Historians Reveal Truth About Famous Montgomery County Home

Monday, Oct 4, 2010  |  Updated 4:16 PM EDT
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Md. Cabin Wasn't Uncle Tom's After All

AP

Harriet Beecher Stowe

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In 2006, Montgomery County, md., spent $1 million to purchase the real Uncle Tom's Cabin in north Bethesda --a house that formerly was home to Josiah Henson, the inspiration for the title character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's landmark antislavery novel.

Another $1 million to study the property later, historians say the building really isn't the real Uncle Tom's Cabin. 

According to The Washington Post, the home did house Henson, but he apparently lived in slave quarters that were destroyed years ago.

So, what to do with not quite Uncle Tom's Cabin? So far, there seems to be two opinions, The Post reported. One side wants to keep the name and association with the famous book, while the other said it's more important to focus on Henson.

Local historians said even though it's not the real Uncle Tom's Cabin, the house describes Henson's experiences that shaped the Stowe novel.

The county planning board purchased the home in 2006, and while they're upset that the home isn't what they originally thought, they don't believe purchasing it was a mistake.

"I'm not sure any wool was pulled over anybody's eyes," County Council President Nancy Floreen told The Post. "Had we (the council) known it was not the real Uncle Tom's Cabin, we would have voted for the purchase anyway, and we probably wouldn't have made as big a deal out of it."


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