Clear Spring: One of Washington County's Hidden Gems
One of Washington County's Hidden Gems
In 1818 a new road known as the National Pike was built extending west of Conococheague Creek in Washington County up toward Cumberland in the Western tip of the state. Four miles west of Conococheague Creek, this modern road cut across land owned by Martin Myers. The farmer then decided to become a land developer and in 1821, he divided separate lots on both sides of the Pike.
Myers built a small log building on one of the lots next to a clear spring. There he made and sold crocks and jugs. This new road brought thousands of pioneers who in return brought business and wealth to the town known as "Myersville." Beside Myers' store, a small log hotel sprang up. Travelers identified this hotel as "the-hotel-at-the-clear-spring."
Within a few short years (1825), the town grew to become Clear Spring, boasting seven hotels, several stores, blacksmiths, cabinetmakers, and many other tradesmen. The town was on the rise, sitting 12 miles west of Hagerstown.
The steam train was a wonderful and prosperous creation for all. However, when the steam train came within miles to the south of Clear Spring in the 1850s, there was no longer need to travel in a long line of wagon trains through this small town. The pocket-size town lost, declining financial stability. The farming community was the only surviving commerce, heavily dependent on the labor of slaves.
In the beginning, the Civil War separated the town's residents, but eventually they united in support of the Union.
The town remained inactive and underdeveloped for the remainder of the 19th century, but the invention of the automobile quickly revived it, once again, renewing National Pike as a favored route to the west. Riches and steady business returned and the town stayed prosperous until the 1960s when Interstate 70 bypassed Clear Spring.
Clear Spring today is about three blocks long with roughly 2,103 residents, but boy does it hold a lot of love and history. The town cherishes its beautiful farming location and its generations of families and friends who care deeply for one another, as well as its small-town government. Volunteerism, churches, service organizations, and clubs play dominant roles in the life of the town. Its tradition of offering warm hospitality to travelers survives, extending a welcoming hand to those who are looking for the quiet life with friendly neighbors in a small town by the mountains.