Muddy Creek Falls is a local landmark that had some famous visitors. Picture it – a nature-loving President takes a spur-of-the moment getaway to rendezvous with three of the most powerful industrialists in the Western world at a campsite in the mountains of Western Maryland, where they ride horses, shoot rifles, chop wood, and slumber in tents beside a trickling stream.
This describes just one of several trips taken to Swallow Falls by Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone. The group was often accompanied by naturalist William Burroughs, before his death in 1921. Calling themselves “The Vagabonds”, they made a series of summer trips which took them through most of Eastern America. It was the friendship between Burroughs and Ford that acted as the catalyst for these excursions. From two very different worlds, the naturalist philosopher and the industrialist found common ground upon their first meeting around 1913. During tour of the Everglades, they were joined by Edison and talk of camping trips ensued.
“The country abounded
with deer, bears, panthers, wolves, wildcats, catamounts, wild turkeys, foxes,
rabbits, pheasants, partridges, wild bees, and in all the streams trout without
number. The whole face of the country
was like a beautiful sheet of wallpaper, variegated with all shades of
color.” Forty –four Years of the
Life of a Hunter, Meshach Browning
When thinking of great pioneer men, names like Davey Crockett and Daniel Boone easily spring to mind. Equally important in the history of the American hunting and frontier experience is tale told by local legend Meshach Browning in Forty-four Years of the Life of a Hunter. Writing by candlelight with a turkey quill pen, Browning recorded the daily trials and tribulations of his hard-scrabble existence in the wilds of Western Maryland. During his hunting career he claims to have killed between three and four hundred bears, about fifty panthers, over two thousand deer and scores of wolves and wildcats.
His account reflects not only the determination of early settlers as they surmounted the difficulties of frontier life but also his great love for an area he called “the prettiest country in the world.”
Meshach Browning’s Early Life
Browning’s roots in the United States can be traced back to Captain John Browning, who arrived just fourteen years after the founding of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Meshach’s grandfather, William, and father, Joshua, served under George Washington’s command in the 1755 expedition against Fort Duquesne. There they saw the defeat of General Edward Braddock. Meshach Browning was born in Frederick County, MD in 1781.
Garrett County’s cool summers, crisp mountain air and breathtaking scenery have lured visitors to the area for over 150 years. Long before Deep Creek Lake or Wisp Resort were even a thought, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad transported wealthy summer patrons out of the city heat to the grand hotels and elaborate summer cottages of Oakland, Deer Park, Loch Lynn and Mountain Lake Park.
During the post Civil War period, the B&O Railroad
increased its passenger traffic by capitalizing on cool Garrett County
summers. In the days before air
conditioning, it became quite fashionable escape to the mountains from the
oppressive urban heat. This expansion
spawned a chain of posh hotels along the route west. B&O built two new resort retreats on the
mountain top during the 1870’s. The
first to be completed was the Deer Park Hotel, which opened for business on
July 4th, 1873. Featuring a
golf course, a building for billiards and bowling, private rental cottages and
a large glass-covered bath house containing two swimming pools as well as
Turkish and Russian baths, it was quite a spectacle in rural Garrett
County. The Deer Park attracted many
famous visitors over the years including General Ulysses S. Grant and President
Grover Cleveland, who honeymooned at the resort.
The overwhelming success of the Deer Park inspired the construction of another hotel just a few years later. Located along the tracks and across from the train Oakland train station, the Oakland Hotel featured a large ballroom, accommodations for over a hundred guests, and a large park of maple, oak and pine. In 1883, Alexander Graham Bell took a “working vacation” at the Oakland hotel and oversaw the installation of Garrett County’s first telephone service. A line connected the Oakland and Deer Park resorts which were about five miles apart.
Garrett County weather is somewhat legendary. Located in the Allegheny Mountain range of the Appalachians, Garrett County’s microclimate strongly contrasts with Maryland’s otherwise temperate conditions. Dead on the path of Lake Erie’s snow belt, the area is known for its cold winters and steady snow dumps. As much as 200-plus inches has been recorded on Marsh Mountain. In terms of snow days per year, Garrett County can be one of the snowiest areas east of the Rockies and has been know to surpass much of New England in overall snowfall. Throughout the area’s history, the harsh winter weather has played a major role in the lives of my ancestors and myself.
Fort Alice is one of the many historic sites that you can visit in Garrett County. It is located in Oakland, the county seat. If you are planning to visit the museums in Oakland, this is a great addition to your itinerary.
The History of Fort Alice
On Sunday, April 2, 1863 the Civil War came to Garrett County. The crack of a Union sentry’s warning shot pierced the quiet of an otherwise tranquil Oakland Sunday. They had the good manners to wait until church services had ended. Confederate soldiers invaded the town under the leadership of Colonel Asher Harman. The raid took the town by complete surprise. Everyone from the citizens exiting church to the Union soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Alice were shocked by the site of the soldiers in gray.
As the citizens scurried in the streets, seeking the safety of their homes, the Confederate soldiers took food from hotels and stores for themselves and for their animals. Some ate dinner at private homes, as the impeccable manners of the Rebel soldiers were hard to refuse. Also, some townsfolk were even reimbursed for their hospitality with Confederate currency. Continue reading Fort Alice: The Civil War Comes to Garrett County
Most locals know the man and the story about this very successful businessman. Michael “Jim” Delligatti who established Uno’s, The Honi Honi Bar, Garrett 8 Cinemas, and Arrowhead Market was a well-known fixture here at Deep Creek Lake. His claim to fame, which has reached far around the world, is the invention of the Big Mac sandwich at McDonald’s. We have all enjoyed our share of this famously delicious burger that revolutionized the fast food world. Mr. Delligatti opened his first McDonald’s restaurant in 1957 and branched out 47 more franchise stores over the next two decades. Competing against the large sandwich offerings of Big Boys and Burger King, Mr. Delligatti proposed a new sandwich called simply the Big Mac! McDonalds executives didn’t receive the idea well at first but eventually got the green light to pilot the sandwich in the Uniontown market in 1967. The rest is history!
The residents here at the lake have immense respect for the Delligatti family and were saddened by the news of his passing in late November. Remember the next time you dig into a Big Mac the interesting story of the man behind its creation.
Curious about the low lake levels? Here’s the scoop. Construction is proceeding on the Western Conveyance Sewer System (Shingle Camp Road and Stockslager Road) and the installation of the sewer line near the breast of the dam works best at the lowest possible lake levels. The power company has been cooperating with the sewer construction contractor to make releases to bring down the water level. Those additional releases have enabled more whitewater fun on the Youghiogheny River. Never fear, though, we have been assured that the “intake” for snowmaking water will be maintained. It is now time to “THINK SNOW!”
Sweet Banana Pepper Mustard Recipe. It is that time of the season! Canning, canning and more canning! While over at a friend’s house a few weeks back and tried an amazing sweet banana pepper mustard. I literally could not put it down. The next day I immediately went out and bought a fresh peck of peppers and got to work. Recipes online are all similar for the most part with one major fault in my opinion…too much sugar!!! Most recipes call for 6 cups of sugar which is far too sweet for me. Here’s what I suggest as a base recipe. You can’t go wrong.
1 QT of yellow mustard
1 QT of cider vinegar
2 cups of sugar
2-4 Tbsp of honey
1 Tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup of water
36 large, 40 medium or 50 small banana peppers
Optional- 2-4 hot banana peppers
Seed and chop peppers
Mix everything together
Warm to a boil stirring constantly so you don’t burn the mustard.
Ladle into hot sterilized jars. Cap with sterilized hot lids and snug rings and process 10 to 15 minutes in water bath.
Fall in love with this delicious snack! Eat it with pretzels, hot dogs, sandwiches, glazes on hams or whatever else floats your boat! Try adding your own flair to each batch if you like. I tried fresh ginger on my last batch and it was a hit with the family!
Independence Day-*Accident Parade*- *Fire on the Mountain*
Independence Day-Accident Parade-Fire on the Mountain. We are closing in on 240 years ago that we gained our independence from Great Britain with Thomas Jefferson penning the Declaration of Independence. John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
Here at Deep Creek Lake (LIKE our page!) we follow suit celebrating in very traditional ways that John Adams may have been referring to. Most folks who show up here bring friends and family to take a little time away from work to celebrate our great country. The burgers and dogs will be charring on the grill with potato salad, pork and beans, and all the other fixins’ that will be ready to consume! Families generally break down into different groups to enjoy some lake time. The water-skiers and wakeboarders generally get there fill in the early morning hours or near dusk when lake traffic has subsided. The tubing crowd welcomes the busier boat crowd so they can try to launch their friends off the rough and tumble tubes. The paddleboard/kayak and canoe crowd normally fit in wherever they can find a calm cove.
Locals traditionally enjoy the Fireman’s Parade in the sleepy small town of Accident. It is there you find small town living at its best. This fireman’s parade is scheduled for an 11am start through the main street on Accident. Chicken dinners, hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, ice cream cones, drinks and homemade pies will be served at the Accident Fire hall starting at noon. The historical Drane House will be open from noon until 5pm. Come take a few minutes away from your vacation and bring the kids down to join in on our local tradition. How can you go wrong with an event that has a parade, arts and crafts, food, mechanical bull, hay rides, bounce house, games and historical tours? Hope to see you there!
The star of the holiday weekend hands down is the Fire on the Mountain fireworks display at Wisp Resort. The show is “fired” from the tubing park at Wisp and can be seem from many vantage points throughout the county. The most popular is to go by boat to McHenry Cove and watch from the water. You will see hundreds of boats jockeying to find the best place to watch the show. Garrett Highway Rte. 219 also has hundreds of folks lined up to watch the show from lawn chairs perched perfectly across the lake. No matter where you find a place to enjoy the fireworks show, please be safe and respectful of everyone and have a super vacation with us here at the lake!
Deep Creek Lake Celebrates 91 Years. Deep Creek Lake is coming up on its 91st anniversary of existence! Maryland’s largest freshwater lake is loved by many and has an interesting history. Deep Creek Lake encompasses about 3900 acres with 65 miles of shoreline. This man-made lake got its start in 1925 as the result of an effort undertaken by the Youghiogheny Hydro Electric Corporation to harness the power of the Youghiogheny River. A 1300-foot-long impoundment dam was constructed to stem the flow of water. Thousands upon thousands of trees were removed from the area to be flooded and 15 miles of primary and secondary roads were relocated. It was estimated that it would take close to 6 months to fill the new Reservoir but heavy rains and snowfall quickened the process to only a couple of months.
On May 26th 1925, the hydroelectric plant kicked in the service with water from the lake transported to a Powerhouse through a 7000-foot tunnel. A remarkable feat at the time. Although the lake was constructed originally to harness energy it has become Maryland’s favorite recreational lake for fishing, boating and plane ole relaxing. The lake is responsible for transforming the economy and quality of life here to all Garrett County residents and the many thousands of visitors and homeowners who call this place home. The lake is an economic engine for Garrett County spurring growth in the tourism industry and generating millions in property tax revenue. In the heat of summer, it is estimated that we see half a million visitors that enjoy the area. Through its many personalities of the past, Deep Creek Lake has evolved into a place where families create and retain lifetimes of memories.