The Maryland DAR Forest Planting on Fort Frederick State Forest
The Maryland State Society, NSDAR, has had a long-standing relationship with Fort Frederick since the 1920s when we planted a forest that covered 56 acres. Known as The Maryland DAR Forest Planting on Fort Frederick State Forest, it was the first such forest of this kind in America. In 1924, 1149 white pines were planted, one for each Maryland Daughter. Over the next several years, the Maryland State Society, NSDAR, its chapters, and the Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.) continued planting. In the spring of 1929, all 25 DAR chapters combined in planting additional acres and on April 27 made a pilgrimage to the fort. To help with maintenance, booklets entitled "Fort Frederick, an Historical Sketch" were sold for 25 cents each, and postcards were sold, with proceeds going to the upkeep of the grounds. On May 2, 1931, a celebration was held to mark the completion of the work and to turn the forest over to the state. The Frederick Chapter, NSDAR, entertained everyone at lunch on the porch of the warden's house. The Maryland State Society, NSDAR, was awarded the National Society's conservation prize for its work at the fort.
Fort Frederick, a National Historic Landmark, turned 250 in 2006, and the Maryland State Society, NSDAR, commemorated the event with a pilgrimage to the fort. In recognition of the anniversary and our long association with the fort, Maryland State Society, NSDAR, became a life member of Friends of Fort Frederick and contributed to the reconstruction of the officers' quarters, the next phase in the restoration of this 1756 colonial fort.
The original construction of the fort began in 1756 at the outset of the French and Indian War, just after Washington's defeat by the French in western Pennsylvania. By 1758, the fort consisted of two 2-story log barracks, a 2-story log officers' quarters, and a well. In 1777 the Continental Congress once again pressed the fort into service, this time as a prison camp, but later the state sold it at a public auction. The land was farmed until 1922 when the state repurchased it for a state park.
In addition to plantings, in 1930, the Janet Montgomery Chapter, NSDAR, refurbished the well, and in 1934, congress loaned DAR four Napoleon cannons for display at the fort. In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was also active at the fort, stabilizing and rebuilding walls and stone foundations. In the 1990s, the Maryland State Society, NSDAR, continued support of the fort through Trees for Fort Frederick and was once again awarded an NSDAR conservation award. Today, the reconstructed west barrack is furnished as it would have been in 1758 when troops garrisoned the fort and the east barrack serves as an interpretive center for the fort's history. The next phase of restoration is the reconstruction of the officers' quarters.
Of recent interest is the 2006 winning photo in the National Park Service's Imaging our National Heritage Awards contest showcasing National Historic Landmarks. The National Park Service photo contest highlights partnership programs and raises awareness of our nation's most significant historic and natural resources. The winning photo shows the DAR cannon at the fort.
Since 2007, the Maryland State Society, NSDAR, through the efforts of the Conservation Committee, are collecting funds to plant trees at the fort.