History & Culture
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.
- 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.
- Oakland B&O Museum
- Explore a beautifully restored Queen Anne style B&O train station dedicated in 1884. Exhibits lined with artifacts and have the opportunity to view the 1928 Baldwin steam engine, a recent addition to the museum.
- Transportation Museum
- Visitors can take a step back in time or maybe a car, boat or bike ride at the Transportation Museum. This two story museum features everything from carriages to fire engines. The second floor explore the history of Deep Creek Lake and includes an original Garrett County sailboat.
- 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, Hotels, Schools, Arts & Recreation, Industrial, Victorian, Military, and Cabin Room.
- Grantsville Community Museum
Coal Talks & Podcast
The 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
*This project was funded in part by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.
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. Explore Oakland and the Fort Alice Trail located
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.
Transportation & Maps
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 and 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
Oakland B&O Railroad
Memories of a Traveling Carnival
The Spruce Forest Artisan Village
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.
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, including the 1813 Casselman River Bridge and the many inns and taverns along the National Road that still exist today. 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. It was the technological wonder of its time. Much like the ancient RomanAppian Way, the National Road and the Casselman River Bridge are testaments to the ingenuity of our nation's peoples.
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
Historical markers have been a familiar sight on Maryland's roadways for more than half a century. 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 our state and 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 replacement markers.
Arts & Entertainment History of Oakland, Maryland
Historic Garrett County Photography by Leo Beachy & Podcast
Born in 1874 Leo Beachy was a schoolteacher and poet who at the age of thirty-one, 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 of the world around him. These pictures taken between 1905 and 1927 are an expressive and eloquent window into Garrett County’s past and 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
The Barn Quilt Association of Garrett County strives to provide a sustainable heritage tourism attraction/activity while preserving and celebrating the unique agriculture, history,and arts culture of our area through visual combinations of barns and quilt designs, to educate the public and showcase our Appalachian tradition. There are currently 42 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.
Cranesville Swamp is a boreal peat bog relic left behind from the Pleistocene Epoch. The swamp, a lush forest and wetland 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.
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 history, 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.
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.