Gaithersburg Then and Now

 

History of Crown Farm in Gaithersburg, Maryland

By Shaun Curtis


Fields Road and Crown Farm, circa 1978

 

On February 14, 1870 Edward S. Hunter and Annie V. Magruder were married in Montgomery County, Maryland. The United States Census of 1870 shows the Hunter's living in District 4 of Montgomery County, which includes the land at 9800 Fields Road in Gaithersburg. Edward Hunter is listed as a farmer. The log structure, located behind the main farmhouse, may have been a tenant house during the Hunter family ownership of the land.

On July 10, 1888, Edward S. Hunter sold his land to Charles E. England and Hattie E. England. The England family can be traced to this vicinity of Maryland back to 1753, when General Jeremiah Crabb owned 2,085 acres in this area of Montgomery County. Crabb served in the Revolutionary War and was at the Battle of Valley Forge. His daughter, Elizabeth Ridgely Crabb, married Thomas Howard, and they had a daughter named Emily. In 1830, Emily married a prominent lawyer named John England. They had a daughter, Harriet, born in 1838. Hattie England is listed on the Hopkins Map of 1894 as owning the main dwelling and it was around this time that the house was built.



On January 25, 1910, Charles E. England sold his land to George F. Garrett and Ada E. Garrett. Eight years later, on December 31, 1918, the Garrett’s sold their land to Forrest F. Crown and Ruby O. Crown. The Crown family transformed the farm into a successful dairy farm and constructed the majority of the remaining outbuildings on the property. The England-Crown farm served as a meeting place for local farmers in the area and the Shady Grove Grange may have been established here. Documents show efforts to construct a grange house, which never materialized.



Charlie Oliver Crown, son of Forrest and Ruby, was born on August 1, 1926. He worked his entire life at the farm and was a member of the Maryland and Virginia Mile Producers Association. He died on December 15, 2004 and Crown Farm was sold to developers for $137,000,000.

On May 29, 2011 a fire consumed the dairy barn, hay barn, and milk house. Currently, the property consists of the main farm house, a log building that predates the main house (ca. 1850s), the smoke house, corn crib barn, storage shed, and two silos. The log building was recently dismanteled and recontructed by the City of Gaithersburg.

Today, Downtown Crown is a mixed use development that consists of nationally recognized retailers, local market restaurants, homes, shops and services.