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June 1, 2021

Hagerstown, a History

Established in 1762 by Jonathan Hager, Hagerstown has a far more interesting history than you might realize. Starting with the early settlement period, this article will explore Hagerstown’s development as a crossroads of history and commerce. Read on to learn more. The land on which Hagerstown currently stands was originally settled by various East Coast Native American tribes, including the Susquehannock, Piscataway, Catawba, and Lenni Lenape. The first known non-Native American visitors to the Hagerstown area included land surveyors and fur traders.  By 1739, the area’s cheap, fertile land and plentiful natural resources had attracted farmers and craftsmen like the German-born Jonathan Hager, who patented a tract of land in the vicinity of present-day Hagerstown City Park called “Hager’s Fancy” from Charles Calvert, the 5th Lord Baltimore. It was here that Hager built a house that would double as a fort and trading post.  In 1762, Jonathan Hager, by now a leading citizen and French and Indian War veteran, laid out and established Elizabethtowne, named for his beloved wife, Anna Elizabeth Kirschner Hager. Elizabethtowne would be formally renamed Hagerstown in 1814.  By the mid-to-late 1760s, Jonathan Hager had acquired several thousand acres of land in the city, which he proceeded […]
January 28, 2021

Hie on up to Braddock Heights

Close your eyes. Think about your favorite summer activity. Does your picture-perfect summer day include a trip to the shore? How about a visit to your local amusement park? Perhaps it includes a dip in your community pool, or, heck, maybe even a visit to the bowling alley or roller rink? From the late nineteenth until the middle of the twentieth century, Western Marylander’s could go for a swim in their community pool, spend a day at a small amusement park, or go to a local rolling rink or bowling alley. Or, you know, they could just hop on the trolley, “Hie on up to Braddock” and spend a fun-filled summer day at scenic Braddock Heights, where they could do all that, and more. Founded in 1896 and situated atop Catoctin Mountain in Frederick County, MD, Braddock Heights was named for its use as a mountain pass by British General Edward Braddock during the Seven Years War. Today a quiet, picturesque unincorporated community, Braddock Heights was once home to a bustling summer resort community that included an amusement park, community pool, scenic overlook, ski resort, and the oldest roller rink in the United States. With all its amenities and attractions, […]
October 16, 2020

The 1955 Fairchild National Sports Car Races

Close your eyes. Can you hear it? The roar of the engines? The screams of nearly 15,000 exhilarated and delighted fans? The deafening rumble of 200 cars surging by at speeds of 120 miles an hour? The twelfth race in the 1955 SCCA National Sports Car Championship season, the Fairchild National Sports Car Races took place at the Hagerstown Regional Airport on Sunday, October 16, 1955. The Fairchild National Sports Car Races consisted of seven separate races, all of which were run on a makeshift, 2.4 mile closed circuit track built on the runway. The first major event of its kind to take place in Hagerstown, the Fairchild National Sports Car Races was sponsored by the Fairchild Aircraft Employee Recreation Association.  Although it wasn’t technically a “pro” race (the drivers were considered amateur racers, and they weren’t competing for purses, but for trophies, plaques, and silver serving trays), the Fairchild National Sports Car Races drew more than 200 participants nationwide! Most notable among the participants was Jim Kimberly, William C. (Big Bill) Spear, World Champion Phil Hill, Briggs Cunningham, Paul O’Shea, and the Boston, Massachusetts speed ace Sherwood Johnston. In addition to the racers, the event garnered a crowd of […]
January 17, 2020

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