A 19th Century Crossroads

A 19th Century Crossroads (HM1BKT)

Location: Gaithersburg, MD 20878 Montgomery County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 6.199', W 77° 17.453'

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The thriving crossroads community of Darnestown during the 1880s looked much different than it does today. Photographs from that time, however, help us understand what someone traveling through Darnestown might have experienced.

Darnestown grew during the 19th century to include a store and post office, blacksmith, schoolhouse, tavern, and church. Darnestown's growth and prosperity during this period was due to local grist mills, proximity to the Seneca Quarry, and the neighboring C&O Canal. Improved farming methods and the proliferation of slave labor encouraged farmers to grow tobacco, which was also sent down-river on barges.

By 1871, Darnestown ranked 9th among the most populous towns in Montgomery County with a population of ninety-nine. Population growth increased rapidly during the decade; by 1879 the population doubled to two hundred.

Champion Trees

Two champion trees are located between the former location of Dr. Beall's house and the graveyard: a Northern Catalpa and a Kentucky Coffee Tree. Both are native to the Midwest and likely planted circa 1800-1840, possibly by members of the Darne family.

As one of Darnestown's oldest trees, the Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) has witnessed much of the town's history. The tree, located to the east of this sign is 77 feet tall, has a trunk circumference of more than 20 feet and a crown spread of 85 feet. As the largest known tree of its species in Maryland, the catalpa was listed as a State Champion Tree on the 2009 Maryland Big Tree Register and a County Champion on the 2009 Montgomery County Register of Champion Trees.
Year Placed2012
Placed ByMontgomery Parks
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 4:36am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 301906 N 4330740
Decimal Degrees39.10331667, -77.29088333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 6.199', W 77° 17.453'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 6' 11.94" N, 77° 17' 27.18" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 240, 202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 14015 Darnestown Rd, Gaithersburg MD 20878, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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