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.Continue reading Garrett County’s History of Hosting Vacationers