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Article Archive >> Autumn Tourism

Funkstown Historic District: A prominent little town

Funkstown Historic District
A prominent little town

The Funkstown Historic District is located in a horseshoe bend of the Antietam Creek in Washington County, Maryland. The National Road forms Funkstown's main street (Baltimore Street) and shaped in a significant way the appearance of the town. Funkstown's early and most extensive development was along this route, including the town's oldest known dwelling, the Jacob Funk House, built by the founder in 1769. Other properties are of sided log, stone, or brick construction of mixed residential and commercial use, dating from the late 18th century through the mid 20th century. The streets are laid out in a grid pattern terminating at the creek at the north, south, and west sides. Industrial sites including a grist mill, powder mill, paper mill, and a woolen mill were located along the creek. None of these industries has survived but their sites are known and they may yield archeological data. Architecturally, the district exhibits examples of colonial Germanic, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, and Italianate styles, along with later developments such as Queen Anne, Foursquares, Bungalows, and 'Cape Cods.' the district includes 217 contributing buildings, 1 contributing structure, and 3 contributing sites. There are 182 non-contributing buildings, mostly infill development less than 50 years old. The majority of these later buildings are located along the secondary streets.
The Funkstown Historic District reflects a unique set of events or conditions that created the community's patterns of development. The power source provided by the Antietam Creek led to a variety of industries, which were established early at this location. The textile industry was prominent among these causing Funkstown to be one of the early centers of the manufacture of Brussels carpet in America. The old wagon road, the main route from Baltimore to the west had a tremendous impact on the town. As it eventually became part of the National Pike in the 1820s, the town experienced rapid growth along the route (Baltimore Street) with hotel and tavern business predominating. Civil War history also impacted Funkstown. The July, 1863 Battle of Funkstown was an important delaying tactic by the Confederates. The citizens of Funkstown cared for the resulting casualties. The town's citizens were very divided in their sentiments, pro-South and pro-North. Funkstown's particular history is reflected in its architecture and other historic resources, giving it historic significance in the areas of transportation, military, and industrial development, and for its architectural character, representing adaptations of several important styles and types.

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