“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Gaithersburg in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Early Years

The Early Years marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, November 3, 2007
1. The Early Years marker
Inscription. Before the arrival of the first European settlers, the area that is now the City of Gaithersburg was a land of dense forests and gently rolling hills. Frederick Avenue was a well-traveled path for the Piscataway and Tuscarora Indians, who hunted the area's abundant wildlife. The region's landscape changed in the mid 1700's as the first settlers of European descent formed the beginnings of a new community. Several prominent land owners established plantations, and a handful of families formed a settlement known as Log Town. In the late 1700's, Benjamin Gaither settled on the property near the current intersection of Brookes and Frederick Avenues and established a blacksmith shop, store, and tavern to serve travelers and residents. His crossroads enterprise eventually became known as Gaithersburg. For many years, Gaithersburg was considered the last outpost of civilization in Montgomery County. More and more travelers traversed the route that was once a Native American trail and Frederick Avenue became a well-worn thoroughfare. As wagons required occasional repairs, and oxen, horses, and people needed respite, innkeepers, blacksmiths, and other tradesmen established businesses along the road.

In 1873, construction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad through Gaithersburg was complete. The railroad brought a surge of people and
Gaithersburg History Park image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, November 3, 2007
2. Gaithersburg History Park
Ten markers have been erected between the Gaithersburg B&O station and the Freight House. The Freight House is now being used as a museum.
businesses to communities all along the line, and Gaithersburg was no exception. In response to the population growth, the people of Gaithersburg drafted a charter, established a government, and incorporated as a city on April 5, 1878.

By the late 1880's, citizens of Gaithersburg were able to travel and move their wares by train. Fueled by this new and efficient form of transportation, the town's economy and population continued to expand. Gaithersburg's mercantile center shifted from Frederick Avenue to Diamond Avenue, along the train tracks and near the train station. In 1891, more than a dozen trains ran through Gaithersburg daily. The accessibility of the railroad soon transformed Gaithersburg from a sleepy rural town into what many Washingtonians considered a growing commercial center and a preferred summer resort.

(Photo caption): Two opposite views along the railroad tracks, circa 1900
Erected by City of Gaithersburg.
Location. 39° 8.502′ N, 77° 11.564′ W. Marker is in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Summit Avenue near Diamond Avenue. Click for map. Gaithersburg was the western terminal of commuter trains going to and from Washington D. C. The Metropolitan Branch of the
History Park image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, November 3, 2007
3. History Park
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad changed from double track to single track here. Railroad facilities included a wye and a turntable. These were located between Frederick Avenue and Summit Avenue. Marker is in this post office area: Gaithersburg MD 20877, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Building The Future (here, next to this marker); The Schwartz House / Gaithersburg City Hall / Schwartz Peony Garden (here, next to this marker); The Business of Agriculture: (here, next to this marker); Supplying an Agricultural Community (here, next to this marker); The Gaithersburg School (here, next to this marker); Gaithersburg Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department (here, next to this marker); The Summit Hotel (here, next to this marker); Serving the Community's Health Care Needs (here, next to this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Gaithersburg.
More about this marker. Bibliography

Harwood, Herbert H. (1979) Impossible Challenge: The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Maryland (Barnard Roberts and Company, Baltimore)

Harwood, Herbert H. (1994) Impossible Challenge II: Baltimore to Washington and Harpers Ferry from 1828 to 1994 (Barnard Roberts and Company, Baltimore)

Soderberg, Susan (1998) The
History Park image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, November 3, 2007
4. History Park
Met (Germantown Historical Society, Germantown)
Categories. Political SubdivisionsRailroads & Streetcars
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,343 times since then and 81 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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