Ghost Expedition and Demonstration Montgomery County,…

Ghost Expedition and Demonstration Montgomery County, Gaithersburg Maryland: Kentlands Mansion and Arts Barn

The Tschiffely-Kent estate in Montgomery County and present day Gaithersburg MD is situated on land that was originally called “Quince Orchard” that was once held by the Claggett family

The land was bequeathed to the sons of Henry Claggett, Joseph and Zechariah Claggett, through his last will and testament in 1778.  However only Joseph resided on the land which had expanded to 100 acres by the time of his death.  After Joseph’s death, ownership passed to his heirs in 1829

Frederick A. Tschiffely acquired the property in 1852.  Although he was in the wholesale pharmaceuticals business, he operated the estate as farm.  He was married to Elizabeth Ann Wilson Tschiffely. Their children were: Frederick Jr; Elberta; Elgar; Albert; Catherine; Elizabeth; Wilson; Linda; Kate; and James.  Upon his death in 1892, his son Frederick Jr inherited the farm

Following the death of his mother in 1900, Frederick A. Tschiffely Jr tore down the existing house to build the present day mansion and outbuildings, all of which were constructed in brick.  The estate was called Wheatlands, a reference to the wheat and corn grown on the farm.  As farming declined the land was used for pasture for cows, sheep and race horses.  Portions of the property were also used as a stone quarry

Dr. Frederick A. Tschiffely Jr was a pharmacist who owned a wholesale drug store in Washington DC and kept many pharmaceuticals at his house. When area residents needed prescriptions filled, they would come to his house, which they sometimes referred to as “The Bricks”  

Dr. Tschiffely was married to Dolly Brown Tschiffely.  Their children were: Clifton; Charles; Ora; Dolly; Stuart; Douglas; Claude; Cecil.  The Wheatlands farm was operated by Upton Burris, an overseer who lived on the farm.  After his death in 1931, the property passed to his his oldest sons and daughters

In 1942, Otis Beall Kent, a prominent attorney from Washington DC, acquired the property from the Tschiffely heirs and renamed the estate Kentlands Farm. He made several changes to the house to suit his architectural tastes and to house his collections of Persian rugs, musical instruments, and art.  He also altered and added to the outbuildings, to include the construction of his own fire house and an underground shelter which could accommodate up to fifty persons

Mr. Kent was an early proponent of wildlife preservation.  Toward this end, he constructed gardens, lanes, hedgerows, dams and ponds as habitats for birds and game at the estate. He also gifted land to the National Geographic Society and the Izaak Walton League to develop a wildlife sanctuary.  He was a lifelong bachelor and he passed away in 1972. He left his estate to his adopted daughter Helene Danger Kent

In 1978, representatives of Kent’s estate created the Kentland Foundation with 162 acres. On May 26, 1988, Helene Kent sold Kentlands to the Great Seneca Limited Partnership to develop varieties of housing for area residents to include apartments, townhomes and single family homes

The Kentlands mansion and outbuildings were gifted to the City of Gaithersburg in 1992 and were since renovated into cultural facilities.  The Kentlands Mansion now serves as an art gallery and venue that host weddings, parties and business events.  The Arts Barn houses studios for artists in residence and a 99-seat theater

The mansion appears to have a haunted reputation.  Paranormal encounters have been reported as far back as 1942 and continue to a lesser extent through the present.  These include: apparitions of women in Victorian-era dress and sightings or sensed-presence encounters involving the late Mr. Kent; as well as imitative sounds to include footsteps and groans  

Other paranormal type encounters have involved various electrical and physical anomalies such as: object displacements; lights and door movements on the 3rd floor; radios operating without power; and self-activation of music boxes

The ghost expedition and demonstration will attempt to obtain “drop-in” communications connected to the mansion’s history and its residents and evidence of a haunting during the Ghosts of Gaithersburg event

REFERENCES:

City Facilities: Arts Barn. (2018). City of Gaithersburg

City Facilities: Kentlands Mansion. (2018). City of Gaithersburg

Deines, A., Hahn R. and Hooper, C. (1989). Natl Register of Historic Places Nomination: Kentlands Mansion. M21/6. Wheatlands, F.A. Tschiffely Farm (Kentlands). Maryland Historical Trust 

Arts on the Green: Ghosts of Gaithersburg. (2018). City of Gaithersburg

History of Kentlands Mansion. (2018). City of Gaithersburg

Kentlands History and Future. (2018). Kentlands Community Foundation

Reppert, R. (1960, Mar 20). A Fire Department All His Own: Otis Beall Kent Likes To Do What Pleases Him, And Buying Up Fire Engines Is One Thing That Does. The Baltimore Sun

IMAGES:

Front view of Frederick A. Tschiffely, Jr.’ s house , built circa. 1900. Courtesy City of Gaithersburg

Tschiffely barn, built circa 1900. (c 1920). Gaithersburg Then and Now

Frederick Adolphus Tschiffely Jr. Courtesy City of Gaithersburg

Charles Stott Tschiffely. Courtesy City of Gaithersburg

Front porch of the Tschiffely home. From left to right are : Clifton Tschiffely, his wife, Lacey Tschiffely, their daughter Dorothy, Dorothy’s daughter, Dolly Tschiffely, Frederick A. Tschiffely, Jr., unknown, Harvey Wiley, and unknown. (c 1920). Courtesy City of Gaithersburg

F.A. Tschiffely Family Outing in 1907. (1907, Jun 9). Courtesy City of Gaithersburg

Mower., photographer. (1975, Feb 26). Tschiffely-Kent Mansion. Brick Barn. Courtesy City of Gaithersburg

Arts on the Green: Ghosts of Gaithersburg. (2018). City of Gaithersburg

Mower., photographer. (1975, Feb 26). Tschiffely-Kent Mansion. Courtesy City of Gaithersburg