BRECKNOCK PARK - LOCATION / FACILITIES / HISTORY
Historical Narrative of the Landscape and Architecture of Brecknock Park
The land which now includes Brecknock Park was first granted to Alexander Humphrey in 1680. The proximity to the Isaac Branch water source provided the opportunity for milling operations. Owners such as John Clayton Jr. and the partnership of Joshua Gregg and Thomas Hanson operated a grain mill on the property. In 1812, Thomas Hanson Howell, a grandson of the previous owner, obtained title to the property. Mill operations continued with changes made in machinery as technology advanced. Descendants of the Howell family owned the property until the late twentieth century.
Main House and Outbuildings
The main house was built during four major construction periods beginning in the eighteenth century through the late nineteenth century. The house is constructed of brick and frame. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Few of the outbuildings once associated with the farm survived. A nineteenth century barn of vertical siding standing south of the main house provided space for animals on the first floor and hay storage above. A twentieth century garage is also on the property. Kent County Orphans Court records describing the property note a log barn and shed stables in 1791 and two stables, a carriage house, and three corn houses in 1808.
The tenant house was built in the late nineteenth century perhaps to house a farm manager or agricultural laborers for the farm or mill. The balloon frame construction with Victorian style details creates a two-story dwelling.
The spaces surrounding the houses would have been used for fields, pasture, gardens, and woodland. Historic photographs show a tree-lined driveway leading east toward U.S. Route 13. Other missing elements on the landscape are fences to divide the space and additional buildings.
Howell Mill Nature Center
Renovation work has transformed this granary into meeting and storage space. Vertical batten board siding and a metal roof were typical materials used in the construction of agricultural outbuildings.
Howell Mill and Millpond
The mill building is no longer standing. Archaeological remains of this structure can be observed from the nature trail. A 1851 insurance policy with the Kent County Mutual Insurance Company describes the mill as a two story frame building, thirty feet by thirty five feet, on a brick footing.