Uncle Tom's Cabin Still Standing

Uncle Tom's Cabin has been saved from gentrification and/or the wrecking ball, but you can't go in it just yet.

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" was the title of American's first million-selling novel, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852. The cabin was the home of a slave named Josiah Henson, who was Stowe's inspiration for the title character of her book.

Josiah's slave cabin used to be on a 3,700-acre tobacco plantation. 3,699 of those acres have been turned into subdivisions and office parks in this upscale suburb of Washington, DC. All that's left is the cabin, an attached 18th century house, and the acre of land on which they stand. In January -- after the 100-year-old owner died -- they were purchased by the Montgomery County Planning Board for $1 million. Josiah would have been dumbstruck.

The cabin is empty at the moment, at least until the county can scrape together funds for a period furnishings, an historical marker, and a post card rack. But you can pull into the driveway and take pictures. It's in Rockville, Maryland, about a mile north of the I-270 eastern extension, on the southbound side of Hwy 187/Old Georgetown Road -- a six-lane highway -- just south of Tilden Lane. Look for the house number, 11420.

If you want a slave cabin attraction that you can walk into, visit the Uncle Remus Museum in Eatontown, Georgia.

October 2010: After spending another million dollars on the cabin -- in addition to the million that was spent to buy it -- Montgomery County has learned that it isn't Uncle Tom's Cabin after all. It's a kitchen, and it was built around 20 years after Uncle Tom left. The County has been calling the site "Uncle Tom's Cabin Special Park," but may now change it to "The Josiah Henson Historic Site (formerly Riley House/Uncle Tom's Cabin)."

11420 Old Georgetown Rd, Rockville, MD
Northwest of Washington, DC. Take the eastern extension of I-270, just north of the I-495 Capital Beltway. Exit north onto Hwy 187/Old Georgetown Rd. The cabin is about a mile north, on the southbound side, just south of Tilden Lane. Look for the street number.
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