with items pertaining to the rooms and contents in the Rock Ford mansion.

This delightful drawing is from an early 1960's coloring book that was created for Rock Ford by noted Lancaster County a...
04/26/2020

This delightful drawing is from an early 1960's coloring book that was created for Rock Ford by noted Lancaster County artist Florence Starr Taylor. However, the drawing has been slightly tweaked to include some objects that the Hand family would not have had in their parlor. Can you find those objects? After you are done finding the objects, color the drawing, scan your finished page, and share it with us!

Today, we are offering a Word Search on the "Life and Times of Edward Hand." Print out a copy for your child to do, or b...
04/24/2020

Today, we are offering a Word Search on the "Life and Times of Edward Hand." Print out a copy for your child to do, or better yet, print out several and have a competition to see who can find all of the words first!

Today, we share this transcription of Kitty Hand's "Receipt to Cure Gammons" along with a faux gammon on display in the ...
04/23/2020

Today, we share this transcription of Kitty Hand's "Receipt to Cure Gammons" along with a faux gammon on display in the Rock Ford kitchen. The faux gammon was created by Sandy Levins of Historic Faux Foods. Her faux foods have been featured at Winterthur, Mount Vernon, Monticello and other historic sites.

Historic Rock Ford's cover photo
04/23/2020

Historic Rock Ford's cover photo

A "receipt" is an old form that means the same as "recipe." Recipe has been used alongside receipt since the eighteenth ...
04/22/2020

A "receipt" is an old form that means the same as "recipe." Recipe has been used alongside receipt since the eighteenth century in the sense of cookery instructions, gradually replacing it over time.

The image below is "A Receipt to Cure Gammons" that was copied from Kitty Ewing's (later Kitty Hand's) receipt book. Does this receipt look the same as our recipes that we use today? What are "gammons"? Try your hand at transcribing this 18th century receipt! Tomorrow, we will post a transcription along with photos of gammons in the Rock Ford kitchen.

Rock Ford's Curator Sarah Alberico wanted to share this information about a new item in the mansion.When Rock Ford is ab...
04/20/2020

Rock Ford's Curator Sarah Alberico wanted to share this information about a new item in the mansion.

When Rock Ford is able to re-open to the public for house tours, visitors will find a new treasure on display: A Pennsylvania spice chest, circa 1760. This lovely figured maple piece was generously donated to Rock Ford by Rolf Hickman. Although it is referred to as a “spice chest,” the 11 fitted interior drawers could have held anything from expensive spices to knick-knacks to prized items. Unfortunately, Rock Ford’s spice box does not have any hidden compartments or secret panels, which would have enhanced its novelty even more! The placement of the drawers indicates that this spice box was probably made in Chester County, compared to similar spice boxes from the same time period.

While there is no evidence that spice boxes were kept in the kitchen at Rock Ford, it is our hope that ongoing research will determine the most accurate spot for its placement in the mansion. On your next visit to Rock Ford, be on the look-out for which room we have chosen to place the spice box!

The Rock Ford grounds continue to be well-manicured due to the hard work of our groundskeeper, George Rhoades. Even thou...
04/14/2020

The Rock Ford grounds continue to be well-manicured due to the hard work of our groundskeeper, George Rhoades. Even though the office staff is working from home and the museum is closed to visitors, George continues to work several days per week to ensure that the grounds remain in excellent condition and the buildings are properly secured. His diligence is especially appreciated in light of the recent severe storms that impacted our area. We appreciate his dedication in keeping Rock Ford beautiful.

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881 Rockford Rd
Lancaster, PA
17602

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Our Story

Historic Rock Ford was the home of Edward Hand and his family as well as enslaved and free servants and laborers. Edward Hand was Adjutant General to George Washington during the American Revolution. Today, Historic Rock Ford is comprised of 33 acres at the southeastern edge of Lancaster City surrounded by Lancaster County Central Park. The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places and is recorded in the Historic American Building Survey. Historic Rock Ford is widely considered to be one of the most important examples of Georgian domestic architecture surviving in Pennsylvania and the most intact building predating 1800 in Lancaster County. The mansion’s elegant rooms are furnished with an outstanding collection of period furnishings and decorative arts.

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Comments

I'm a descendant of Edward Hand. I recently found this old family photograph from 1894 in Huntington, West Virginia. Proctor & Tully were in business there only a short time, and that's how I arrived at the date. No one knows who she is, and I wondered if anyone there recognizes her. Thank you.
See the Mansion like you’ve never seen it before! Rock Ford in collaboration with the Lancaster Marionette Theatre presents: "Marionettes in the Mansion" https://rockford.yapsody.com/…/3387…/celebrate-twelfth-night Doors open thirty minutes prior to curtain: When you enter the mansion, your coats will be checked at the General’s Office. Then, head down to the Gift Shop for some light refreshments (wine & a colonial beverage called “shrub”). At curtain time you'll be invited into the kitchen and the performance will begin... The audience will be led through several rooms being entertained and educated with marionettes crated by Robert Brock, Artistic Director of the Lancaster Marionette Theatre. He will be joined by Rock Ford Director Sam Slaymaker and Curator Sarah Alberico. The Un-Restored Room has been turned into a small, intimate theatre, where a musical revue will be presented that goes from Mozart to the Beatles and from Rap to Broadway. Marionettes in the Mansion celebrates Dr. Gen. Edward Hand’s birthday and the anniversary of the Battle of Trenton and Princeton in which Gen. Hand saved the day and perhaps changed the course of our Independence. This isn’t a history lesson, but you’ll learn a lot, be entertained, have a laugh and shed a tear. To celebrate 12th Night (the end of Yuletide and the 12 days of Christmas) you will be treated with a take home tasty colonial Queen's Cake. You may also visit the Gift Shop on your way out. This performance takes place on three separate floors, patrons moving via staircase.
This is the place I was talking about re: wedding next year.
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