Frederick County, Maryland
As requested on June 16, 2000, I have assessed the archeological potential of the subject project. The undertaking proposes urban rehabilitation in the Town of Jefferson. Components of the undertaking include – but may not be limited to – milling and resurfacing of MD 180, drainage, safety, and sidewalk improvements, and landscape enhancements. The project’s Area of Potential Effects is defined by the limits of existing right of way extending along MD 180 from approximately 4,500 feet west of its intersection with Lander Road to approximately 2,500 feet east of its intersection with Holter Road. Mary F. Barse conducted a field visit on August 3, 2000, to ascertain current land use and conditions.
No previously identified archeological sites are recorded in the immediate vicinity of the project area, and no prior archeological investigations have been conducted. However, the western one-half of the APE is situated within the Jefferson Survey District (F-2-39). The Town of Jefferson was initially laid out in 1774 on a 96 acre tract owned by Mrs. Eleanor Medley and called New Town. It contained 40 rectangular lots – 20 aligned on each side of MD 180 – stretching between what are now Lander Road and Old Middletown Road. In 1795 twenty-two additional lots were platted by Elias Delashmutt on the western end of the original section, and called New Freedom. It was not until 1831 that both sections were incorporated as Jefferson by the Maryland Legislature.
Jefferson’s growth in the 19th century was due largely to traffic on the road between Frederick and the railroad town of Brunswick. Wagon traffic and livestock drives were frequent. Concomitantly, commercial development intensified to serve the surrounding farms as well as travelers. The Hagerstown and Frederick (electric) Railway linked Jefferson to Frederick, Hagerstown, Thurmont, and points west, in 1907. However, MD 180 remained the only link to the closest steam powered rail station in Brunswick.
Examined historic maps (Griffith 1795; Bond 1858; Martenet 1865, 1885; Lake 1873; USGS1910) depict Jefferson on what is now MD 180 as early as 1795. It is designated Trap Town at the close of the 18th century by Griffith (1795). Local history suggests that the name derives from the large number of taverns operating at the time. Purportedly, taverns were situated at both ends of town. Consequently, a traveler could be “trapped” on the way in or out of town. Numerous structures are shown on both sides of the Harpers Ferry Road/Ridge Road (MD 180) by Bond in 1858. One of these is a structure dating to the 1840s and later known as Todd Inn, and the Hoffman House. The structure was situated within the APE on the north side of MD 180 facing Lander Road. It was a five-bay, two and one-half story brick building with double entrances in the south façade. It was reputedly one of Jefferson’s turnpike taverns and was torn down in the 1980s. The lot remains undeveloped and may contain associated archeological deposits. Additionally, this portion of the APE may also contain the remains of Primary School 17 that occupied the lot circa 1841 where the early 20th century Jefferson Primary School operated until 1968. The original school would have consisted of two rooms with two privies located in the rear and large town water pump out front (MHT Inventory Form F-2-40).
Aside from a structure attributed to D. Culler in 1873, little development is shown in Jefferson east of the Lander Road intersection on Lake’s (1873) Atlas of Frederick County. However, the electric rail line is depicted on the north side of MD 180 by 1919 (USGS 1910) and the H.C Summers & Co. was operating in its current location on the north side of MD 180 between Lander Road and Holter Road. The firm sold coal, flour, machinery, farm equipment, and grain from the one-story frame grain warehouse built circa 1907. The original building with several extensions remain extant and the business is still in operation. Given the history of occupation in Jefferson since the late 18th century, the project area is considered to have high archeological potential for historic archeological resources and Phase I Identification investigations are recommended.
Please contact me at (410) 545-2883 if you have any questions regarding this assessment or need further assistance on the project. A digital copy of this assessment (file name 4150ass.doc) may be called up from N:\OPPE\PPD\ARCH_GRP\ASSESS.
cc: Ms. Mary F. Barse