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Saturday, July 9, 2016

The "The Remarkable Edward Hand: Part III - Rock Ford: The Interior" Story

Entering Rock Ford through the back door.
It was an ordinary day.  Debbie, my tour guide, had just opened the latch on the old wooden door of Rock Ford and ushered me back into time as we entered the home of General Edward Hand and his family. The Hand family began life in this home in 1794 and remained in the home until Hand died in 1802. At that time an inventory of the house was taken. Eventually the house was sold in 1810 and was owned by a series of absentee landlords until the mid-1900s when Pennsylvania Power and Water Co. purchased it for office space. It was then sold to a local trash company who had plans to place an incinerator on the property and turn it into a land fill until the Junior League of Lancaster stepped in and saved the day by purchasing the property and eventually restoring Rock Ford to its 1802 condition.  
Looking toward the front door while
standing in the hallway which runs the
length of the house.  
As we entered from the rear door, we were greeted with the most beautiful and elaborate winding staircase that traveled from the first to the third floor of the home.  The main hall stands about ten to twelve feet wide with a bench on one side, table and chairs on the other and sconces on the walls that probably at one time carried either candles or were fueled with oil. A painting of General Hand hung between two sconces on one side of the hall.  The lighting created an eerie sensation in this huge entrance. On each side of the hall were two large rooms illustrating the Georgian architecture of the home. We walked toward the front of the home where we entered the formal Blue Parlor. I believe it is appropriate at this time to change my format from written to visual so you too can experience what I did as I traveled through this beautiful home where General Edward and Katherine Hand lived with their seven children, indentured servants and slaves. So, join me now as you take the tour with me … (remember to click on the photos to enlarge them.

Portraiture of Edward Hand which hangs in the hall surrounded by two sconces.
Looking toward the rear of the home and the spiraling staircase.
Looking skyward through the staircase.
Next to the front door on the right is the Blue or Formal Room. 
The baseboard was hand-painted to resemble Valley Forge King of Prussia Marble. It was too expensive at the time to import the marble, but the painting recreated the same effect.
Across the hall, to the front of the home, is the Family Parlor.
To the rear of the home is the Dining Room.  Every room has a wood burning fireplace.
Standing in the corner of the dining room is this beautiful George Hoff, Lancaster 8-day 1/4-Hour Tall Chime  Clock, circa 1770-90.
From the hallway into the rooms can be seen the original floors of the home.
The final room on the first floor is the study.  This photo shows the chair where Gen. Hand would have sat to remove his boots.
This period chair has a foot warmer next to it.
A drop leave table holds some of the medical instruments that Edward Hand used in his medical practice.
His desk and writing materials.
One of the few remaining samples of General Hand's handwriting.
Walking up a flight of stairs took us to this room which was considered the unfinished room.  All rooms on the second floor also have fireplaces as well as plain wooden floors.
The Master Bedroom.
On General Hand's dresser is this pocket watch holder.  He would place his pocket watch in it at night to keep it safe as well as holding it vertical so it wouldn't lose time.
This is the Boy's Chamber where they slept and played.   
One of the games, The Human Game Of Life, was on display.
The Girl's Chamber where they slept and played.
A few of the toys and games the girls would use to play.
Back down the steps of the home to the basement or cellar. 
This is the kitchen with the large fireplace for cooking.  All meals had to be carried upstairs to the dining room.
This very wide door was for entering the outdoor garden as well as used to bring food and perishables into the home.
This sink was flooded with water for washing dishes.  The plug on the bottom right would be placed in the hole to allow the sink to be filled and removed to drain the water into the bucket.
The doors are extra wide to allow for pushing carts with food through them.  They are six feet high and I found I had to stoop down to get through them.
In front of the oven was a rather unique device.  It was a rotisserie that was chain driven and could be use to roast or Bar-B-Que meets.

My tour has ended. The third floor was not accessible, but I was told it was used as housing for tenant farmers and the staff who helped on the property.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - again,many thanks to Debbie who supplied most of the information and editing for my three-day story on Edward Hand and Rock Ford Plantation and Home.

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