The Lohr building

The Lohr building

Posted on June 12, 2023

In 1871, John Lohr commissioned a three-story, brick building on a lot along North Church Street just outside of Mechanicstown (now Thurmont) and opposite the road to Emmitsburg. It isn’t clear what motivated Lohr, because apparently he had no plans to occupy the building himself and wasn’t a merchant, but it probably was an investment [...]

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The Birely family

Posted on October 9, 2022

There were two significant Birely families in Thurmont at the end of the 1800s – brothers, originally from the Woodsboro area. Samuel Birely was the oldest of five siblings and born in 1859. During Sam’s first and only year of college, his father died, and he subsequently left college to return home and take over [...]

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Hannah Hammond

Posted on August 10, 2022

Hannah Hammond called Thurmont home for more than 65 of her approximately 95 years. Census records fluctuate regarding her year of birth, but the range falls between 1879 and 1885. The only story of her upbringing we’ve seen is that her parents died when she was four years old. Hannah appears on the 1910 Census [...]

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Posted on May 8, 2022

The original name of Thurmont – Mechanicstown – is believed to derive from the collection of artisans who populated the area as it evolved into an organized community. We know there were blacksmiths, tool makers, tanners, and saddlers, for example. Another “industry” that flourished was pottery-making; every house needed crocks, bowls, jugs, and plates. The [...]

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The Gilbert House

Posted on March 9, 2022

Although the northeast lot at corner square is a barber shop now, the same structure was known as the Gilbert House for 35 years, from just after the Civil War until 1899. John Gilbert and his wife Catharine came to Thurmont in 1847; he was a tailor and had a shop on Water Street. But, [...]

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Catoctin Clarion

Posted on March 4, 2022

In an previous post, we talked about the railroad coming to Mechanicstown (now Thurmont) in January 1871 and transforming the town. A second transformative event occurred just two months later: the Catoctin Clarion issued its first edition on March 4th of that year. It may be hard to imagine a community with no news given [...]

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Rouzer Tanneries

Posted on February 22, 2022

Creating leather clothes, shoes, bags, and pouches from animal skins has been in practice for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations used leather for harnesses, shoes, bags, and armor, and we know Native American Indians were making leather goods when Europeans arrived on the continent. The name for the process – tanning – is derived from [...]

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John Wesley Creager

Posted on February 19, 2022

Please meet John Wesley Creager. He was the oldest son of James Creager – the long-time furniture dealer and undertaker in Thurmont – and his second wife, Sophia (Firor). Wesley was a successful businessman and town leader. As a youth, he helped his father make furniture and coffins and started his career as a cabinet [...]

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Western Maryland Railroad

Posted on January 29, 2022

The railroad arrived in Thurmont in January 1871. Before then, the town was isolated – Frederick was a day’s ride away on horse. Main Street was called the Baltimore-to-Hagerstown Road, and visitors, travelers, and salesmen did pass through regularly but there was nothing like the mobility, commerce, and news cycle we’re accustomed to today. Dry [...]

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Hoke Furniture Company

Posted on December 16, 2021

Like any community, Thurmont has seen businesses come and go: Thurmont Canning. Cannon Shoe. Claire Frock. Who remembers The Hoke Furniture Company? In 1946, after serving a second tour of duty in the US Army, Lloyd Hoke bought at auction a three-story building at Maple Drive and Miller Alley (opposite the current middle school location). [...]

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Keep Thurmont History Alive!

There are several ways to keep Thurmont history alive, including donations, purchases from our store, and volunteering your time.