Come to the paradise of the mountains. Come and see the great hills which God
has piled up. Come and hear and see the greatest achievements of man.
tours on picturesque B. & O., 1897
Mountain Lake Park, a town of unique character in Garrett County, Maryland, was
listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. It is a fine
example of a Victorian resort that grew out of two American activities of the
nineteenth century, the Methodist Camp Meeting which was aimed at spiritual
renewal and a Chautauqua, an educational and recreational assembly with
programs that included lectures and concerts modeled after the original summer
schools inaugurated at Chautauqua, New York in 1874.
In 1881 a group of businessmen and Methodist ministers from Wheeling, West
Virginia were inspired to create their own Chautauqua resort. They visited 800
acres known as Hoye's Big Pasture near Oakland in Garrett County. Impressed by
the picturesque scenery, the cool, clean mountain air, and convenient train
service, the men saw this as the ideal place to refresh the body as well as the
soul. They purchased the land for the sum of $4,672 and named it Mountain Lake
Park. As for a lake, one didn't exist until about 1896 when a twenty-two acre
artificial lake was developed for swimming and boating.
The Ticket Office, Bashford Auditorium
The Assembly Hall was the first building constructed in the Park in the spring
of 1882. The first camp meeting was held on these grounds in July 1882 and the
first Chautauqua session which blended religious revivalism with cultural and
educational activities took place in August. This was the heart of the Park
where the Methodist faithful gathered for services, classes, and cultural
events. The community's religious and educational programs and their code of
conduct provided vacationers with an alternative to the sinful and frivolous
entertainments available in other nearby resorts which were founded as secular,
speculative ventures. Loch Lynn, a nearby town, was less stringent. That led to
the popular saying, "If you want to sin, go to Loch Lynn. For Jesus sake, go to
The Ticket Office
refurbished by the Town of Mountain Lake Park, 2003.
For the comfort of those early visitors, the Mountain Lake
Park Association provided tents that could be rented for the season. A building
boom of cottages, hotels and boarding houses soon followed. Building lots sold
for one hundred dollars each. Purchasers had to agree that any house built
would cost at least three hundred dollars, unless the builder were a clergyman,
in which case the cost was reduced to one hundred fifty dollars. The majority
of these houses were frame and were built in various interpretations of the
"Country Gothic" or Rural Queen Anne styles, and were painted in the bright
colors. The street plan was designed by H.E. Faul who was the engineer of
Baltimore's Druid Hill Park. Christian principles were promoted and covenants
were established for those living and visiting, which prohibited gambling, card
playing, dancing, and the use of alcohol, even in one's own home.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's arrival in 1851 had launched the area as a
resort destination. B&O owned a resort hotel in Oakland, two miles to the
west of Mountain Lake and they also owned the fashionable Deer Park Hotel, four
miles to the east. That created six miles of continuous summer resorts with
trains frequently stopping at all three stations. True to its strict religious
character, though, the Mountain Lake Park Association prohibited train service
on Sunday. In support of Mountain Lake Park, B&O offered passengers special
excursion rates and for many years it gave the Park ten percent of all tickets
With the decline in the popularity of Chautauqua programs, World War I, the
change in vacation styles with the introduction of the automobile, the Mountain
Lake Park Association dissolved in 1921, handing over its property to the
Methodist Board of Foreign Missions. In 1931 Mountain Lake Park incorporated as
a town. But with a portion of the town designated for historic preservation in
1983 and the refurbishing of the Ticket Office by the Town of Mountain Lake
Park in 2003, the colors of Mountain Lake Park are again bright.
More information on Mountain Lake Park and the walking tours around the Historic
District can be obtained from the Mountain Lake Park Historic Association, the
Town of Mountain Lake Park, 1007 Allegheny Drive, Mountain Lake Park, MD 21550.
|The photographs and postcards included in this
collection were lent by the Mountain Lake Park Historic Association, Hopwood
and Karen Wooddell, James and Shirley Munford, and Kenneth and Cynthia Witte.
The assistance of Karen Wooddell was greatly appreciated.
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. 1897. Routes and rates for summer
tours via picturesque B. & O., 1897. Baltimore, Md.: Passenger Dept.,
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
Pangborne, J.C., 1884. Mountain Lake Park: Summit of the Alleghanies.
Illustrated by E.H. Smith. Chicago: Knight and Leonard.
Patrick, Helen, 2003. "Mountain Lake Park Historic District Audio Tour"
Written for the Mountain Lake Park Historic Association and recorded by Chip
Lee and Kathleen Gibbs. Available from the Mountain Lake Park Town Office.
Young, Jared W., 1951. "When the well comes in; a series of articles on
the early history of the Mountain Lake Park Association, and the town of
Mountain Lake Park, Maryland", appearing in the Mountain Democrat News,