| The center of activity at Carriage Hill MetroPark & Farm in Huber Heights, Ohio, is on land originally owned and occupied by the family of Daniel and Catherine Arnold and their five children. Carriage Hill Farm and the Arnold family are entwined with the Filbrun Family History for two reasons:
1. Catherine Arnold and Elizabeth Fillbrun were sisters. Elizabeth was the wife of Peter Fillbrunn (later Fillbrun and Filbrun), the first known Filbrun to come to the United States. The Arnold and Filbrun families came to Ohio from Virginia about 1830 and settled on land adjacent to each other.The Arnolds and Fillbruns first settled in the Wayne Township, Montgomery County, Ohio property after traveling from Rockingham County, Virginia, by Conestoga wagons. Oxen pulled these heavy wagons over barely passable roads and Indian trails. It is reported that they arrived in the area of the present-day Carriage Hill Farm in late summer of 1830 by following the dry bed of the creek that runs through the farm. Perhaps this is the reason the creek is known locally, whether in dry or wet spells, as Dry Run Creek.
The Daniel Arnolds settled on 158 acres of land that they purchased one year after their arrival from Henry Harshbarger, the father-in-law of Daniel Arnold and Peter Fillbrun. Daniel Arnold moved his family into an existing two-story log house on the property. (Peter and Elizabeth Fillbrun purchased similar acreage adjoining the Arnold homestead to the east.)
Carriage Hill is maintained as a living historical site of the period around 1880. Forty-six diaries of that period from seven Arnold family members have helped immeasurably as resource material. Daniel Arnold’s numerous accounts of farm life in his diaries and journals was the deciding factor in choosing the period to best represent Carriage Hill Farm. By having original accounts of life in the past, everything from simple recipes to breeds of livestock are known and documented for that period.
Breeds of livestock from Poland China hogs to Merino sheep to Percheron draft horses and mules for farm work are recorded in family accounts. These can be stocked today to give visitors to the farm an accurate feeling of what farm life was in the 1880s. Crops such as wheat, corn and barley, as well as sorghum and tobacco were grown on the farm over the years and, together with vegetables of that period, are recreated on the site today.
Also recreated for us from the Arnold family diaries of 125 years ago is a picture of the buildings that existed at the site. Not only the large two-story brick farmhouse and frame barn, but also the many out buildings are all at Carriage Hill Farm much as they appeared when the Arnolds – and their Fillbrun kinfolk and neighbors - worked the land in 1880. To be seen today are the “ice house” (used to store ice from streams which was cut into blocks each winter for use in warmer weather), the “smoke house” (used to cure and store meat for the family), the “milk house” (where milk and cream were kept cool by the cold spring water that ran through it) and the “out-house” or “privy” used for obvious reasons before indoor plumbing appeared.
We are extremely fortunate to have Carriage Hill Farm today as a slice of living, well-documented history that provides us with valuable insight into the past. Visit it and take a closer look into the way the Arnolds, Fillbruns and other 19 th century farm families worked and lived.
Carriage Hill MetroPark & Farm is an integral part of the Five Rivers MetroParks System. In addition to the historical farm home and out buildings, Carriage Hill offers a Visitor Center with interactive displays, a library and a country store. Scenic woodlands, meadows, a lake, pond and stables are available for hiking, fishing, picnicking and horseback riding.
Carriage Hill Farm is located at 7800 Shull Road in Huber Heights. Enter Shull Road from State Route 201 (Brandt Pike), ¼ mile north of the Route 201 and I-70 intersection. For more information, call 937-879-0461 or contact www.metroparks.org
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