One of the Oldest Landmarks in Washington County

One of the Oldest Landmarks in Washington County
The Indian Springs General Store, the Heart of the Community
by Florence Hite

If walls could talk imagine the amazing stories we would hear about past customers and history at the Indian Springs General Store. The nostalgic store is one of the oldest general stores in Maryland and has been standing since the early 1800's. An important part of the community, the store is owned and operated by Chuck and Jessica Dunn and is located at 10720 Old National Pike in Big Pool, Maryland. Chuck and Jessica are both locals from the Big Pool area. "There has always been a store here. Previous owners had shut the store down and my wife and I wanted to bring the store back to the neighborhood," Chuck said. "We hear some great stories from our older customers that used to come in on their horse and wagon to get flour and sugar.
"During the great depression the store had a boxing ring, square dancing ring and the local doctor used to treat people right here at the store," Chuck added. In the Windmills of Time published in 1981 by the Clear Spring Alumni Association it states, although the origin of the store is not known it's listed as one of the oldest landmarks in Washington County. Many renovations have been made but basically Chuck and Jessica try to keep the original appearance of the store. "It's wonderful to learn about how old the store actually is. People have brought us photographs, which I enjoy seeing and learning more about the history of the store," Jessica said. "I enjoy talking to and meeting all the wonderful people in the community."
A convenience store has always been a place where people gather. "It has really brought the community back out and they have embraced the store," Chuck said. "It's the heartbeat of the community. I would say it's been quite an experience. I never ran a store...my wife does the inventory and is the manager. Local support has been great and we wouldn't have been able to do it without the community."
The store has groceries, a deli and offers soup, sandwiches and hot and cold subs. Try a bowl of ham and bean soup or their specialty sub, a Dagwood consisting of five kinds of meat and a choice of three cheeses. I have been told that people come for miles around just for their subs. Dine in or out or simply sit in the shade at a picnic table on a warm summer evening and have some Hershey's hand dipped ice cream. "We really get some crowds on summer evenings," Chuck said. "We also offer beer or wine and many people come in after a long day, sit at the bar and socialize and many see people that they haven't seen in awhile.
"The business is growing and we are trying to stock everything that the community might need," he added. Future plans for the store include restaurant dining. "We have a room in back with a large fireplace that would be ideal for some home cooked meals," Chuck said.
Next year, hunting and fishing licenses will be available and with the general merchandise they also try to deal in fishing tackle and live bait. There are many fishing locations within five miles from the store including the Valley Lake, Wildlife Preserve, Fort Frederick State Park, and the Indian Springs Pond. During hunting season they open at four in the morning and offer the hunter brown bag special that includes a sandwich, drink, chips, and a snack.
The Indian Springs General store is off of Interstate 70 on the very picturesque Route 40; dine in or out in its old time charm. Nearby attractions include the Fort Frederick State Park, which dates back into the French and Indian War, is located two to three miles from the store. A couple of miles away, you'll find the Western Maryland Rail Trail, the areas scenic twenty-one mile paved trail that runs from Hancock to Fort Frederick. The rail trail is a great place to rollerblade, hike, bike ride, or walk.
The Indian Springs General Store has been in business for one year and will soon celebrate its anniversary two weeks after the original date that was on Memorial Day last year. So on June 20th, the first day of summer, the general public and their customers are invited to a barbecue and listen to a bluegrass band to honor the occasion.