Pen Mar (Images of America)


Written by Franklin P. Woodring and Suanne K. Woodring.

With a vista of 2,000 square miles across the Cumberland Valley, Pen Mar sits in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains at an elevation of 1,400 feet. It was this breathtaking view that inspired the president of the Western Maryland Railway, Col. John Mifflin Hood, to establish Pen Mar Park, which opened on August 31, 1877. The park served as a magnet for visitors, and soon magnificent hotels and boarding houses appeared, making the area one of the most popular resorts in the East. Railways brought hundreds of thousands of tourists until the rise of the automobile, when people found their way to Pen Mar by cars and buses. However, when gas rationing took effect in World War II, the fate of Pen Mar Park was sealed. In March 1943, the park literally disappeared overnight. Then, the passion of those who cherished the park prompted its reopening, and today, a dance pavilion hosts concerts throughout the summer, rekindling memories of the original Pen Mar Park.

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