Middletown, Maryland
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 26.626 W 077° 32.726
18S E 280955 N 4369116
Quick Description: This entire town is a Civil War site. Historic markers, field hospitals, Civil War Trails markers, an historic district based on the town's Civil War connections & historic Route 40/National Road all make this a must-see for any history enthusiast.
Location: Maryland, United States
Date Posted: 8/18/2011 10:18:14 PM
Waymark Code: WMCBFN
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Turtle3863
Views: 4

Long Description:

There is an historic marker which offers some insight into the history here. I learned the Confederates marched right through here and the proud townspeople were very defiant towards them. Future President Rutherford B. Hayes was wounded in a battle nearby and brought here. The house where the Civil War marker is located (there are actually several of them) was a field hospital. I was taken on a tour and it was a fantastic site to see. (check out the gallery)

The site of the historic marker is a Civil War trails site and the interpretive itself was placed by the Maryland Civil War trails as well. The Trails aspect is reserved only for this site at 200 West Main Street, also known as the Central Maryland Heritage League, and a church down the road a bit. hat marker gives some keen insight into the happenings here in 1862. It reads:

When Gen. Robert E. Lee and part of the Army of Northern Virginia passes through Middletown on September 10–11, 1862, they encountered a chilly reception. The inhabitants of this single-street hamlet on the National Road loved the Union, and the ragged Confederates who marched west through here epitomized what the citizens regarded as a rebellion. Confronted by openly defiant residents, the Confederates considered Middletown the most Union of all places they saw during their first trek to Maryland. When part of Gen. George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac marched through town a few days later, the citizens were more welcoming.

Following the Battle of South Mountain on September 14, Middletown's churches and dwellings became hospitals for Union casualties. Future President of the United States Rutherford B. Hayes, then a lieutenant colonel of the 23rd Ohio Infantry, was wounded at Fox's Gap. His wife, Lucy, nursed him back to health at Jacob Rudy's home at 504 West Main Street.

The Battle of South Mountain, a National Historic Landmark as of a few years ago, raged nearby as well. There is an official Maryland State marker here as well which tells the tale. It reads: September, 1862, soldiers wounded in the Battle of South Mountain were hospitalized in churches here. July 1863, Gen. Meade established headquarters here as Union Forces pursued Confederates retreating from Gettysburg. July, 1864, Confederate Gen. Early occupied Middletown and collected $1,500 ransom. That sign was erected by the Maryland Civil War Centennial Commission sometime in the early 60s I would imagine based on the title.

I also wanted to include my NRHP listing for this Civil War town as well to give this site a little more credence:

There is so much to do and see in this town which lies along the historic National Highway. I learned about their Civil War history through the numerous wayside markers found on their main drag. One of the residents was nice enough to take me inside one of their contributing structures which doubled as a field hospital. The upstairs operating rooms are still set up just as they were during the Civil War. There must be 20 sites alone that could double as a National Highway waymark or even an individual Civil War site waymark.

The contributing buildings all bear plaques and are numbered by the local historical society. As far as historic districts go, this one is the most organized and well-maintained of them all. It reminded me of Abbottstown or New Oxford, PA, towns that lie on the Lincoln Highway.

Wikipedia told me: The Middletown Historic District comprises the historic center of Middletown, Maryland. Middletown became the chief community in the Middletown Valley in the late 18th century, retaining its importance until the 1930's, when the expanding influence of Frederick, Maryland, the construction of a bypass on US 40 and the abandonment of the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway produced a gradual decline. The historic district preserves many mid-19th century buildings in the central downtown area. To the east, the district includes early 20th century houses built along the trolley right-of-way, forming a streetcar suburb. The Airview Historic District includes a related area of early 20th century development to the east of town along the National Pike, separated from the main district by a section of newer development.

From the nomination form:

The Middletown Historic District is significant as an important center of transportation and commerce for the west-central Maryland region from the late 18th century through the early 20th century. The town enjoys an advantageous position on an important transportation route. Beginning in the 18th century, the little village in the "middle" of the valley provided a variety of services for travelers to the western "Barrens" of the Maryland colony, including lodging, blacksmithing, harness and wagon repairs, as well as spiritual sustenance in the churches established from the earliest years. Following the construction of the National Road and pike system, Middletown grew in importance as a center of commerce and culture for the valley throughout the 19th century. Its importance as a transportation hub was reinforced with the establishment of the Frederick and Middletown interurban electric railway line which eventually led to Hagerstown further west. In 1936 the new Route 40 was constructed between Frederick and Hagerstown, bypassing Middletown and undermining its central status. The closing of the electric railway line in 1947 further marginalized Middletown. The Middletown Historic District derives additional significance for its cohesive collection of architectural resources including residential, commercial, and ecclesiastical buildings reflecting a wide range of stylistic influences which mark the important periods of growth and construction in the town. Although little remains from the period of Middletown's initial settlement, the streetscape retains a number of late-18th century and early-19th century buildings of log and brick construction, which reflect the Germanic vernacular influence present throughout west-central Maryland. Several church buildings and numerous commercial buildings mark the mid-19th century construction period, and a noteworthy collection of Late Victorian period dwellings identify the late-19th and early-20th century expansion of the town to the east.

Related Website: [Web Link]

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