4601 Damascus Road Laytonsville MD 20882 1.833.RED.BARN

Our History

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Tradition maintains that the original log house at Tusculum was built in 1747 by American patriot Henry Griffith. Henry Griffith was a prominent Marylander who was Justice of the Lower Court of Frederick County, Moderator of the Hungerford Tavern meeting in 1774, and Member of the Annapolis Convention that formed the Association of Freemen of Maryland. Griffith also witnessed the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

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Based upon a review of the deed records for the property, it appears that the land upon which Tusculum stands was owned in the mid-18th century by John Beale Bordley of Annapolis, and not actually purchased by Griffith until 1797. In either case, Griffith owned the property until 1807. In 1807, Henry Griffith died, and the property, referred to as "my dwelling plantation" in Griffith's will, was sold to Henry Howard by Philemon Griffith and Joshua Griffith, executors of Henry Griffith's estate.

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When the property, owned at the time by a Frederick 0. Gaither, was sold to Enoch B. Hutton; the deed of sale refers to the property as "Tusculum" and "The Diamond." The name Tusculum, by definition, is a ruined Roman city in the Alban Hills, in the Latium region of Italy. It was one of the largest Roman cities in the Alban Hills and today is one of the largest ruins of a Roman city in the region. Tusculum was known in Roman times for the many impressive and luxurious country villas located close to the city, yet “a comfortable distance from Rome.”

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"An important group of agricultural buildings is located west of the main dwelling at Tusculum and includes two barns with silos and a stable. The first, southernmost barn of the group is a late 19th-century gable-roofed frame structure with vertical board walls. The interior of the barn has been extensively altered for use as an assembly hall. The second barn is located directly north of the first. Build in 1942, it is a post and beam frame structure covered with a gable roof, clad with sheet metal, and features two ventilators at the ridge. The barn is sheathed in vertical boards with slit ventilators. The interior is divided into three bats with a central drive-on crib and equipment/hay storage areas to either side." via Index History Prop Montgomery County January 2000. Today, we refer to these as Barn #1 and Barn #3.

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The third, northernmost barn was built in 1944-46 by barn builder August Priebe. Described as a cattle barn in earlier documentation, the barn actually serves as a stable, apparently since its construction. It has a frame structure, is two stories in height, 24 bays long and seven bays wide, and is covered with a steep gambrel roof with a hay hood. The north side contains a shed addition extending the entire length of the north elevation." via Index History Prop Montgomery County January 2000. Today, we refer to this structure as Barn #2 (aka a fully functional modernized stable barn).

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In December 1954 a plaque was placed on the front floor of the house by the Chevy Chase Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution that read: "Tusculum Built in 1747 by the Hon. Henry Griffith who was one of the first justices of the Lower Count of Frederick County, moderator of the citizens meeting at Hungerford Tavern in June, 1774, and a member of the convention in Annapolis which formed the Association of Freeman of Maryland. He was the only citizen of lower Frederick County to witness the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, July 1776." The regent who sponsored the plaque was Mrs. Thomas Patterson, who was a direct descendant of Judge Griffith. She passed away before the placement of the marker.

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Deed dated January 14th, 1961 from Everett R Hurt et ux to Consolidated Investments Inc. conveying five tracts of land. Tract IV is identified as parts of Tusculum and the Diamond.

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In May of 1964, as part of the agreement with Consolidated Investments Inc., Carl and Virginia Freeman (who were married December 20th, 1962) officially purchased the property and called Tusculum Farm home. Their son, Joshua Freeman, was born July 27th, 1964.

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Virginia Freeman called "The Main House" home until 2002. Renovations by Carl and Virginia Freeman to the main house at Tusculum included enlarging the right hand front room, elongating it toward the front and added a bowed window that looks out onto a stunning vista of manicured green lawns, punctuated by colorful neat flower beds; improving the dining room by changing the flat window to a bowed one; and, in the back of the house adding a large room to give them an attractive entertaining area. The back room is built of stone, has a highly vaulted cathedral-type ceiling, and a massive stone fireplace that rises some 20 feet to the ceiling (the Freemans discovered that they could match the color of the old stone to perfection at the old River Road Quarry where they believe the original stone was obtained).

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"What is most interesting now about this lovely home is not only the excellent manner in which the Freemans have preserved it, but also the method by which they have modernized it, turning it into a most livable setting for busy people who do a great deal of entertaining, and at the same time completely retaining all of its unique charm.The Freemans deserve much credit for what they have done with and for this historic gem of a house. The imagination and good taste which they used in their renovations and additions are fine examples of what can be done with an old house to make it an on-going home for the future. This is preservation on a practical basis." via The Courier in an article entitled "'Tusculum' - 1747 home combination of old and new" published on May 27th, 1981

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Joshua Freeman married Michelle DiFebo Freeman in Italy on May 19th, 2001 and then came home to celebrate the wedding at Tusculum Farm in June 2001

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Joshua and Michelle Freeman added an addition to The Main House, which you can see today, as well as created a gallery in the back of the house that includes the original stone wall. They also renovated Barn #1 (what the family refers to as the “Party Barn"), pictured above.

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Joshua Freeman passed away in a tragic accident on December 14th, 2006. Today, Michelle DiFebo Freeman continues his legacy and runs Tusculum Farm in addition to being the owner and CEO of the Carl M. Freeman Companies, president and chairman of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, and founding chairman of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation

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