The town of Log Town in the U.S. state of Maryland was established 1765 as a small agricultural town of farmers on the ‘Great Road West’. The town became famous for a large oak tree on the main road, and, in 1850, was named Forest Oak. The town was centered on the ‘Great West Road’ until 1873. What changed? The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad had arrived.
Area farmers were able to ship their produce to other towns. It was named and incorporated as Gaithersburg in 1878 after Benjamin Gaither, a man who had built his home next to the oak tree. The town grew around the railroad as a freight house and train station were built in 1884. Gaithersburg became a summer getaway spot from Washington D.C. as the railroad was a means to escape from the big city.
As the years went by, Gaithersburg grew. Today, it is a suburb of Washington D.C., and the farms that surrounded the town were taken over by tech companies as the region is one of the largest tech regions in the nation. The ‘Great West Road’ is now Maryland Route 355. As for the station and freight house, there is no freight in the freight house, and it now houses the Gaithersburg Community Museum, and the train station no longer serves passengers, well, it does. It houses a coffee shop for commuters to downtown Washington D.C. There is also a small park that features a steam locomotive Number 14 from the Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad, Caboose Number 904152 from the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, and a self-propelled passenger car from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Amtrak, unfortunately, does not stop here with the nearest stop in nearby Rockville, but you can still watch the Amtrak and CSX Trains roll by.
The next time you here about Gaithersburg, Maryland, think of it as a suburb of Washington D.C. that was transformed by the railroad.