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Allegany County
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Garrett County
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Deer Park, page 10

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1916 at the age of 55. During this period he had made the Band one of the finest of its kind.

In the early days, illumination for the buildings and grounds was provided by gasoline forced throughout the premises by huge stone weights, this system being improved from time to time. The apparatus was housed in an ornamental stone cave or room set into the side of the bank at a safe distance from the hotel. Constructed by skilled stonemasons Jack Frost and Henry Lichty not long after the Main Building was erected, and with a keystone bearing the letters GAS, carved by Charles Steele, it still stands almost as solid as ever. Later an acetylene gas system was substituted for gasoline. The grounds were illuminated by arc lights set on high poles, and these produced so much light that the hotel grounds were visible at night for miles in all directions. From 1911 until 1916 natural gas, which had been introduced into Garrett County from West Virginia in 1909, was used for lighting and cooking. In 1916 the hotel buildings and the service buildings, together with the cottages and the grounds, all were provided with electricity.

The writer's father, who was stationed at the Oakland Hotel from 1881 until 1887, recalled some years ago that Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone in 1876, was a guest at the Oakland Hotel in the '80's. His young children used to amuse themselves by rigging up toy telephone lines among the trees in front of the hotel. He was not certain as to the year, but said it was around this time that Dr. Bell, who then was not at all well known, ran a telephone from the Oakland Hotel to the Deer Park Hotel, six miles away. The wire was strung on the telegraph poles along the railroad by Baltimore and Ohio Linemen Michael J. Sullivan and James C. Berrett. The writer's father aided in the construction and was present when the first words were spoken over this little pioneer telephone line:—"How many guests have you at Oakland today?" The reply was:— "76." Dr. Grosvenor, Dr. Bell's son in-law, has located letters indicating that Dr. Bell and his family were at the Oakland Hotel in the summer of 1883. However, Scharfs History of Western Maryland, published in 1882, states that in 1881-82 the Deer Park and Oakland Hotels were connected by a telephone line. From this it would appear that Dr. Bell was a visitor to Garrett County in 1881-82 as well as in 1883. Some years after the original installation the line was extended to include the Oakland, Mountain Lake Park, Deer Park Hotel Stations, Deer Park Tower and the home of the writer's father at Deer Park. This little line antedated by many years


Robert Browning Garrett


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Maryland, History

Western Maryland, 1750-1963

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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