A Walking Tour of Frostburg, Maryland
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Frostburg, Maryland is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions. More
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Frostburg, Maryland is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions.
Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.
After Congress authorized the National Road in 1806, Josiah Frost bought a tract of land lying across the decided route and set about to selling lots. His son, Mesbach, built a house on Lot 1 and settled with his new bride in June, 1812. The stagecoach line arrived in 1818 and the the Frosts rented their frame house to the Stockton Stagecoach Company, which adapted it for a staging tavern and called it Highland Hall. A village of supporting services rose slowly around the hostelry.
The settlement was originally called Mt. Pleasant by George McCulloh who had built in the area back in 1806 but since there was already one Mount Pleasant in Maryland, the name of the town was changed to “Frostburg” by the government when a post office was established there in 1820.
The National Road may have put Frostburg on the map but it was the railroad that brought prosperity. The iron horse arrived in the late 1840s making it possible to ship coal, that had first been discovered in the region back in 1782, in large quantities through the difficult terrain for the first time. The first mined coal in Western Maryland was taken from a location about a mile and one-half from Frostburg but The first shipment east by wagon was not made until 1820. There were also large brickyards and lumber mills in the area.
It was during the height of the coal mining period, between 1870 and 1915, that Frostburg developed most of its major institutions. The newspaper and churches were established during this period as well as the school system (1868), the fraternal organizations, banks and many local businesses. The Fire Department came into being in 1878, the water company began operation in 1884, and by 1895, both gas and electricity were available to the citizens of Frostburg. Public transportation to Cumberland and Westernport was established in 1902 by an electric railway and the Miners’ Hospital was built in 1913. A major factor in Frostburg’s economy was the growth of the State College. Originally legislated as State Normal School #2 in 1898, the facility was intended to train teachers for the public schools of the State.
Like many a Maryland town, the streetscape of the 21st century was greatly impacted by fires in the previous centuries. On September 5, 1874, a Saturday, fire broke out in the loft of Beall & Koch on Main Street, opposite of today’s St. Michael’s Church. There was no fire department in Frostburg at the time and at least 40 businesses were lost that day. A major conflagration in December 1917 burned away most of the commercial district. Many of the buildings that line Frostburg’s Main Street today were built to replace those damaged in that blaze and seem to march down the street in a unified brick guard against flames.
Our walking tour will eventually spend most of its time along the old National Road (today’s Main Street) but first we’ll walk through the residential part of town to the south, on Frost Avenue, where we’ll find some of the most consistently high-style homes in Frostburg between Broadway and Pine streets...
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