Architectural & Historic Treasures of Washington County, Maryland     $59.95

by Patricia Schooley


  • 375 pages of history in hardcover
  • 64 pages of color photos
  • Over 500 photographs
  • Glossary and index
  • And much moreTreasuresCover

This book is a compilation of articles written by Patricia Schooley and published in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The articles describe the history of the county as seen through some of its surviving buildings as they have evolved over time. Special emphasis is placed on the early architectural features. Architectural & Historic Treasures of Washington County, Maryland features 140 articles, including references to original land patents, early settlers and their families, and the establishment of towns throughout the County. In addition, this book includes over 500 photographs, plus 64 pages of color photos, maps showing each location, and an extensive glossary and index. Publication of this book was made possible by the Washington County Historical Trust and the volunteer efforts of its members. All proceeds from the sale of this book are used to promote historic preservation in Washington County, Maryland.

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By Jon L. Albee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 8, 2012

By 1790, Frederick County was the most populous in Maryland. Washington County, the subject of this book, was carved out of Frederick County in 1776, essentially including the entire settled area from South Mountain to Cumberland.

The part of Frederick County that became Washington County included all of the communities settled by Germans traveling the Great Wagon Road south, out of Pennsylvania. While the early German heritage of Frederick County was slowly eroded by the western migration of English and Irish peoples from the Maryland tidewater, sheltered Washington County remained staunchly Germanic until well into the 20th century. Observers can feel this cultural frontier up to the present day, as the great brick-built farms of eastern Frederick give way to the thick, grey field-stone houses of western Frederick and Washington.

This area, in your reviewer’s opinion, is the most strikingly beautiful region of Maryland, both architecturally and geographically. This book is dedicated to the historic houses of Washington County, at the core of the Maryland Blue Ridge.

There are 400 pages featuring 150 of the most outstanding architectural landmarks. The vast majority of the entries are houses, but there are a few churches included too. The book is organized into chapters by geographic area (i.e. Hagerstown, North County, Sharpsburg, West County, etc…). Each chapter includes entries for important houses, farms, plantations and mills, including many large modern and vintage black & white photographs. Each entry includes a wonderfully descriptive essay, featuring both architectural and historical details. The essays were written as a Sunday column in the local newspaper over a period of 10 years.

About 50 of the most important sites are included in a section of color photographs in the middle of the book. There are many interior shots of important architectural details, though photographs do tend to be more functional than artistic. There are no plans or sketches included.

The geographic coverage of the catalog is comprehensive, but the entries themselves are selective. This book is NOT a comprehensive architectural survey of historic structures in Washington County, but is a selective presentation of the most noteworthy residential landmarks. The early Federal period (1780-1820) is particularly well represented though Grove Farm, an important site during the Battle of Antietam, is conspicuously absent.

The book is a relatively serious work of scholarship, and is as useful as a research and reference tool as it is a casual browser. If you have even a modest interest in the history of this area, I highly recommend this book. If you are a local historian, architectural historian or architectural craftsman with interest in this region (or any region along the Great Wagon Road or Shenandoah Valley), this book is a MUST for your library.


As a homeowner of an 18th century Germanic stone home I know how difficult it can be to find information on this unique style of colonial architecture. Patricia Schooley’s book is a gem for this kind of research. There are many limestone homes in Washington County, Maryland, due to the abundance of stone in the area. This is certainly not the only building material used however, and all the building styles of the colonial period are covered: log, wood siding and brick. This book is an compilation of articles written over a number of years in which she researched the history of various properties and then interviewed the current owners who discussed the experience of living in and restoring historic homes, then included an update at the time of publication. Some owners are descendants of the original residents of the region and some are newer inhabitants. Many were drawn by the rich Civil War legacy and others by the natural beauty of the area–the Blue Ridge Mountains begin in this area and the rolling hills and river valleys are an especially beautiful landscape. This is the county in which the Battle of Antietam was fought and through which Robert E. Lee retreated from Gettysburg.
The extensive research into each property is fascinating. The deeds are traced back to the original land grants and followed through to the current owners. Stories are told of the historical significance of the property and memories are shared of those who have lived in the homes over the years. Photographs of the homes are included in each article, many very old and some showing the dilapidated state of the homes before restoration. The photographs are very informative and helpful. There is also a 64 page color section with additional photos of many of the homes. I have included pictures of this section below.
Most homes are from the 1760-1800 period. Some are from the 1800-1840 period and a few are from the 1880-1900 time period.
I highly recommend this book for those interested in Mid-Atlantic colonial architecture. It is a fantastic resource. It was the winner of the Maryland Historical Trust Heritage Book Award in 2003.