In 1750, Robert Peter, a son of a Scottish Laird came to Maryland and purchased over 1000 acres in Montgomery County. He named the land "Crossbasket" or "Cors Basket" after his family’s estate in Scotland. Part of that land, after passing to his first son, was then sold to Robert Dick in 1825 and the construction of a log cabin soon commenced. That cabin was passed from generation to generation until it was purchased by the Willard brothers, DeWalt and Charles, in 1871. It became to be known as "The Old Willard House", and was listed as a Montgomery County historic structure. (You may have noticed that the road connecting River Road to Poolesville is known as Willard Road, and access to the BCC IWLA is via Izaak Walton Way from Willard Road.) In 1949, the land, the cabin, the smoke house and the spring house were purchased by the BCC IWLA. Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers, restoration continues on the cabin to bring it back to the home it once was. Ironically, the restoration effort was originally led by a BCC IWLA member who is a relative of the Willard family. The family’s descendants still live on property adjacent to BCC IWLA Conservation Farm.
The Cabin, Smoke house, and Spring house
Both the original house and the addition are built upon stone foundations. The original house probably had a dirt floor. It now has a poured cement floor. The addition on the right side of the house has a wooden floor above and a comparatively deep crawl space (probably used as a root cellar). The Willard House originally consisted of a single room (for adults) and attic (for children), with a fireplace and chimney on one gable end. The stone chimney is two stories tall, with consistent stonework from top to bottom. The smokehouses of the time tended to be built quickly and roughly, not only to serve their intended purposes but also to provide shelter while the builders worked on the domestic structures, which took more time on account of their finer craftsmanship. The spring house is a stone structure with wooden roof and door. The last occupant of the Willard House was a caretaker who looked after the properties (including the surrounding land and buildings) in the 1970’s.
Relaxation, Inspiration & Education
We intend to restore the cabin to working order while preserving the character of the original building as much as possible in order to provide an opportunity for the members and families of the Izaak Walton League and their guests to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and learn about the environment. When restored, the Log Cabin will become a focal center for education and information about the BCC-IWLA's woodlands and wildlife.
To participate in the restoration of this Log Cabin, contact Dan Derkics by telephone at 301-938-7479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org - come out and help preserve the past for the future!