Olde Camden Day to benefit Manor House repair

CAMDEN — The Manor House at Brecknock Park’s right side slants to the right, tour guide Donna Chappell says, and needs to be jacked up.

The walls in some rooms have openings showing the woodwork inside.

There’s a huge hole in one bedroom’s ceiling from water damage, though the roof has been repaired.

Thus, all proceeds from Saturday’s Olde Camden Day will benefit the historically significant Manor House on Old Camden Road. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public, with donations benefiting the Manor House accepted.

“It’s my hope and dream to see it restored in my lifetime,” said Ms. Chappell, adding with a laugh “I’m 80 years old and I don’t know how much more time I have to live.”

Repairs and renovation have been needed for some time now to the brick and frame colonial house, but as Ms. Chappell says “It takes money.”

Grant applications have not yielded results so far, though land owner Kent County Levy Court fixed the roof and has partnered with the Friends of Historic Camden to preserve and restore the house.

The house’s exterior shows well, but the interior elicits an opposite view.

“People say it looks great from the outside and in the street,” Ms. Chappell said. “Then you go in there.”

Ms. Chappell said she knew Elizabeth Goggin, who settled in with her husband Henry in 1944 and began renovating the Manor House for the next two-plus decades while growing grains on what Ms. Goggin simply called “The Farm.”

The original Brecknock Manor House was built between approximately 1685 and 1690, and was the scene of a grist mill operation from the mid-1740s until after World War II, organizers said.

The residence now standing was built in several phases from the 18th through late 19th century, The Friends of Historic Camden said in promotional material for Olde Camden Day.

“I want people to see the house is a crown jewel to our area,” Ms. Chappell said. “There’s a lot of history in the house and the land around it.”

Ms. Goggin willed the Brecknock Manor House to Kent County Levy Court at the turn of the century to be used as a park. The residence is included in the National Register of Historic Places.

A crowd of 200 to 300 attended last year’s event, organizer Donna Reed said, and many were introduced to history they didn’t know beforehand.

“My goal is to always make people aware of what they’re passing by each day,” Ms. Reed said. “It’s incredible how much has gone on (at Manor House) and the history of it makes it a really special place.”

Olde Camden Day will celebrate that history via tours with costumed guides, historic presenters covering the nature of life in the 1700s and 1800s, artisans demonstrating the styles of those decades, among other attractions.

Guided tours of the Manor House will be given in the morning at 10:30 and 11:30, and in the afternoon at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30.

Organizers said food, including hot dogs (benefiting Bowers Beach Maritime Museum) and ice cream (proceeds to the Felton Fire Department) will be available.

More information on the Friends of Historic Camden is available on its Facebook page or by emailing fohcinfo2015@comcast.net.

A complete schedule of events can be found by clicking here.

 

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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