The Historic Stoutsenberger Farmstead is a joint project of the Lovettsville Historical Society and the EcoVillage Community Association. The organization seeks to preserve and protect the cultural and natural resources of the Stoutsenberger Farmstead through education, preservation, and conservation. Our goal is to create a space for students of all ages to learn about and do the work of history in order to develop a deeper understanding about the past, the present, and the natural world.
The Historic Stoutsenberger Farmstead was settled by John Stoutsenberger starting in 1793. A veteran of the Continental Army, he was one of a number of German-Americans building a home in the Lovettsville area in the early period of the nation. Over the course of his lifetime he expanded his farm, raised a family, opened a store, and become the postmaster of the nearby town of Hoysville. His life exemplifies the contribution of immigrants to this country and the rise of the common man. His ownership of as many as 14 enslaved African Americans also represents nation’s connection to that “peculiar institution”, a connection which led to the Civil War. During the conflict, the farmstead was owned by George Ritchie a high-profile supporter of secession. While Ritchie did not serve in the military, newspaper accounts accused of kicking to death wounded Union soldiers at the farmstead. He was arrested and held for more than a week. In the post-war years, the farmstead prospered. George Ritchie expanded and upgraded his house and barn. When he passed away in 1905, George Ritchie could look back on a lifetime that witnessed crisis and conflict as well as economic growth and reunion. In the 20thcentury, the farm saw hard times as share croppers scrambled to make a living at the farmstead. The farmstead was auctioned during the Great Depression. When the US Army Corps of Engineers sought to dam Catoctin Creek in the 1970s, the farmstead played a role as one of a number of historic properties that the proposed dam endangered. Ultimately, the dam was not built giving preservationists an important victory. In the 1980s a wave of housing development swept over the Lovettsville area. The architecture of the farmstead served as an example and inspiration of how earlier builders factored environmental qualities into the choice of home sites and the manner of building their homes. These principles guided the architectural design of the development of the new residential community constructed on the farmstead, EcoVillage of Loudoun County.
What remains of the farmstead is a farmhouse, bank barn, a chicken coop, the foundation to a spring house, and a cedar lane located on the edge of the EcoVillage neighborhood. Even with this rich history, the Historic Stoutsenberger Farmstead remains at risk.