History & Culture
For hundreds of years, the land that today is Oxon Cove Park, has attracted men and women who have recognized its agricultural potential. Beginning in the early 19th century, Oxon Cove Park witnessed changing land patterns typical of the southern Maryland region. These changes began with the Debutts family who bought the property and established the Mount Welby Plantation.
The Mount Welby period represents only one layer of the park's deep and diverse history. The park has been home for many generations of human habitation during the past 10,000 years--beginning with the Native American peoples who have hunted for wild game and gathered plants up until the 17th century.
Forty-eight years after the Debutts sold the property, the land was acquired by the United States Government to establish a therapeutic farm for St. Elizabeths Hospital known as Godding Croft.
The property was entrusted to the National Park Service in 1959 to protect its natural and cultural resources from the threat of increased urban development, and to continue to tell the story of the land and how it has changed overtime.
Did You Know?
In 1891, Saint Elizabeths Hospital, acquired the Oxon Cove Park Property, to establish a farm where patients, removed from the confines of a hospital setting, could benefit from fresh air and outdoor work at this new "farm colony." This hospital farm was called Godding Croft.