Taneytown History

In 1754, John Diggs, a land speculator from St. Mary’s County, Maryland, gave a 60-acre tract in Carroll County to his son Edward and his son-in-law, Raphael Taney. Upon joining that property with an additional 7,900 acres, they laid out lots and named the tract Taneytown (pronounced Tawnytown). The town developed in a linear pattern along the Monocacy Road (Frederick & York streets) and Baltimore Street with the intersection naturally lending itself to a town square. By the mid-18th century, taverns and inns opened on each of the four corners of the square. Besides housing and feeding weary travelers, the inns also served as public buildings where government meetings and elections were held.

The oldest buildings in town can be found on Frederick, York and West Baltimore streets–some still retain their original log structures beneath the siding. One example of the mid-18th century architecture is the Stone Tavern (9). Many of Taneytown’s 19th century buildings feature two story brick buildings with stone foundations; some even have log cores. There are few architect designed buildings, but that did not prevent some residents from incorporating National architectural styles in houses and commercial buildings.  As you walk through town, you will find examples of the Greek Revival at Antrim (5) and the Lutheran Parsonage (14). Gothic Revival, an architectural style that became popular after the Civil War for residential and commercial buildings, can be seen in St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church (12), as well as the Brick Buildings (2) on East Baltimore St.

By the late 19th century, popular designs included the Stick Style which is notable for its decorative trusses exhibited in the Hesson House (6) and the Presbyterian Manse (20). All of these buildings were built by local builders who used pattern books or other images as their construction guides. Through the middle of the 20th century, residents continued to live in combined residential and commercial spaces such as the Birnie Trust Company Building (3).

Taneytown has seen its share of historic people and events. On July 1, 1791, President George Washington stayed overnight at the Adam Good Tavern on Frederick Street as he returned to Philadelphia from the tour of the southern United States. In June 1863, the Union Army of the Potomac led by General George Meade, camped around Taneytown as they prepared for battle with the Confederate Army. General Meade initially expected the battle to be in Maryland, but when the fighting began in Gettysburg on July 1st, he moved the Army to join the battle in Pennsylvania. Residents sold horses and loaves of bread to the soldiers as they marched by.

The Taneytown Historic District has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1986. Preservation and restoration of these commercial and residential buildings are a priority for the community. The residents take pride in their town as they work to preserve their history for future residents and visitors.

Learn More at the Taneytown History Museum!