Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Hub City and a Little Family History

     We took a sunny drive to a quaint, quiet little town of Hagerstown. My mother-in –law wanted to share where she grew up, the ice-cream parlor where she hung out with her friends, the birth place of her parents, the Rest Haven Cemetery founded in 1927 by her grandfather, Aaron Moses Horst, 

the Brethren Mutual Fire Insurance, founded by her father Paul Horst and North Hagerstown High school where she graduated. My younger daughter just accepted a teaching position at North Hagerstown High School where her grandma and at least 4 generations graduated!

     Hagerstown was founded in 1762 by Jonathan Hager, a gunsmith, fur trader, farmer and politician. After settling he quickly increased his wealth and expanded his land holdings acquiring over 10,000 acres which he used to layout plans for the town. It was originally named Elizabethtowne, in honor of his wife, but was later changed to Hagerstown in his honor.

      Hagerstown was situated at the crossroads of the “Warrior Trading Path,” the Eastern Native American North / South Trading Route, which is modern day Route 11 and the First National Road, now Route 40. The town grew quickly and was a prized location for transportation of all kinds from covered wagon to nearby river navigation.

A Time of Change: The Introduction of the Railroad
      The 19th Century marked the arrival of the railroad to the area in 1834. This, perhaps more than any other factor, spurred the growth of Hagerstown into the city we know today. The nickname “Hub City” comes from the way all the railroad lines running into to Hagerstown resembled the spokes of a wagon wheel on the map. The Western Maryland, the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) and the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) all supplied these “spokes." Railroading grew as an industry and was the main driver of the local economy well into the 20th Century. Although passenger service has ceased, freight still rolls through Hagerstown everyday.

Hagerstown Today
      Today, in keeping with its rich history the “Hub City” sits at the crossroads of two major interstates I-70 and I-81. It serves as gateway to the Baltimore and the Washington, D.C. area as well as the “hub” of government, commerce and recreation for the tri-state area.

                   Enjoying a late lunch at the Rhubarb House.

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