Category Archives: Montgomery County, Maryland

Sanctified Sisters of Colesville: The Hidden History of Commonwealth Farm

"A Sanctified Sisterhood," The Washington Times, April 6, 1902, section three, pp. 1, 4.
“A Sanctified Sisterhood,” The Washington Times, April 6, 1902, section three, pp. 1, 4.

Watch: “Sanctifed Sisters of Colesville: The Hidden History of Commonwealth Farm” (YouTube)

Learn the hidden history behind a feminist commune that ran Commonwealth Farm Inn in Colesville, Montgomery County, Maryland from 1903-1947. These savvy business women ran an inn and restaurant that was a popular country retreat for Washingtonians. How did they end up in Montgomery County, and why was their presence forgotten? It’s a fascinating story of women determined to control their own spiritual and economic destinies.

Commonwealth Farm, Colesville, Maryland

Stone retaining wall visible from New Hampshire Avenue. (J. Mangin, January 24, 2021)
Stone retaining wall visible from New Hampshire Avenue. (J. Mangin, January 24, 2021)
Watch: “Sanctifed Sisters of Colesville: The Hidden History of Commonwealth Farm” (YouTube)

Introduction

Late last year, stuck at home, my activities hampered by the pandemic, I found myself intrigued by a posting in a Facebook group.  Someone asked if anyone knew the history behind a stone retaining wall he’d seen on the east side New Hampshire Avenue, while heading north toward Good Hope Road. I didn’t know, but having nothing better to do, I set about to find the answer. I knew I had the research skills; for the past few years, I have scoured photograph archives, land records, digital newspapers, and maps to write the history of the Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery. Even so, when it comes to historical research there are times when, no matter how hard one looks, there’s nothing to go on. But this time, I was in luck. Continue reading Commonwealth Farm, Colesville, Maryland