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

200 Years of the Arts and Humanities

200 Years of the Arts and Humanities Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bradley Owen, April 2, 2022
1. 200 Years of the Arts and Humanities Marker

Gruber's Printing Shop and "Almanack"
John Gruber (1768-1857) maintained a printing shop at this location from about 1795 until about 1855. In 1797, he began printing an "almanack". The Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack has been published continuously by his descendants. It was still in production as of the installation of this marker in 2014, making it the second oldest almanac in the United States and the oldest still operated by descendants of the founder.

In the fall of 1814, Gruber published National Songster or A Collection of the Most Admired Patriotic Songs on the Brilliant Victories Achieved by the Naval and Military Heroes of the United States of America. Within this book was Francis Scott Key's poem "Defense of Fort M'Henry," set to the tune "Anacreon in Heaven." This was the first time what would become the "Star Spangled Banner" - our National Anthem - was published in a music book. The book was released only a few weeks after the poem was written as Key watched to see if "the flag was still there."

The Maryland Theatre

The Maryland Theatre was designed by Harry E.
200 Years of the Arts and Humanities Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bradley Owen
2. 200 Years of the Arts and Humanities Marker
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Yessler of Hagerstown and the renowned New York theater architect Thomas W. Lamb. Theatre doors opened on May 10, 1915. The first sell-out audience was treated to music by a live orchestra and a five-reel feature film, The Commuters. The first talking picture shown in the Maryland Theatre was The Jazz Singer in June 1928.

The theater was damaged by a fire in 1974 which destroyed the front section of the building. The building fell into disrepair until 1976 when Gerald N. Minnich purchased it just before it was to be sold for the value of its building materials. Led by the efforts of local businessman, Jack Garrott and "Citizens to Save the Maryland Theatre," its Neo-Classical and Art Deco interior was restored and the theater reopened in 1978.

Performers who have headlined at the Maryland Theatre include Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney, George Burns and Gracie Allen, George Carlin, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Bill Cosby.
Erected 2014.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureArts, Letters, MusicEntertainmentIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1795.
Location. 39° 38.484′ N, 77° 43.256′ W. Marker is in Hagerstown, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on South Potomac Street
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, half a mile south of West Washington Street (U.S. 40), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 21 South Potomac Street, Hagerstown MD 21740, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Hose Company (a few steps from this marker); The Last Confederate Incursion North of the Potomac River (within shouting distance of this marker); Hagerstonians in the Civil War (within shouting distance of this marker); Hagerstown Commercial Core Historic District (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); A City Divided (about 400 feet away); Hagerstown Ransomed (about 400 feet away); The Ransom of Hagerstown (about 400 feet away); Hagerstown (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hagerstown.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 19, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 3, 2022, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. This page has been viewed 53 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 8, 2022, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 27, 2023