Boonsboro Reflections


It must have been a remarkable sight – on the morning of July 4, 1827 as many as 500 citizens of Boonsboro and nearby communities assembled on the town square at 7:00 am and, headed by the stars and stripes and a fife and drum corps, marched to an area called The Blue Rocks at the summit of South Mountain.  Motivated simply by patriotism, our fore-bearers had set out to erect the first monument in this Country dedicated to the...

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Crystal Grottoes, the only commercial cave now open in Maryland, is also one of the largest in the state. Nearly one half mile of passage was mapped in 1968. The cave was discovered in 1920 as a result of quarry operations for road material.  A drill bit (for placing explosives) disappeared into a hole, and the crew realized they had found a cave. Blasting subsequently created an opening large enough to allow exploration. Because of...

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Dr. Peter Fahrney was born in Lancaster, PA in 1767, orphaned by age two and raised by neighboring families.  He learned the trade of a tanner and, together with his wife Eve (Durnbaugh) Fahrney, had 4 children.  Sadly, his wife died when their oldest child was only 11 years old.  Perhaps encouraged by his in-laws to relocate to Maryland that they might assist in caring for the children, Fahrney moved with his family to the area now...

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There were only five houses in Boonsboro in 1796:  Peter Conn’s Eagle Hotel, a structure on the site of 44 N. Main St. that may have been William Boone’s store, Jacob Craig’s house next to the hotel (now the bakery at 7 North Main St.), Mrs. Short’s log-built store (on the site of Vesta’s at 2 S. Main St.) and “a house at the spring,” probably now the Hamilton/Brining House at 103 N. Main St. The Eagle Hotel was the first stone...

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Lord Baltimore envisioned an agricultural economy in western Maryland and in 1732 he offered land, free of charge, to settlers provided they establish a farm with an orchard of 100 trees.  Fruit trees flourished in the region and apple orchards became a common feature on farmsteads. Apples were grown primarily for their juice and hard cider was a common colonial beverage since well-water generally was regarded as unsafe.  Everyone in...

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The enterprise of whiskey manufacture at the Roxbury Distillery Company along Antietam Creek generated substantial economic benefits to the community.  Barrels were supplied by a cooper’s shop at Devil’s Backbone and the barrel hoops were forged at Edward Stockslager’s blacksmith shop at Devil’s Backbone, later at Breathedsville.  Stonemasons and builders were hired to construct the numerous sturdy buildings that constituted the...

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