From Dirt Path to Main Street
By 1787, Leonard Smith laid out the town of Berlin in 96 lots, most of which were half acre in size. Geographic location made this locale a natural transportation crossroads. Settlers and merchants traveled to and through the new town to utilize the popular ferry that crossed the Potomac into Virginia. Growth was slow until 1834, the year the C&O Canal and B&O Railroad reached town.
Berlin was primarily a canal town, until the B&O built its major freight yards here in the 1890's. The town was incorporated in 1890 and the name changed from Berlin to Brunswick. Population exploded from 300 residents to 3000 by 1893. Now a textbook "boom town," the residential area had been pushed from the river flats to the surrounding hills. A new downtown center flourished.
In 1924, the C&O ceased to function as a canal. Of greater consequence, the B&O moved its yard operations in 1959 from Brunswick to Cumberland, taking with it many jobs and residents. Brunswick would change from a railroad employee town to a railroad commuter town.
Although the Brunswick Historic District would be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, the downtown struggled with vacant storefronts and population decline....primarily due to suburbanization, shopping malls and workforce commuting.
Through the efforts of local government, Brunswick
[Photo captions, from top to bottom, read]
East Potomac Street looking west (c. 1905).
First steam engine built in United States for B&O Railroad (c. 1930's). [This is an incorrect statement]
Canal barge heading towards Lock 30 in Brunswick.
East Potomac Street businesses and homes (c. 1920's). with old Brunswick High School hovering above.
Brunswick Visitor Services
[Sepia colored photo caption reads] A former town restaurant and watering hole beside the tracks (c. 1882).
[Balance of marker is not historical in nature and is not transcribed]
Erected by Federal Highway Commission and the Tourism Council of Frederick County, Inc.
Location. 39° 18.78′ N, 77° 37.609′ W. Marker is in Brunswick, Maryland, in Frederick County. Marker is at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Potomac Street, on the left when traveling south on Maple Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Square Corner Park, Brunswick MD 21716, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers
Also see . . .
1. A Brief History of Brunswick. (Submitted on May 15, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Smoketown History (Brunswick, Md.) on Facebook. (Submitted on May 15, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. (Submitted on May 15, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on May 15, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 15, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 118 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 15, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.