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

A 19th Century Crossroads

Darnestown

 
 
A 19th Century Crossroads Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
1. A 19th Century Crossroads Marker
Inscription. The thriving crossroads community of Darnestown during the 1880s looked much different than it does today. Photographs from that time, however, help us understand what someone traveling through Darnestown might have experienced.

Darnestown grew during the 19th century to include a store and post office, blacksmith, schoolhouse, tavern, and church. Darnestown's growth and prosperity during this period was due to local grist mills, proximity to the Seneca Quarry, and the neighboring C&O Canal. Improved farming methods and the proliferation of slave labor encouraged farmers to grow tobacco, which was also sent down-river on barges.

By 1871, Darnestown ranked 9th among the most populous towns in Montgomery County with a population of ninety-nine. Population growth increased rapidly during the decade; by 1879 the population doubled to two hundred.

Champion Trees

Two champion trees are located between the former location of Dr. Beall's house and the graveyard: a Northern Catalpa and a Kentucky Coffee Tree. Both are native to the Midwest and likely planted circa 1800-1840, possibly by members of the Darne family.

As one of Darnestown's oldest trees, the Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) has witnessed much of the town's history. The tree, located to the east of this sign is 77 feet tall,
Griffith House image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
2. Griffith House
The house and lot located to the west of the graveyard site (right foreground) was owned by the Griffith family at the time this photograph was taken. The frame and log house may have been built as early as the 1850s; by 1863 it was used as a house and store by Samuel Fisher, who eventually sold the property to Ulysses Griffith and James Windsor, who also used it as a store. Griffith and Windsor continued as partners for ten years, until Windsor built his own store and house at the southwest corner of Seneca and Darnestown Roads.
Close-up of the same background photo (on nearby Origins marker)
has a trunk circumference of more than 20 feet and a crown spread of 85 feet. As the largest known tree of its species in Maryland, the catalpa was listed as a State Champion Tree on the 2009 Maryland Big Tree Register and a County Champion on the 2009 Montgomery County Register of Champion Trees.
 
Erected 2012 by Montgomery Parks.
 
Location. 39° 6.199′ N, 77° 17.453′ W. Marker is in Darnestown, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Darnestown Road. Click for map. In Darnestown Square Heritage Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 14029 Darnestown Road, Gaithersburg MD 20878, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Andrew Small Academy (here, next to this marker); The Origins of Darnestown (here, next to this marker); Clues to the Past: Oral History and Archaeology (here, next to this marker); Disease, Death, and Medical Discoveries During the Civil War (a few steps from this marker); Darnestown: A Strategic Point of Defense (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War Troops & Darnestown Residents (within shouting distance
"Richard Beall's House"<br>as sketched by Porte Crayon<br>(David Hunter Strother) image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
3. "Richard Beall's House"
as sketched by Porte Crayon
(David Hunter Strother)
Close-up of photo on marker
Harper's New Monthly Magazine October 1866.
Cornell University
of this marker); The Signal Corps and Wartime Communications (within shouting distance of this marker); The Civil War in Darnestown (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Darnestown.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers
 
Darnestown Looking East image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
4. Darnestown Looking East
Close-up of photo on marker
Montgomery County Historical Society
Northern Catalpa image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
5. Northern Catalpa
Close-up of photo on marker
Leaves of the Northern Catalpa image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
6. Leaves of the Northern Catalpa
The Tobacco Picker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
7. The Tobacco Picker
Sculpture by Cheryl Foster. One of six sculpted portraits at Darnesville Square Heritage Park.
Gate Post Finial image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
8. Gate Post Finial
The distinctive leaves of Catalpa speciosa betray that this sculpture by Cheryl Foster depicts the champion northern catalpa tree adjacent to Darnestown Square Heritage Park.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 281 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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