Have you ever seen the Molly Bannaky house and wondered how old it is and who lived there? Have you ever had a picnic in the Banneker orchard and wondered about the names of the fifty types of fruit trees? Thanks to a grant from Patapsco Heritage Greenway, donations from community members, the Benjamin Banneker Foundation with the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum, two interpretive signs that delineate the history and significance of these two prominent features will soon be installed.
Constructed in the 1850s, the Bannaky house is the most prominent feature on the Park and Museum property and is symbol of the Oella’s enduring history. Beginning as just a one room house, the Bannaky house steadily grew with time as several families called it home. Upon learning about the legacy of Benjamin Banneker and his property, Baltimore County purchased the house and 42.5 acres the surrounding property to establish the the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park. The house was later restored in 2004 as an office complex. It is listed on the Maryland Historical Trust Inventory of Historic Properties.
Did you know Banneker was a beekeeper? Recognizing the symbiotic relationship between fruit trees and honey bees, Banneker undoubtedly used his orchard not just for food but also for harvesting honey and wax to make candles and other household supplies. Today, the Banneker orchard contains approximately fifty native and heirloom fruit and nut bearing trees and is a living demonstration of how Banneker subsisted on his property. It is also a conservation and recreational area for dwindling bee populations and local community members respectively.
Look for the two signs in late May to learn more the orchard and the Bannaky House!