Cumberland Times-News

Betty Van NewKirk - From the Museum

April 17, 2008

History of town can be read in its architecture

One of the most historic sites in Frostburg is the property at the corner of Main and Water streets occupied by St. Paul's Lutheran Church and its parsonage.

The land itself is significant. It is part of Military Lot #3629, which was bought by Josiah Frost in 1810, when he realized that the projected National Road would be built across it.

The going rate was $2 an acre, but the 40-odd quarter-acre town lots that he laid out along the route were offered at $50 each. Of these, the lot at the intersection of the Road and Water Street was Number 23.

Not all of the land transactions in those early days found their way into the record books; it is not clear to whom Lot #23 was sold. In 1828, when John Clise paid taxes on it, it was assessed at $30; in 1853, Gerard and Isabel Clary sold it to Jacob Steyer for $1,400. He gave half it, "for $1 and other considerations,'' to the Lutheran congregation in 1857, but he received $1,000 for the half in 1871.

The parsonage is of historical interest because it is probably the oldest dwelling in Frostburg that still looks as it did when it was built. There had been an earlier house on that site, a small frame structure that was so dilapidated in 1872 that Mr. Oder, editor of the Mining Journal, congratulated the congregation of their decision to demolish it.

The new structure had to be squeezed between the church and the lot line, so, contrary to the fashion of the time, the front door was placed at the side of the building, close to the church entrance. As in "railroad flats'' in New York, the only access to rooms at the back, upstairs and down, was through other rooms.

That problem has been rectified only recently. There have been minor changes over the years; a brick kitchen addition to replace the wooden one destroyed in the fire of September 1874; indoor plumbing; central heating and air conditioning.

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Betty Van NewKirk - From the Museum
  • Happy 200th to St. Paul's Lutheran congregation Today is the 200th birthday of the Lutheran congregation in Frostburg!

    On Aug. 14, 1808, 24 people joined in a communion service in the New Church, a log structure on the edge of what is now called the Prichard Farm.

    August 14, 2008

  • Quality, attitude of people make 'Burg special A note in the newspaper a week or so ago mentioned that Oprah Winfrey was looking for "the best small towns in America.'' Frostburg is the best one I know of - but unfortunately Oprah asked for photos or videos supporting the nomination.

    August 7, 2008

  • There's always something new under the sun! The popular press has been devoting a good bit of space in recent weeks to the new swimsuit, introduced by Speedo, which supposedly has contributed to the record-breaking times posted in the Olympic tryouts.

    July 24, 2008

  • Ward and his mansion stand proud in 'Burg I've had questions recently - not for the first time! - about William Ward and the house he built at 73 W. Main St. here in Frostburg.

    July 17, 2008

  • July 4th: Finding our beliefs Independence Day, like Christmas, is one of the few national holidays that has not been moved to Monday, to provide a four-day break for working people. It holds its own as the Fourth of July.

    July 3, 2008

  • Berry-picking brings back many memories Last week I went to Wiley Ford to pick strawberries. I came home with enough for several packets of frozen berries, for three jars of strawberry jam, generous spoonfuls of fruit on my breakfast cereal and shortcake with real whipped cream.

    June 26, 2008

  • Ambulance service has key community role The Frostburg Area Ambulance Service is currently asking for our help in raising money for the protective clothing that new government regulations require.

    June 19, 2008

  • Planet continues to change; Big One on horizon? In a year that is not yet half over, 2008 has already written itself into the record books for extremes of hot and cold, rain and drought, tornadoes and floods and earthquakes. Our planet Earth has been in a constant state of change.

    June 12, 2008

  • In tennis, individuals face each other as equals I'm not a sports person, but I like to watch tennis. During the three big summer tournaments - Paris, London and New York, played on three different surfaces - my TV is on, and I check the newspaper for details that I have missed.

    June 5, 2008

  • Arts are obviously alive in Allegany County Last week I had the pleasure of attending the spring concert of the Allegany Community Symphony Orchestra. The program was free, and nicely varied, and the instrumentalists were competent.

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