Historical Figure: Peter N. Hammaker
You may be familiar with Hammaker Street in Thurmont, but are you familiar with Peter Hammaker? He was born into a farming family in Washington County in 1858. After finishing school at 16, he joined his brother, Frank, in Mechanicstown (now Thurmont) where the older sibling started a marble and granite business the same year. After two years Peter left for work in Washington, DC then returned two years later, in 1878, to assume ownership of his brother’s operation. Frank started over in Libertytown, and Peter subsequently led Thurmont Marble and Granite until his death in 1925.
Peter regularly served among the group of men leading the town’s institutions – he was an organizer and then officer at Mechanicstown Water Company, an organizer and later president of the Electric Light and Power Company; an officer at Thurmont National Bank, and an officer at the Thurmont Land Improvement Company. He also led the Emmitsburg Turnpike Company for many years.
Hammaker bought the property at North Church Street and Boundary Avenue in 1879, where he subsequently built a house and moved his granite and marble yard. In 1908, he built and moved to the house at 26 North Church, just a block away, which was called among the finest houses in Frederick County at the time. He married Ida Miller in 1887, and the union produced two children who died in infancy. Ida died in 1916. At Peter’s death in 1925 his business sold to nephews Ernest and Frank, who changed its name to Hammaker Brothers. Ernest and his wife, Edith, also purchased the home at 26 North Church but eventually built their own residence off Woodland Avenue.
The Hammaker reputation thrived for decades, and the company received numerous notable commissions, including the monument at Gettysburg commemorating the Confederate soldiers from Alabama, which was dedicated in 1933.
Fun fact: A stone cutter from Scotland named Robert Kinnaird joined the Hammaker operation in 1959 and brought his family to Thurmont in 1960. When the Hammaker nephews closed the company in 1964 it re-opened as R S Kinnaird Memorials, which continues in business today led by Robert’s son, John. John lives in the original Hammaker house at North Church and Boundary, too.