Historic Rock Ford Plantation

May 18, 2016

Historic Rock Ford Plantation The Historic Rock Ford Plantation in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is a must-see attraction for the history lover. This plantation is the preserved 18th century home of Edward Hand, who was Adjutant General to George Washington during the American Revolution. Currently, the Historic Rock Ford Plantation stands on 33 acres surrounded by Lancaster County Central Park. Here are just a few reasons why you need to make a visit to the Historic Rock Ford Plantation during your stay at the Historic Smithton Inn.

History of General Edward Hand

The Historic Rock Ford Plantation belonged to General Edward Hand, who was born on December 31, 1744, in Ireland. He was a member of the British service placed in Fort Pitt in America, but resigned from those duties in 1774 and came to Lancaster to practice medicine. In July of 1775, Hand joined the Continental Army as Lieutenant Colonel of the 1st Battalion of Pennsylvania Riflemen. He led the troops at Long Island, Boston, White Plains, and Trent, moving up the ranks to serve as Adjutant General to George Washington. After the war, he served in the Congress as well as the Pennsylvania General Assembly and was elected to Burgess of Lancaster.

History of Historic Rock Ford Plantation

The Historic Rock Ford Plantation was purchased by Edward Hand in two segments, the first 160 acres in 1785 and last 17 acres in 1792. Standing on the banks of the Conestoga River only one mile to the south of downtown Lancaster, the Historic Rock Ford Plantation was named for a place for fording the river, which featured many rock outcroppings. At the time, the land served as a working farm, with fields, orchards, and livestock. Hand even cultivated a particular strand of plum, which was named after him.

In addition to the main mansion, there was also a tenant house, springhouse, two barns, and numerous outbuildings on the property. On July 5, 1771, George Washington was invited over for tea at the Historic Rock Ford Plantation, which later was an asset to the plantation’s initiation on the National Register of Historic Places. By the 1950s, the plantation was threatened by demolition, but in 1958, the Rock Ford Foundation was established to restore and maintain the property. The Historic Rock Ford Plantation was opened to the public in 1960, and restoration was completed in 1964.

Historic Rock Ford Plantation Turned Museum

Today, the Historic Rock Ford Plantation serves a museum, inviting tourists from all over to come visit and take a guided tour. On the tour, you will discover what it was like to live in the mansion and on the grounds between 1794 and 1805. The period furnishings and entire house set-up is reflective of the mansion when Hand died in 1802. Learn about more history, and see what it was like to be a part of refined country living in the early years of America. You can also host your wedding on the beautiful plantation grounds!

After Touring the Historic Rock Ford Plantation

After touring the Historic Rock Ford Plantation grounds or hosting your Historic Rock Ford Plantation wedding, come back to the Historic Smithton Inn, under a half hour away in Lancaster County. Enjoy a restful night’s sleep, and wake up to a refreshing morning breakfast. For more to do in the area, download our free vacation guide!