Carroll History

March 19, 2006


An act of the state legislature on March 21, 1853, changed the name of the newly formed Baltimore, Carroll and Frederick Rail Road to the Western Maryland Rail Road Co.

The company had been formed by investors in a series of meetings at the county courthouse in Westminster the year before. Its founders envisioned a line that would recapture trade in the Cumberland Valley that had been getting diverted to Philadelphia, as well as take advantage of economic growth in Carroll County.

Robert M. Magraw was elected president of the company, and surveys were ordered to plan routes, which were expected to begin at the terminus of the Green Spring Branch and use the Northern Central Railway line from Lake Roland to Baltimore for entry to the city. Eyed as potential sources of freight: flouring mills in Owings Mills, copper mines in Finksburg and bark mills, tanneries and other businesses in the area.

Lawmakers also approved in March 1853 a measure to permit the railroad to issue bonds and extend the line to Hagerstown. Pennsylvania lawmakers incorporated the railroad there by separate acts dated March 23, 1865, and March 24, 1869.

In 1867, Western Maryland College opened with the head of the railroad as one of its founders. In 2002, its name was changed to McDaniel College.

[Source: History of the Western Maryland Railway by Edward M. Killough.]

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