The large stone fireplace that now stands like a sentinel along the railroad tracks is a solitary reminder of Oakland's colorful hey-day. In the late 1800's the area from here to the B&O station was a virtual beehive of activity. With twelve passenger trains arriving daily, the numerous hotels and establishments along Second Street and the now extinct Railroad Street were alive with throngs of people from east and west. One such establishment on Railroad Street was J.J. Raynold's Caf? and Saloon. Unfortunately, the saloon was the origin of a huge fire that occurred in the wee hours of June 12, 1898, a fire that ultimately consumed every building between the railroad crossing and the present historical society museum. With the promise of prosperous days ahead, the industrious merchants soon built bigger and better establishments. J.J. Reynolds' advertisements of May, 1899 boasted a new billiards room and "private drinking parlors upstairs for those wishing privacy and those wishing pure whiskey for medicinal purposes."
In 1939 the caf? and saloon were converted into a restaurant, owned by Andrew "Andy" Gonder and his wife Harriet. Andy spent many months constructing a huge fireplace on the railroad end of the building. When finished it was believed to be the largest fireplace in Maryland, and henceforth the establishment was referred to as "The Fireside." The stone projections on the upper portion of the fireplace once supported two massive hand-hewn beams, 27 feet long, that spanned the ceiling of the restaurant. The walls consisted of half-round wormy chestnut logs that gave the establishment a rustic and cozy atmosphere. Another fire in 1994 weakened the historic structure, and it was subsequently razed in 2003. The fireplace is a lonesome survivor of those bye-gone days.