Written by Vernell Doyle and Tim Doyle.
Sharpsburg, with only eight streets, has an international reputation as a travel destination. Best known as the site of the Battle of Antietam, it is also the location of the annual Memorial Day celebration observed since 1868. However, Sharpsburg and the surrounding area are more than a battle site. The “Big Spring” served Native Americans long before Joseph Chapline laid out the town’s 187 lots in 1763. Gen. Robert E. Lee, inventor James Rumsey, and abolitionist John Brown all stayed in town. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, many businesses lined Main Street. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Belinda Springs resort were well known. The resort is gone, but the canal’s towpath is popular with hikers and bikers. The businesses and industries of an earlier Sharpsburg have disappeared, but churches and cemeteries sit on original lots. The remaining structures of log and stone still line the streets, although they are no longer dirt lanes. Many properties retain their stables, chicken coops, or necessary houses.
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