• Heritage Area At a Glance 

  • History & Culture

  • Click on the + signs below to expand each section and learn more about our heritage area cultural resources including maps, photos, tours, podcasts and so much more.

  • Historical Resources

  • Museums Museums

    Our heritage area features several local museums celebrating our local history, capturing stories and showcasing the fabric of our county through artifacts, photos, books, and so much more. Click to view virtual tours of our local museums. Visit the websites of each museum for hours of operation and directions.

    Northern Region

    • Grantsville Community Museum
      • Learn the local history of the Grantsville area with a look at the Leo Beachy photo gallery and many local artifacts including an original saddle bag used by the post office to deliver mail by horse.
    • Friend Family Association Museum
      • Celebrating the roots of the Friends family, the Friendsville Family Association Museum hosts a library alongside the museum that depicts early life the US and the early settlers in the county.

    Southern Region

    • Oakland B&O Museum
      • Explore a beautifully restored Queen Anne style B&O train station dedicated in 1884. See exhibits lined with artifacts and have the opportunity to view the 1928 Baldwin steam engine, which is a recent addition to the museum.
    • Transportation Museum
      • Visitors can take a step back in time and see a Model T, firetrucks, carriages, sleighs and buggies and then explore the history of Deep Creek Lake. You can even see an original Garrett County sailboat and our first snowmobile!
    • Garrett Historical Museum
      • For the history lover, the Historical Museum has a little bit of everything exploring the county's history. Explore several rooms featuring exhibits on the B&O Railroad, Hotels, Schools, Arts & Recreation, Industrial, Victorian, Military, and Cabin Room.

  • Coal Talks & Podcast Coal Talks & Podcast

    Garrett College.jpgThe Coal Talk Oral History project includes stories and memories from Western Maryland coal communities. In Maryland’s two westernmost counties, Garrett and Allegany, coal mining families evolved a culture linking life above and below ground in towns that are now sometimes hard to find and in life underground that stretched from Maryland into West Virginia. The oral history project was directed by Dr. Gail N. Herman, assisted by Reverend John Grant. The project was sponsored in 1989-1993 by Garrett Recreation, Parks, and Tourism with partial funding from Garrett County Development Corporation. The Maryland Humanities Council assisted with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Coal Talk project is dedicated to preserving the memories and subtle nuances of life in the coal towns and mines of Western Maryland.

    For the entire audio of the interviews and for more information contact the librarian at Garrett College:

    Library & Learning Commons
    687 Mosser Road
    McHenry, Maryland 21541

    Jenny Meslener
    Instructional Librarian

    *This project was funded in part by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

  • Civil War Trails Civil War Trails

    On April 26, 1863, during the Confederate occupation of Oakland, a detachment of Confederate Captain John H. McNeill's partisan rangers attacked the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad bridge here over the Youghiogheny River. The Confederates disarmed the small garrison at Fort Alice, destroyed the fort, and burned the bridge. Many of the Federal soldiers weren't guarding their post on the morning of the raid, because they were away hunting. Come explore Oakland and the Fort Alice Trail, just punch in 10 Spruce Lane, Oakland into your navigation device and park at the Glades Town Park. Take the walking trail as it winds its way down along the railroad tracks towards Fort Alice. In 1861, Fort Alice was constructed to guard the strategically vital railroad crossing over the Youghiogheny River here. While a Company of the 6th West Virginia Infantry tried to resist McNeill’s men closer to town, local source material suggests that the locally raised Union soldiers assigned to the Fort in April 1863 were off hunting when McNeill’s men struck. Burning the bridge, destroying portions of the Fort, McNeill’s men under the command of Col. Asher Harman effectively shut down the B&O railroad for several weeks before it could be repaired. The walk there and back will take about 45 minutes and is relatively flat and easy to traverse. *Excerpt from Chris Brown, Emerging Civil War

    Learn more about Civil War Trails.

  • Traveling 219: Audio Stories Traveling 219: Audio Stories

    The Traveling 219 Project, coordinated by Friends of Pocahontas County Free Libraries (WV), works to unearth and document stories of people and places to reveal how life has been lived. These stories reveal how the historic, recreational and cultural characteristics has changed along US Route 219. The project also highlights the cultural uniqueness of the Appalachian region where small towns, rural areas and natural beauty continue to characterize and shape life. The Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area provided a mini-grant which helped produce five of the Maryland selections. Explore additional stories at www.traveling219.com!

    Friendsville: If These Trees Could Talk


    The Historic Casselman River Bridge

    Pleasant Valley


    Oakland B&O Railroad


    Memories of a Traveling Carnival


    The Spruce Forest Artisan Village


  • Scenic Byways - Mountain Maryland Scenic Byways - Mountain Maryland

    Maryland’s 18 designated byways encompass 2,487 miles of beautiful roads and offer a taste of Maryland’s scenic beauty, history and culture. Take the roads less traveled - including a byway featuring a nationally significant theme: the Historic National Road

    If you’re planning a trip, try Maryland’s interactive tour map. You’ll find great suggestions for scenic or historic driving tours, Maryland Heritage areas, historic districts, parks, and other cultural and recreational destinations. Don’t forget that most scenic byways are also perfect for exploring by bicycle. You’ll find maps and safety information for bicycle-friendly routes here.

    Historic National Road

    Maryland National Historic Road Website

     Mountain Maryland

    Visit Maryland Scenic Byways

  • The Historic National Road & Podcast The Historic National Road & Podcast

    The construction of the National Road in 1806 opened up the western frontier for pioneering. The National Road has significant importance not only for Garrett County but also the nation as a whole because it linked the eastern and western portions of the United States in the 19th century. The Historic National Road, in Grantsville, Maryland, is an important heritage asset. The 1813 Casselman River Bridge and the many inns and taverns along the National Road that still exist today are equally important as people still stop along the way bringing business to the local region. With the National Road came the early settlements of Accident, Grantsville, Friendsville, and Oakland. The Casselman River Bridge is a National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) site and it was the technological wonder of its time. Much like the ancient Roman Appian Way, the National Road and the Casselman River Bridge are testaments to the ingenuity of our nation's people.

     Historic National Road

    Maryland National Historic Road Website

    Learn more about the Historic National Road with the podcast below, funded in part by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority & MMGTW Mini-Grant Program:


  • Garrett County Historical Markers Garrett County Historical Markers

    Historical markers have been a familiar sight on Maryland's roadways for almost a century now. Launched in 1933, the roadside historical marker program has proven an effective way to draw attention to the many events, people and places that have contributed to the richness of not only our state but also our nation. The marker program is administered by the Maryland Historical Trust in cooperation with the Maryland State Highway Administration. MHT reviews marker proposals, finalizes the wording, recommends general locations for placement and funds purchase of new markers. SHA determines the best siting, installs and maintains the markers, and funds the replacement of markers.

    Garrett County Historical Markers

  • Arts

  • Arts & Entertainment History of Oakland, Maryland Arts & Entertainment History of Oakland, Maryland

  • Historic Garrett County Photography by Leo Beachy & Podcast Historic Garrett County Photography by Leo Beachy & Podcast

    Born in 1874 Leo Beachy was a thirty-one-year-old schoolteacher and poet, had turned to photography to express his love of the environment and his community. With dogged persistence he photographed the hillsides of western Maryland while teaching himself to see the extraordinary beauty the county had to offer him. These pictures that were taken between 1905 and 1927, and are an expressive and eloquent window into Garrett County’s past which represent the life’s work of Leo J. Beachy.

    The photographs in the collection range from individual studio portraits to beautiful and expansive landscapes. This archive allows the entire community to share the visual, artistic and cultural heritage of Garrett County.

  • Barn Quilts in Garrett County - Driving Tour & Podcast Barn Quilts in Garrett County - Driving Tour & Podcast

    The Barn Quilt Association of Garrett County strives to provide a sustainable heritage tourism attraction/activity while preserving and celebrating the unique agriculture, history, arts and culture of our area through visual combinations of barns and quilt designs, to educate the public and showcase our Appalachian tradition. There are currently 48 barn quilts in Garrett County!

    Learn more about Barn Quilt Tours here.

    See Barn Quilt locations on the map below:

    *This project was funded in part by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

  • Natural Resources

  • Appalachian Forest Heritage Area Appalachian Forest Heritage Area

    The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area is an effort to integrate central Appalachian forest history, culture, natural history, products, and forestry management into a heritage tourism initiative to promote rural community development.
    AFHA celebrates the central Appalachian Forest, its culture, natural history, forest management and products. This grassroots partnership works in West Virginia and western Maryland to explore the relationship between the Appalachian highlands forest and the people who live within it.

    The Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area and surrounding Garrett County is located within the boundaries of the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area alongside Allegany County in Maryland, the remaining boundaries includes sixteen counties in the highlands of West Virginia.

    Visit Appalachian Forest Heritage Area Website

    View the AFHA Thematic Maps showcasing history, culture, nature and forestry.

  • Cranesville Swamp & Podcast Cranesville Swamp & Podcast

    Cranesville Swamp is a boreal peat bog relic left behind from the Pleistocene Epoch. The swamp, a lush forest and wetland is home to an exceptional variety of plants and animals, formed 15,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. This site was protected by The Nature Conservancy in stages, beginning in 1960. Since that time, the Conservancy has acquired more than 600 acres which will be held in trust in perpetuity.

    Explore the Cransville Swamp - Nature Conservancy


  • Garrett Trails Garrett Trails

    The main focus of Garrett Trails has been a 150 mile, multi-surface, multi-user trail, named the Eastern Continental Divide Loop Trail, named for its eastern leg running along the Eastern Continental Divide at Meadow Mountain. This trail connects state parks and forests with population centers in addition to connecting our loop with the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) to our north. For maps, trail information and how to get involved, please visit: www.garretttrails.org.

    Click to download the National Park Service map featuring the Eastern Continental Divide Loop trail.

  • This project has been financed in part with State Funds from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, an instrumentality of the State of Maryland.
    However, project contents or opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

  • Photo Credits: Tim Jacobsen, Bob Carney, Marcia Warnick, Sarah Myers, Crede Calhoun, Higher Focus Studios, Garrett Historical Society, Sarah Duck, Garrett County Chamber of Commerce