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Grantsville Town

Garrett County, Maryland

Grantsville Town Hall is located at 171 Hill Street, Grantsville, MD 21536.
Phone: 301-895-3144

Stanton's Mill

Photo: Stanton's Mill, circa 1797, located U.S. 40, east of Grantsville. Listed on the National Register in 1983. Photographer: wikipedia username: Generic1138, 2021, [cc-3.0] via wikimedia commons, accessed February, 2023.

The present Town of Grantsville [†] is located along an east-west travel corridor that dates back to an American Indian trail known as Nemacolin's Path. Many Indian camps existed along this trail including a camp at Grassy Cabin on the Casselman River in the vicinity of the present town. Over the years, Nemacolin's Path was upgraded and the route was realigned. The initial upgrading of the trail, undertaken by British military troops, resulted in improved commercial travel and the establishment of colonists' settlements along the route. The differing alignments of the roads that replaced Nemacolin's Path resulted in changing locations for the settlements that eventually developed into the present Town of Grantsville.

In 1751, Christopher Gist recorded his trip along Nemacolin's Path on his way to the Ohio River. In 1753, Colonel Thomas Cresap and Nemacolin's Indians opened the path for passage by packhorses.

In 1754, the French and Indian War began with a battle along the Nemacolin Path when a small force led by Colonel George Washington was defeated at Fort Necessity in Great Meadows near Uniontown, . The following year, an army led by General Edward Braddock upgraded Nemacolin's Path into the first wagon road from Fort Cumberland to the Great Meadows. Colonel Washington supervised the improvement of the trail. The route, which became known as Braddock's Road, traversed a site known as Little Meadows, about four miles east of the present Town of Grantsville. Little Meadows was a major campsite for Braddock's forces and, after Braddock's death, for the troops led by Washington.

After the French and Indian War, services to travelers became the driving force behind the development of the Grantsville area. Joseph Tomlinson was reported to be the first permanent settler in the Grantsville area. In 1760, he built the Red House Inn at "Good Will," a 100-acre tract that encompassed the campground at Little Meadows. Tomlinson's Inn served travelers on Braddock's Road. At about the time that the Red House Inn was built, the first Amish and Mennonite settlers arrived in the Casselman River area from settlements in eastern Pennsylvania.

In 1785, Daniel Grant who operated the Fountain Inn in Baltimore developed "Cornucopia," and 1,100-acre tract on Braddock's Road near Little Crossing. The development was to become known as "Old Grantsville" in the 1820's when the alignment of the National Road north of Braddock's Road spurred creation of a new town site. The "Old Grantsville" site is now a field near the cemetery.

In the 1790's, John Sloan laid out lots for a town site that he called Sloan's Ville on the old Indian campsite at Grassy Cabin. However, when the National Road did not follow Braddock's Road in this area, Sloan's Ville was abandoned in 1817.

Little Crossings is the site of a grist mill built by Jesse Tomlinson in 1797, rebuilt by Perry Shultz in 1856, and now known as Stanton's Mill. The mill has been in continuous operation since 1797 and has been operated for five generations by the Stanton family. The Tomlinson's Amish and Mennonite settlers began acquiring farmland in the Grantsville area in about 1800. Their family farms have been a mainstay of the Grantsville area economy for almost two centuries.

According to the U.S. Census of 1800, thirty-five families, consisting of 229 free persons and 22 Negro slaves, lived along Braddock's Road near the present Town of Grantsville. At that time, the population in the area that is now Garrett County totaled a little over 1,000. Thus, about one quarter of the county's residents lived in the Grantsville area.

The Cumberland Road (also known as the National Road), the first federally funded highway, was built between 1811 and 1819 following portions of Nemacolin's Path and Braddock's Road. The Cumberland Road coincided with Braddock's Road in the vicinity of Little Meadows where, in 1816, Joseph Tomlinson's son, Jesse, built the Stone House Inn near Tomlinson's Red House Inn. The Stone House Inn is still standing.

The Cumberland Road crossed the Casselman River at Little Crossings, north of Braddock's Road. This alignment resulted in a new location for Grantsville about a half mile northeast of the old town site at Cornucopia on Braddock's Road. In 1822, a post office was established under the name of "Tomlinson's at Little Meadows." In 1834, the name was changed to "Little Crossing" and in 1846 to "Grantsville."

The Cumberland Road was the most important east-west highway in the country from its completion in 1819 until the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad completed its rail line through Oakland to Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1852. During that period, the Grantsville area, particularly the Tomlinson Inn at Little Meadows, was the center of the social and political lift of Garrett County.

The first house and tavern in the "new" Grantsville was John Baker's "Slicer House" which also contained a store. Joseph Glotfelty was the first blacksmith, and Dr. John Patterson who came from Frostburg in 1842 was the first resident physician in the county.

Several other hotels joined Tomlinson's Inn and the Stone House Inn in serving travelers along the Cumberland Road. These included the Casselman Hotel built in 1824 as the Drovers Inn and expanded by Solomon Sterner in 1842, the National Hotel built by Henry Fuller in 1843, and the Schutz tavern constructed by Adam Schutz in the 1840's and later incorporated as part of the town school. The Casselman Hotel is still in operation today. It contains much of the same furnishings used in the 1840's and the original brick fireplaces.

The opening of the Baltimore and Ohio rail line to Wheeling reduced the importance of the Cumberland Road and led to a decline in Grantsville's importance. Nonetheless, when Garrett County was formed in 1872, Grantsville received 590 votes as the preferred location of the county seat, second only to Oakland's 653 votes. The town was incorporated in 1864-1865 and re-chartered in 1878. During the last half of the 19th century, the economy of the Grantsville area was dependent on farming.

The 1880 census reported the population of Grantsville as 220. By 1900, the population had dropped to 175, but by 1910 the town had grown to 248, about the same population as was reported in 1800.

After 1916, with the advent of the automobile, the National Road was reconstructed as U.S. Route 40. Grantsville continued to grow. By 1930, the town's population had jumped to 400. During the first half of the 20th century, farming continued to provide the economic base for Grantsville. Coal mining also became a significant activity in the area. During the mid-1900's, a shirt manufacturer, a refractory, a meat smoking and packing operation, a dairy cooperative, and a quarry began operations in or near Grantsville.

During the past several decades, most area coalmines have ceased operation, and the dairy cooperative has closed. Nonetheless, the number of residents in Grantsville has held fairly steady at about 500. Farming has continued to provide stability to Grantsville's economy. Services to travelers have regained importance as access to the area has improved and tourism has been promoted.

† Town of Grantsville Comprehensive Plan, 2015, planning,mayland,gov, accessed February, 2013.