Photo credit: E. Wallace , 01/2001

Property Name: Keedysville Historic District
Date Listed: 10/26/2001
Inventory No.: WA-II-1145
Location: Keedysville, Washington County

Description: The Keedysville Historic District is located along the old Boonsboro-Sharpsburg turnpike at its crossing of the Little Antietam Creek. Maryland Route 34 bypasses the small town to the northwest, leaving Main Street free of non-local traffic. The historic district boundary is within the corporate limits of the town, generally focused on the properties lining Main Street and those associated with the now-abandoned railroad facilities. A series of back alleys marks the extent of the original lots fronting on Main Street. Several of the historic farmsteads associated with the town's history are located along the edges of Keedysville and remain intact. Keedysville's historic lots were laid out primarily along the east and west sides of North and South Main Street. Main Street is divided by the abandoned Washington County Branch of the B&O Railroad track. The center 'square' of Keedysville is located at the junction of the railroad and Main Street. Just to the southeast of the railroad crossing, the Little Antietam Creek turns west and bisects the town before turning south again. The streetscape of Keedysville reflects the historic development of the town through several architectural stylistic periods. The earliest settlement period buildings are generally centered on the creek and on Dog Street and Coffman Farms Roads. These are primarily of stone or log construction and show a strong Germanic vernacular influence. Later brick and log buildings from the first half of the 19th century, associated with the establishment of the town and the turnpike, are located along Main Street and reflect a melding of the Germanic vernacular with the nationally popular Greek Revival architectural style. In the second half of the 19th century, the coming of the railroad brought a new prosperity and the addition of numerous Italianate influenced hotels, storefronts, and cornices. A row of distinctive High Victorian Gothic influenced houses mark the pinnacle of Keedysville's prosperity. Several early 20th century Colonial Revival and Bungalow style houses, as well as the addition of Colonial Revival porches to many of the earlier buildings defines the final period of historic development. Later development is generally relegated to the outskirts of town.

Significance: The Keedysville Historic District is significant for its role in the settlement and development history of Western Maryland. Beginning with the 1768 establishment of Jacob Hess' mill along the old Conococheague migration road, the site along the bank of the Little Antietam Creek grew with each new transportation development. Samuel Keedy delineated the town lots following the construction of the Boonsboro-Sharpsburg turnpike. Shops and manufactures were established and expanded with the advent of the railroad through the center of town. The town's prosperity waned with the loss of the railroad in 1953, preserving the historic streetscape. The district is also significant for the wide range of architectural stylistic influences present on the buildings through the historic town. The 18th century Hess House, among several other early stone and log buildings, reflect the Germanic vernacular influence present in settlement buildings throughout Western Maryland. Later development periods are represented in several brick Greek Revival influenced buildings, late 19th century Italianate, and Late Victorian Gothic. Colonial Revival and Bungalow style houses appear in the final development period.


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