Garrett County

cecil county seal Garrett County is the westernmost county of the state, formed in 1872 from Allegany County. The county was named for John Work Garrett (1820-1884), railroad executive, industrialist, and financier. The county stretches from West Virginia on the south and southwest to Allegany County on the east. It is bordered on the north by the Mason-Dixon Line and Pennsylvania.

Garrett County, advertised by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as "The Switzerland of America," enjoys a variety of natural resources which attract visitors from across the state. Deep Creek Lake State Park offers fishing and foot and snowmobile trails as well as public access to Deep Creek Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Maryland. A trail up the southern slope of Meadow Mountain is a one mile climb from the lake level to the summit, where a panoramic view of the lake and surrounding countryside rewards the hiker. Deep Creek Lake was one of the best trout streams in the county Mesbach Brown wrote: "Mary [his wife] asked me to catch a mess of trout for our breakfast next morning. To gratify her I went to Deep Creek, where success was certain." Fishing and ice fishing are still popular on the lake. Swallow Falls State Park offers spectacular scenery in a lovely mountain setting. In 1918, and again in 1921, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and Thomas Edison camped here to enjoy the delights of wilderness living. A photograph now at the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, shows the father of the assembly line scrubbing his laundry in the creek.

Among the county's historic sites is the Casselman River Bridge. The eighty-four foot span was the largest stone arch in the country when it was built for the National Road in 1813. In the early days of automobiles, a daring activity of many young people was hitting the "hump" in the bridge with sufficient speed to launch their Model Ts into a brief stomach bending flight, ending in a spine jolting landing. The fine old bridge easily withstood that stress, although even its builder, David Shriver, had expressed some anxiety over whether it would be able to support even its own weight during construction.

Country store in McHenry, a small town on Deep Creek Lake
MSA SC 1477-5738

This country store serviced the small community of McHenry, located at the northernmost tip of Deep Creek Lake, the largest body of fresh water in the state. The lake was constructed from 1923 to 1925 as part of a hydroelectric project.

repairmen working on a bridge
MSA SC 1477-5747

The landmark bridge across the Casselman river at Grantsville was built in 1816. By 1900 the bridge was in severe disrepair and a campaign was begun to assure its continued maintenance. These repairmen were at work in 1911.

hunters show off their catch of a bear
MSA SC 1477-5627

The caption on this photograph claims that this black bear (tied to the front of the car) was the first killed near Sang Run in forty years. The hunters first stop, obviously, was Bell's photographic studio in Oakland to have their prize recorded.

grantsville, a favorite spot of vactioners
MSA SC 1477-5707

The area around New Germany, a few miles from Grantsville, was developed into a state park with excellent fishing and swimming facilities and cabins for vacationers. Maryland's first ski slope opened here in the winter of 1940- 1941.

Portrait of the Knights of St. John with the Knights of Pythias on Memorial Day, 1903
MSA SC 1477-5640

Oakland is the largest town in rural Garrett County, the seat of government and the business center for the surrounding farming community. On Memorial Day in 1903, the Knights of St. John donned their uniforms and joined the Knights of Pythias and a stray dog for a group portrait on Alder Street.