Maryland in Focus HOME

County Pages

Anne Arundel
Baltimore City
Baltimore County
Prince George's
Queen Anne's
St. Mary's

Maryland State Archives

Photographic Collections

Washington County Seal

Washington County, located in western Maryland, was created from Frederick County by resolve of the Constitutional Convention of 1776. It is bordered on the north by the Mason-Dixon Line and Pennsylvania, the east by Frederick County, the south and southwest by the Potomac River, and the west by Allegany County. The county is named in honor of George Washington.

Appropriately enough, it was Washington County that produced the first monument to George Washington, erected on July 4, 1827 outside of Boonesboro and completed in one day by the townspeople. During the Gettysburg campaigns the monument, which had almost fallen to pieces, was patched with logs and used as a Union signal station. In 1934, ten acres of land, including the monument, were deeded to the State of Maryland, and additional land was subsequently acquired for a state park. A copy of the earlier monument was built of local stone by the Civilian Conservation Corps and rededicated on July 4, 1936.

Hagerstown, the county seat, lies in the fertile valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the intersection of two important truck routes, I-81 and I-70. These roads follow respectively the historic north-south pathway through the Cumberland and Shenandoah valleys and the old National Pike, over which pioneers for decades traveled to settle in the country beyond the Appalachians.

The county's rich heritage is a delight for history buffs. Here visitors can roam the Antietam National Battlefield, the site of the bloodiest one day battle of the Civil War; Fort Frederick, erected in 1756 for defense against the French and Indians; or the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, stretching from Georgetown to Cumberland.

Side of the C and O Canal, 1903
The purpose of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal was to carry coal downstream from Cumberland. Barges maintained a rate of two to three miles an hour. Mules were used to pull the heavily laden boats. Their towpath and the Potomac can be seen on the far side of the canal in this 1903 view made in Williamsport. MSA SC 1477-4758
Bookmobile depository on the porch of 'Cozy Corner'

The bookmobile of the Washington County Free Library left books regularly at numerous depositories around the county, like this one on the porch of "Cozy Corner," the home of Edward G. Kinsell at Green Spring Furnace.
MSA SC 1477-5349
Pen Mar Park
Pen Mar Park, established in 1877, is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland. Originally a mountain resort that attracted thousands of vacationers seeking respite from the city's heat, Pen Mar is today a popular county park. 
MSA SC 1477-4763
Men meeting in Weverton
Weverton, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, is the first town encountered in Washington County after leaving Frederick County. The depot seems to have been a meeting place for men only. 
MSA SC 1477-5173
Hagerstown, county seat
Hagerstown, the Washington County seat, was once a flourishing rail center, the "hub city" of Maryland. In June 1917 when this photograph was made at West Washington and Jonathan streets, Hagerstown was the third largest city in the state.
MSA SC 1477-4985


This web site is presented for reference purposes under the doctrine of fair use. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: The site may contain material from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.

Tell Us What You Think About the Maryland State Archives Website!

[ Archives' Home Page  ||  Maryland Manual On-Line  ||  Reference & Research
||  Search the Archives   ||  Education & Outreach  ||  Archives of Maryland Online ]

Governor     General Assembly    Judiciary     Maryland.Gov

© Copyright October 18, 2002Maryland State Archives