The Gilbert House

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, Gilbert began operating a hotel out of the corner square building in 1865 and, with his wife, bought the property in December 1869.

Along with offering overnight accommodations for visitors, the proprietors also allowed boarders. Out-of-town professionals, such as doctors, would schedule days of service at the Gilbert House and invite residents to come for consultations. Public sales throughout the era, such as property auctions and estate sales, commonly were held on the site. And, it was the site of reunions and dinner parties.

Gilbert turned the business over to another man in 1875 but that endeavor ended in 1876, and Gilbert and his family were back as operators in January 1877. Catharine died in 1888 and at the same time John was too ill to lead the business, so two daughters took over for their father. They tried to sell the business at least once, in 1890, but did not find success, and the two sisters stayed at the helm.

John died in February 1896; Col John R Rouzer served as his executor. From the sale notice in March 1896, the property consisted of 15 rooms, including 10 bedrooms, an office, a double parlor, large dining room, and kitchen as well as two large halls as well as a stable for 15 horses, carriage house, smoke house, wash house, and wood shed. The out buildings occupied an adjacent lot. Notably, from the picture you can see the original entrance fronted North Church Street instead of East Main.

J Wesley Creager bought the Gilbert House at a public sale for $2,950 then rented it back to the sisters, who continued to operate the hotel until 1899. A new proprietor changed the name to Hotel Central, which appears to have lasted until 1904, at least.




Charles Cassell used this cast iron stove (c. 1900) while living at the Gilbert House; it’s part of the collection at the Creeger House.

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