1608: Captain John Smith visited the “Moyaone” (pronounced Moy-own) — an alias for the Piscataway people and their homeland — during his first exploration of the Potomac River.
1634-1790: European settlers established tobacco plantations on Piscataway lands along the Potomac River by way of labor from enslaved Africans. Native people in the area (Piscataway, Susquehannock, etc.) were eventually driven away over differences in land use. Tobacco production “burned out” in the late 1790s and farmlands were eventually sold. Click here to read more about the Piscataway people.
1865: The Civil War ended and Maryland established a new constitution abolishing slavery.
1922: Georgetown DC-based couple Henry and Alice Ferguson purchased a 130-acre farm and house in Accokeek as a retreat and lovingly named it “Hard Bargain.” Hard Bargain had an unobstructed view of Mount Vernon, the Washington Monument and the Capital. Henry worked for the U.S. Geological Survey and Alice was an accomplished painter trained at the Corcoran Gallery.
1922-1950: The Fergusons used Hard Bargain to entertain Washington’s “creative class” and further exploration of Alice’s artistic, archeological, anthropological, and real estate interests. During a 30-year period, the Fergusons purchased hundreds of acres of additional farmland surrounding Hard Bargain, and sold minimum 5-acre lots to friends who agreed to abide by conservation standards. Click here to read more about Alice and Henry Ferguson.
1952: Alice died and Henry donated Hard Bargain Farm and its surrounding lands to the community to continue Alice’s conversation legacy.
1953: Residents of the newly named “Moyaone Reserve” community formed companies — The Moyaone Company and The Piscataway Corporation — to formally manage the Ferguson land gift.
1953: The Moyaone Company/Piscataway Corporation began purchasing additional acres of farmland and marketing minimum 5-acre wooded lots to the public.
1954: The Alice Ferguson Foundation was established to steward Hard Bargain Farm.
1955: Congresswoman Francis Bolton (R-OH), a member of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, purchased a 485-acre farm directly across the Potomac River from Mount Vernon after concerned Moyaone Reserve residents sounded the alarm about an oil company threatening to build a plant. Click here to read more about Congresswoman Francis Bolton.
1957: The Accokeek Foundation is established to steward the Bolton Farm in conjunction with the National Park Service. Discussions between government officials, Moyaone Reserve residents, the Alice Ferguson Foundation, Accokeek Foundation, outside farmers and others continued in an attempt protect the land from commercial development. Click here to read more about the Accokeek Foundation.
1961: A national park was born. Congress passed Public Law 87-362, which created the existence of Piscataway Park, the first public and private land partnership in the nation to establish a national park to preserve a historic view shed and protect sacred native american spaces. Establishment of the park by proxy protected the Moyaone Reserve’s mid-century modern architecture. Click here to read more about Public Law 87-362.
1966: The site inside Piscataway Park believed to the original Moyaone of the indigenous Piscataway people — Accokeek Creek — is designed a National Historic Landmark.
1968: Piscataway Park was formally dedicated on George Washington’s birthday.
1979: Chief Turkey Tayac is laid to rest in Piscataway Park on the site of the original Moyaone.
2012: Governor Martin O’Malley (D) issued executive orders recognizing the Piscataway people as a Native American tribe.
2016: Dominion Energy threatened to build one of the largest gas compressor stations on the East Coast on the edge of Piscataway Park and within the Mount Vernon view shed.
2017: A local grassroots organization and concerned Moyaone Reserve residents worked collectively and independently to build a coalition to oppose the Dominion Energy project.
2018: Mount Vernon, National Trust for Historic Preservation, government officials and others joined the opposition against the Dominion Energy project. Mount Vernon officially held a public press conference on the East lawn of Mount Vernon in June 2018 objecting to the project. Dominion Energy withdrew its application of permits for a gas compressor station in October 2018, the same year Piscataway Park celebrated its 50th anniversary.