Broad Creek encompasses the archaeological site of the first (1691) homestead in the Washington area, the still standing ruins of an early 1700’s manor house; St. John’s Church and cemetery; Harmony Hall Manor; one of the oldest surviving commercial shipping channels in North America; and the oldest integration of Native American, African American, and European Colonial cultures. The Conservancy believes this is a blending story that needs to be told and Broad Creek, so close to the Nation’s Capital, is an ideal place to tell it and encourage related research.
Broad Creek has also been the home of an equestrian lifestyle since its early 1700’s founding. Owning and breeding riding, carriage and racing horses continued through the 20th century and into the 21st. In its early years, Broad Creek had a thriving ship building industry and was an important tobacco inspection and export center. With the silting of the lower Broad Creek and the interruption of the trade during the Revolution, the Broad Creek community eventually turned to truck farming to supply the capital city with fresh foodstuffs.
It is interesting to note that Broad Creek played a role in each of our Nation’s conflicts that involved Washington, D.C. and Maryland. The Conservancy hopes to participate in the design and installation of appropriate interpretative signage throughout the area to commemorate these important events.
The Conservancy and like-minded citizens have long fought against suburban sprawl and inappropriate strip-mall development in and around this historic rural jewel. Because of these efforts, this rural, wooded, waterfront community remains a valuable area for historic, cultural, and ecological preservation and an ideal location for a heritage tourism program. Its location is further enhanced by its proximity to such major tourism venues as Washington, D.C., Mount Vernon, and National Harbor. Broad Creek is a natural gateway for heritage tourism in Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland.