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Derwood in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Hay Drying Shed

Rockville's King Farm Farmstead Park

 
 
The Hay Drying Shed Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, October 1, 2019
1. The Hay Drying Shed Marker
Inscription.  William Lawson King and his family moved here in 1925. For over 60 years this property was part of their dairy operation, which was the largest in the county with 450 registered Holstein cows. At this farm, over 100 cows were milked twice daily, 365 days a year. The remaining farm buildings help us understand this 20th century industry in and around the City of Rockville.

How it works

The Hay Drying Shed is a simple pole barn. The gas furnace that was key to its operation is enclosed at the far end. Hay drying is a step in hay production, an important winter source of protein for the dairy cows. Fresh hay was loaded onto wagons in the fields and brought here. Channels in the floor guided the wagon wheels to their position under a ceiling hatch. Each hatch was outfitted with a canvas cover that dropped from the ceiling over the load of hay.

Ten wagons could be processed at a time. When the gas-fired furnace was turned on, a powerful blower sent hot air into the attic, through the ceiling hatches to the canvas covers over the hay-laden wagons. Drying time varied with the Hay Heated Air Hay condition of
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the hay.

Hay fires!

The machinery was used to reduce the drying time for the fresh hay and could compensate for surprise rains during the harvest. But it was most important to help avoid hay fires that were common within six weeks of storage if there was excessive moisture in the hay.

Too much moisture supports bacteria growth that can generate heat and start a fire. Many historic barns have been lost because of hay fires. Farmers try to assure a low moisture content (25%) before the hay is stored for the winter. At the King Farm, hay was stored in many different buildings, including the lofts over the two large dairy barns.

City of Rockville
Of Recreation & Parks
Historic District Commission
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureNotable Buildings.
 
Location. 39° 7.101′ N, 77° 10.457′ W. Marker is in Derwood, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Grand Champion Drive near Piccard Drive. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1101 Grand Champion Drive, Rockville MD 20850, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Garden (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bechtel (approx. 0.7 miles away); Near This Spot Lived and Lies Buried Jeremiah Crabbe
The Hay Drying Shed Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, October 1, 2019
2. The Hay Drying Shed Marker
(approx. 0.9 miles away); Gaithersburg (approx. 1.4 miles away); Summit Hall Farm Smokehouse (approx. 1.4 miles away); Summit Hall Farm (approx. 1.4 miles away); DeSellum Family Cemetery (approx. 1˝ miles away); Welcome to Washington Grove (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Derwood.
 
How it Works image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, October 1, 2019
3. How it Works
The Hay Drying Shed was designed to guide hot air around the fresh hay to dry it out before stacking for the winter.
Close-up of image on marker
Holstein Cows image. Click for full size.
4. Holstein Cows
The Holstein cows come in from the fields for the afternoon milking. Milking was done twice each day, at 4 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Close-up of photo on markers
Map image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, October 1, 2019
5. Map
All the agricultural buildings face the farm lane.
Close-up of map on marker
AAA Weather Vane<br>on the Dairy Barn image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, October 1, 2019
6. AAA Weather Vane
on the Dairy Barn
The triple A of the American Angus Association on the barn weather vane marked a commercial shift from Holstein dairy cows to Angus meat cattle in the late 1960s.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 2, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 241 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 2, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 1, 2024