The year 2020 marks a major anniversary for PHM as we celebrate the 225th Anniversary of the foundation being laid in 1795*. Levin Handy, a distant cousin of the Handy family of Pemberton, bought Pemberton’s Good Will (what would later be nicknamed Poplar Hill Mansion). He started to farm the land and also began construction on an ambitious house. The house he planned was a four and a half story structure. It was designed in the style of a New England Federal period house. The distinguishing feature between homes of New England and the homes of the same style in the Mid-Atlantic is the construction material. The Mid-Atlantic is known for their homes being built of bricks, while New England has homes made of wood. Why did Handy choose the New England style? Handy is from Rhode Island and decided to build in the style known and familiar to him. More than likely, Handy and his wife had a small cabin like structure on the property while the main farm house was being constructed (although, no evidence of such a structure has been found). In 1795, the brick foundation of the house was laid and construction began. It would take ten years to construct the house. During that time, Handy would go bankrupt and a warrant would be issued by the Worcester County Sherriff for the seizure of the property. Shortly after, Hany died and his widow sold off all the property, including the unfinished house, in order to repay all the debt Handy had accumulated. Levin Handy never got to live in the house he began, but it survives as Salisbury’s oldest house.
*Stayed tuned this year for a special commemorative event!