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.
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.
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.
The Drane House Garrett County’s Past. I took a ride on an unusually warm winter day just a few miles outside of Deep Creek Lake to the historical Drane House in sleepy Accident, Maryland. Garrett County’s past is vast and the Drane House plays an important role being the oldest building standing. Continue reading Drane House-Garrett County’s Past
Deep Creek Lake had a brief relationship with one of the world’s most incredible minds in September, 1946. Einstein has been associated with the making of the atomic bomb, something that he indeed had come up with in theory, but did not implement as a war weapon; he was at heart a pacifist. Let’s put this into context as to what was happening prior to his visit. The atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan just about a year before his visit to Deep Creek Lake. This was something that weighed heavy on him as he was pictured on the cover of Time magazine in front of a mushroom cloud. I don’t think it was ever his intention to unleash such a destructive act on humanity and his visit to Deep Creek lake fell into the area of his life when he had to reflect on the weight of bombings on mankind.
Besides getting out of the spotlight, he also had Dr. Tom Wilson examine him for an aneurysm of the aorta of the abdomen. Einstein stayed at Dr. Wilson’s lake cottage for his two-week vacation and was seen taking daily walks with his dog around the cottage vicinity. He was seen talking to strangers who had no clue who he was. Dr. Wilson hired Blair Thompson, as attendant for Mr. Einstein, under the orders to make sure he had everything he needs. Blair noted that he felt at ease around him and that he was a very nice man. Blair witnessed Mr. Einstein fishing, although he never caught anything. He also had an interest in watching birds and squirrels through his binoculars. He also had some sailing experiences that we are lucky enough to have captured by photograph. Mr. Einstein would sail with a friend or go alone and he noted that you can get nearer to God at the lake. He also told Blair Thompson that the rainstorms at the lake had a way of cleansing the air. Mr. Einstein, on his departure, kindly gave Mr. Thompson a $50 bill in an envelope that he had signed at the top corner. Mr. Thompson had planned to save this special and historical signature but through the years lost track of it yet he still remembers the fond memories associated with his visit.
You don’t have to be a nuclear physicist to understand why people are seduced into the solace of Deep Creek Lake, as its brings out the calmness on your existence itself.
Casselman River Bridge State Park is a 4-acre parcel located east of Grantsville in Garrett County on U.S. Route 40. It is a popular area for fly fishermen, photographers, and history enthusiasts. When the 80-foot span was erected in 1813, it was the longest single span stone arch bridge in the United States. Skeptics predicted that the bridge would collapse once the supporting timbers were removed – yet the bridge stood, serving as an important link on the National Road from 1813 to 1933. Although the bridge no longer carries vehicular traffic, it is open to pedestrians.
Today the Casselman River Bridge stands as a picturesque relic of Maryland’s early transportation history, and a tribute to those who designed and built the National Road. To the east of the bridge is the “Spruce Forest Artisan Village.” The village’s historic buildings were moved from various locations in Western Maryland and restored on the site. They currently serve as studios for a variety of artists. Adjacent to Spruce Village are the Penn Alps restaurant and gift shop, a historic structure that dates to 1818, and Stanton’s Mill, a working grist mill originally established in 1797.
Picnicking – Several picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Fishing – the Casselman River is a popular spot for fly-fishing. Please check the current Maryland Fishing Guide for special regulations.
Restroom – There is a waterless restroom for visitor use.
Alcohol Policy – Alcohol is not permitted anywhere in Casselman River Bridge State Park.
Casselman River Bridge State Park is handicapped-accessible, featuring a paved walkway from the parking lot to the bridge, and an accessible picnic site, parking area, and restroom.
Greetings from Deep Creek Lake-Festival of Trees. GarrettCounty is home to some very talented artisans. One of these individuals is local Luthier Roger Skipper, who builds amazing first class guitars, violins, mandolins, banjos, ukuleles, dulcimers, dobros, and stand up basses. Anyone who plays a string instrument will most certainly appreciate his incredible work. Each instrument is visually a work of art with custom detailed inlays from the headstock to the bindings.
Looking good is one thing, but the sound that these instruments make is nothing short of stellar. I stopped by his shop the other day and met two musicians from the Pittsburgh Symphony who have bought a total of 10 instruments from him so far. A violinist has bought two violins and has been inspired to buy two mandolins and ukuleles and is learning how to play bluegrass from Roger (who plays all the instruments he makes).
Roger just buffed out an acoustic dreadnought style guitar that day and we all took a turn playing this wonderful guitar. It was the most amazing sounding instruments I have ever heard. Don’t follow the hype of big builders who mass produce “famous” styles. Get Roger to build you an amazing custom instrument that you will cherish for your lifetime.. Email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him The Spiker Team referred you. You will not be sorry! Also check out his website which is under construction. Skipper Strings. Here is a photo of the handcrafted sunburst dreadnought that is currently for sale.
Other handy work…
Coming up in Deep Creek on November 29th & 30th is the Festival of Trees, a fundraiser for the DoveCenter. Bring the kiddo’s and let them meet Santa Claus at the breakfast celebration between 9am-10am on both Friday and Saturday. Don’t miss the silent action for a great deal on some unique items.
The Honi also has their Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 30th from 7:00-8:00PM. Events include: Christmas Carols, Kids and Pet Photos with Santa Claus, FREE Hot Chocolate and live band entertainment by the Remedy from 8-11pm.
There still continue to be a good amount of real estate settlements taking place. This is a good sign that sales will continue to pick up in 2014. These properties have recently had price reductions, indicating that the seller’s may have good motivation to sell: http://mrislistings.mris.com/DE.asp?ID=55054075329.
Have a great week and think snowJ! (I hear we may be getting more of it later in the week.)
Greetings from Deep Creek Lake-Winter-Veterans Day-Real Estate . There are very few things we can predict in life and weather would certainly be one of those! Our temperatures here have been rising and plummeting from day to day, which is pretty typical for this time of year. I know many of us would just as well have snow so that we can enjoy its beauty but we will have to patiently wait for Mother Nature to run its course and bless us with such. If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to secure your season pass at Wisp Resort. You will not want to wait in line to get it once the slopes open!
As we transition towards winter, remember that docks have to be out of the water by December 1st and can be returned to the water no earlier than April 1st. They like to make sure all objects are out of the water before the lake freezes. Our snowmobiles are begging for a frozen lake this year! The last few winters, the temperatures haven’t been consistently cold enough for the lake to freeze to the point where I’m comfortable riding the water. We saw a few brave enthusiasts out there last year but we were not one of them!
Griffin enjoyed his first office Halloween party, especially due to the fact that Mommy allowed him to taste a few of the homemade dishes. I’m not sure he was digging the costume, however! I’ll have to do a better job shopping for one next year.
Event wise, we are kind of in a lull but there will be some upcoming winter events over the next month that we’ll be sure to tell you about. There is, however, a Veteran’s Day Parade in Oakland at 10:00 on Monday, November 11th. This is something I wasn’t even aware but now that I am I’ll have to check it out for myself. What a great way to honor those who’ve served our country!
The Betsy Spiker Holcomb Team’s featured listings for the week are a contemporary home in RedRunHeights, a waterfront home site on Stockslager Road and a Lincoln Lodge on Mayhew Inn Road:
These are the last 15 sales to take place at Deep Creek/Garrett County and you will see that the sales prices are getting closer to the asking prices: http://mrislistings.mris.com/DE.asp?ID=54937273874. Remember that we have an auto email service that we provide that will email you listings within your specific search criteria as soon as they hit the market. If you are not already setup on this service and would like to be please let us know.
A thought from Napoleon Hill for your weekend…Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.