September 27, 2012

From downtown Baltimore to Garrett County, the past is alive with former travelers on America’s first federally funded highway

For Immediate Release

WEST FRIENDSHIP (September 25, 2012) –  Traces of the Historic National Road still exist in the form of original mile markers, toll houses and the wandering spirits of former travelers who once utilized America’s first federally funded highway.  From downtown Baltimore to the Maryland/Pennsylvania line in Garrett County, ghostly encounters are a regular occurrence in the classic pike towns and sites that make up the fabric of this historic highway.

One of the most unique ways to bring the spirits of the past alive is through the many ghost tours offered in Baltimore, Ellicott City and Frederick.  These tours, lasting approximately ninety minutes, set the stage with historical content and ghostly tales; all based on eyewitness accounts and interviews with people who live, work or owned the featured sites.  Some of the sites are privately owned and others, like the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, presumed to be the most haunted building in downtown Frederick, are open to the public on a regular basis.  A nice mix of private and public areas, these spooky sites allow the public to conduct their own paranormal investigation while increasing visitation and adding to the bottom line of businesses located on Maryland’s Historic National Road. Additional tour information can be obtained by visiting the following websites:


Families can also enjoy Halloween fun along the National Road by attending some of the annual seasonal events that cater to younger children. In Howard County, the Living Farm Heritage Museum offers youngsters a 3-Mile Haunted Hay Ride experience. Dress up your little ones to enjoy the one of the annual Halloween Parades in Middletown and Cumberland. Don’t forget to drop by the ever popular Alsatia Mummers Day Parade in Hagerstown!   Others who want to experience the 170 mile corridor once traveled by teamsters, stagecoach drivers and politicians can visit numerous sites, beginning in Baltimore where visitors can experience the culture of death 18th century style as the Mount Clare Museum is transformed into a period funeral setting.

Continue west in your horseless carriage through classic Pike towns such as New Market, where original taverns and inns are still available for food and drink along with an possible encounter from past travelers. Those traveling through the heart of South Mountain State Battlefield at the Frederick and Washington County line are encouraged to visit the Dahlgren Chapel and dine at the haunted and historic Old South Mountain Inn. Nearby residents and visitors believe that the spirit of Madeleine Vinton Dahlgren (1825-1898) haunts the historic chapel located near the Appalachian Trail. Mrs. Dahlgren was an accomplished author, Washington D.C. socialite and the wife of Rear Admiral Dahlgren, inventor of the Dahlgren gun during the Civil War and confidant to President Abraham Lincoln.  In Cumberland travelers can search for those still waiting to catch the train by taking part in a special ghost tour of the Western Maryland Railway Station at Canal Place.

For more information on these events or the Maryland Historic National Road, please contact byway manager, Tiffany Ahalt at or (240) 626-0963.