The U.S. state of Maryland is one of the original states in the nation. It was one of two states that donated the land that became the District of Columbia. (Virginia was the other state, but the state took the land back, and it is now present day Arlington.) Maryland is the home of Fort McHenry. What is special about Fort McHenry? It was here during the War of 1812 where the nation known as the United States of America established itself and was recognized as a world military power. During this battle, a man named Francis Scott Key who was taken prisoner on a ship in the Patapsco River watch the bombardment on the fort. When the smoke cleared, he saw the American flag waving high above the fort. This was the inspiration of a poem that later became the words of the National Anthem of the United Stated of America. The state is the home of the first balloon flight and the home of the oldest operating airport in the world. It is the home of the nation’s oldest Catholic church. The is it where the National Road, the first major road to go west, began. Most important of all, it is the birthplace of the railroad in the Western Hemisphere. Just miles from where America’s National Anthem was born was where the first rails were laid. From here, the rails made their way west.
Maryland is famous for its waterways mainly the Chesapeake Bay of which the Potomac River and the Susquehanna River, the longest unnavigable river in the nation, flow into. The state is not known for its mountains which cover the western third of the state to include the entire panhandle region. This was a challenge for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad which went into what is now West Virginia at Harper’s Ferry. The railroad went back into Maryland near Cumberland, and it continued west in the panhandle region to a town called Oakland.
What is special about Oakland? No. It was not the original home of the Raiders or the home of the Athletics. (That is Oakland, California.) It is a small town near the point of the Maryland Panhandle that is the county seat of Garrett County. The county is named for John Work Garrett. Who is John Work Garrett? He was a former president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad who helped bring the railroad into the western part of the state to include the town of Oakland. Sadly, he died in 1884, the same year that the train station was built.
The town of Oakland, Maryland, like many towns throughout the United States of America, saw regular passenger and freight service through the years. Sadly, like a majority of small towns, saw service cease. In 1974, the Train Station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It then became the home of the Baltimore and Ohio Train Station Museum.
Today, the old train station, built in a Gothic style, sits in its original location, and it is one of the centerpieces of the town. You can tour the men’s and women’s waiting rooms as well as the ticket office and the baggage storage room. Outside, you can see Locomotive Number 476 built in 1920 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and Caboose Number C-2884. It you are fortunate enough, CSX may reward your visit by passing by.
The 1884 Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station Museum is owned and managed by the Garrett County Historical Society. It is located at 117 E. Liberty Street just blocks from U.S. Route 219 and Maryland State Routes 39 and 135. (Signs will direct you from the museum.) The museum is open on Friday and Saturday from 10:00am to 3:00pm and Sunday from 12:00pm to 3:00pm. Admission is free. Parking is on site.
If you are in the panhandle region of Maryland, visit the town of Oakland. See the 1884 train station. During your visit, you may go back in time.
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