Shiloh Pottery

Rex's USA Diary


Another Saturday and I am out exploring Maryland with a friend. We found a maze of back roads, rustic houses and a leafy green park hidden below some towering motorway bridges. The mass of mindless vehicles flowing over the bridges made the park seem like it belonged to a different world from a previous time. (Dum, dum de dum - x-files music) In among this rural setting we found a contribution by the Hanover Hysterical Society, which bravely recorded that very little of interest occurred there in the year 1896.

Nothing Ever Happened

Shiloh Pottery

The focus of our journey was the Shiloh Pottery where we met Ken the resident potter, teacher, timber worker, curious animal collector and one time drama prop support person. Ken taught school children the finer art of potting. I got the feeling that most of the kids ignored him and made 'blob' type pots instead. He taught woodworking and building construction using dowels and tenon joints. There were no such buildings standing at the time of our visit, but he was hoping for better luck in the next school term.

Shiloh Pottery

Ken's menagerie included pooches, (Lucy would sit on your foot until you patted her), felines, pigs, goats, peacocks, hens, a duck, a donkey and some Cotswold sheep (Wikipedia). The sheep had personality disorders and most of the hens had watched 'Chicken Run', only the thickest ones remained in their sheep pen in the barn. If you glance down you will see that Lucy is sitting on your foot.

Lucy is sitting on your foot

Below Ken feeds the donkey bits of tree, while in the background another escape plan is being hatched. When I say 'The Donkey' that means I have forgotten its name. Every animal on the farm had its own name which related to it in some way. I remember that Ken said his helper got drunk one night and somehow ended up owning the donkey, but Ken had to pay for it. Thinking about it now, I believe the donkey was called Bill Brown, which coincidentally was the name of Ken's helper.

Donkey eating a piece of tree

My friend Carolyn helped keep famine at bay by feeding three goats, a pig and the duck a very healthy leaf.

Vegan meal for five

The nooks and crannies around Ken's farm held many gems, one of which was not the farm truck. While we were looking at his genuine artifact of American pre-history, Ken candidly told us that he had built it himself a few years ago during his time as prop-provider for the drama club. The truck had been a set piece in 'The Grapes of Wrath' and had been pushed onto many stage sets during its season in the sun.

Genuine Stage Prop

On the return journey exploring some back roads in the boonies (a USA expression = boondocks) we stumbled on a little shop/museum sort of place that sold home-made ice cream in proper cones. The shop had long bench seats along the walls, ('cos chatting with customers is more important than selling stuff) an ancient cash register, a stuffed bear (small), 200 trophies that someone had collected and other ancient bits and bobs.

We sat on the seats outside to lick the ice creams into shape and admire the view. Over the road were signs of progress, where a hillside had been leveled and a new housing subdivision was being installed. I got the feeling that home made ice cream and an unpretentious little shop museum would soon become a part of the local folklore.

Looking back through the time tunnel from 2022 my prediction would seem to be worth what you paid for it. JJ Hoffman's Creamery still make their ice cream fresh daily. If you are looking for the shop, get yourself to Hampstead, Maryland - after your Shiloh Pottery visit.