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Western & Eastern Treasures

Ghost Town USA Column Index for Maryland

Maryland is a fascinating state for ghost town chasers, as it dates back to the early days of British colonial expansion.  Everything from old military posts, agricultural communities, iron forge towns, mining towns, logging camps and other types of habitations make for a fascinating and interesting collection of locations well worth seeking out.


I’ve only been to Maryland twice - back in 1992, and again in 2007.  Both times I enjoyed my explorations immensely and  I strongly urge all you Marylanders to get out and explore what your small (in area) state has to offer.  Please feel free to share your information with me, and I’ll be happy to post information and photos on this page.


Maryland may be small in area, but it is big in excitement and historic sites.  Since Washington, D. C. was carved out of part of this state’s territory, Maryland plays a key role in American history. 


Another factoid about this tiny state is that the national anthem was penned here when Baltimore’s Fort McHenry was shelled by British artillery during the War of 1812.


History runs thick here and hidden deep in those dusty recesses are a number of ghost towns and semi ghost towns awaiting the patient explorer to find. 







Where photos are indicated thusly (PHOTO!), please use your browser’s “BACK” button to return to this page.  More photos will be added over time.





Baltimore Co.

This class D rural agricultural community is almost forgotten. It sits on a small road east of SH 30, 22 miles northwest of Baltimore. In 1990 it mustered 280 folks.


Howard Co.

Old military post on the north side of Ellicott City, in area now called Patapsco Heights.


Frederick Co.

Class D iron-furnace town located on SH 806, just off US 15, a mile south of Thurmont, 12 miles north of Frederick. The furnace was built by James and Thomas Johnson between 1774 and 1776. They produced household items, pig iron, mortar shells and tools. In the 1850s Catoctin had three furnaces, a company store, grist mill, homes, railroad, and a sawmill. By 1903 the furnaces shut down and the town faded. Today, Catoctin is a small community just south of the original iron forge town. In 1992, remains at the furnace site included stone walls, furnace ruins, ruins of the ironmaster's mansion, and a reconstructed casting shed.  PHOTO!


Baltimore Co.

A War of 1812 era six-gun earth-walled battery protecting Baltimore. It was located where the BGE Gould Street Station now is.


Baltimore Co.

A military fort near Baltimore. It was located opposite Sparrow Point, and protected the Baltimore harbor.


Prince Georges Co.

A class B, Civil War era defensive fort, located in Fort Foote Park, along the east shore of the Potomac River, about a mile and a half west of Indian Head Highway (SH 210) a mile and a half south of I-95/495. The fort overlooks the Potomac River shipping lanes, and was the site of several 15" Rodman Cannons that could shoot 400 pound cannonballs four miles. It was only occupied a short time. Today all that remains are crumbling concrete and earth bulwarks overgrown by a tangle of greenery.


Washington Co.

Class C/F (restored) military post overlooking the Potomac River, south of SH 56, just east of Big Pool, 16 miles west of Hagerstown. The stone walled fort was built in 1756 to help protect Maryland during the French and Indian Wars of 1754-1763. It was also active during the Revolutionary War, both as a refuge for settlers and as a prison camp for captured Hessian soldiers. The old fort was bought by the state of Maryland, and in the 1930s, was restored by the CCC.


Baltimore Co.

Another of the many forts built in and around Baltimore. This fort was on the Smoke Hills, at Foster and 3rd, and was built to guard the Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore RR. Like most of the area forts, it was a defensive gun battery, more than a full-on brick or stone walled fort.


Prince Georges Co.

This class C/F (restored) major army fort overlooks the Potomac River, almost directly opposite Mount Vernon, seven miles south of Oxon Hill, west of SH 210. It was one of a system of Coastal Defense Forts being built to protect the entire east coast. Washington, D.C. was this fort's prime protectee. It was built between 1808 and 1809. Because the gun emplacements faced the river, the British ducked around the back side of the fort with impunity when the marched on Washington on August 19, 1814. The next day, Captain Samuel Dyson retreated and destroyed the fort and all its munitions, rather than surrender it to the British. A month later, construction began on a new fort, and it was remodeled and strengthened, and additional cannon batteries were added in the mid 1840s, and again in 1898 for the Spanish-American War. Fort Washington remained an active fort until it was decommissioned in 1946. Many buildings were removed, but the remaining buildings were preserved as a National Historic Park.

This was our Ghost Town of the Month for Apr 2005.  PHOTO!



Montgomery Co.

These sites are located at the Great Falls of the Potomac, west of Potomac, northwest of Washington, D.C., and six miles northwest of Bethesda. The gold mines are about a mile southeast of the tavern. The mines were worked in the 1800s, and the tavern was an important stopping point on the C & O Canal. It was first used as a lock house (1831), then a tavern. It is currently operating as a visitor center for the C & O Canal NHP.


Frederick Co.

This early 1800s era roadside tavern is located on SH 40 between Braddock and Braddock Heights, west of Frederick. In 1832 a guest is said to have buried a chest with some $32,000 in gold coins and jewels nearby.


Baltimore Co.

This War of 1812 era gun battery/military post sat across Baltimore Harbor from Fort McHenry. It actually got its start as a hospital built in 1801 by the state.  During the War of 1812, it was fortified and acted as the headquarters for the Navy's Chesapeake Bay Flotilla. It is said the old hospital building stood on site until 1959.


Carroll Co

This tiny town had a 1980 population of 15. It is located near Westminster.



Worcester Co.

This class C/F bog iron forge town has been restored and is now known as FURNACE TOWN. It is located on Old Furnace Road, a mile west of SH 12, 15 miles southeast of Salisbury, and four miles northwest of Snow Hill.  Nassawango Iron Furnace's main period of operation was 1828-1850. It began in 1788 to process the iron ore found in Nassawango Swamp. By 1832, 1 town of 300 people called Nescongo grew up near the furnace. The town had a church, hotel, post office, and school among its amenities. In 1850, the entire complex was sold, but operation ceased. In the early 1900s, only the furnace, ironmaster's house and three small cabins were still standing, and by the early 1970's only the furnace stack and overgrown foundations remained. In 1978 a private company opened the site for visitors.


Garrett Co.

Located in New Germany State Park in the far western tip of the state, 25 miles west of Cumberland. This was the site of a sawmill and gristmill in the mid 1800s. The gristmill operated until 1859, and was powered by water from a 13-acre lake created by damming Poplar Lick Run. The sawmill continued in use until 1890. Other sawmills were set up, and the area became a major sawmilling center. Nothing remains of this old milling center, and the area is a popular state park.


St. Mary’s Co.

This Civil War Prisoner of War Camp was located on Point Lookout, at or near Fort Lincoln, which is at the southeastern tip of "Mainland" Maryland.

This is one of the locations featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.


Harford Co.

Along the Susquehanna River, southeast of Darlington. This class B community began as a gristmill built in 1794 by John Stump. The town that grew up around the mill included a post office, springhouse, tollhouse, carriage barn, and several homes. The settlement lasted until the early 1900s.


Montgomery Co.

On SH 650, 25 miles north of Washington, D.C.


Harford Co.

A white flint mining town north of Aberdeen, exact location not determined.


Garrett Co.

Will Sims sent me some info on this location in January 2003.


Vindex was a full fledged town owned by the mining company.  Although no longer a town, some residences exist on the main road that once led into town.  The only structures that are left, according to my research is a foundation to the general store, a derelict bridge, two rotting vehicles, an Army Corps of Engineers steel folding girder bridge and a mound where the coal steeple (tipple?) was located.  A rail bed exists, most ties have been piled up,”


From this description, it sounds like Vindex was a company-owned coal mining town located near Deep Creek Lake.

Exact location not determined.


Wicomico Co.

On the north side of the Wicomico River, 15 miles southwest of Salisbury, one mile off SH 352.


Talbot Co.

Near Skipton Creek, exact location not determined.




Historians estimate that there may be as many as 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America.

Gary B. Speck Publications is in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called

The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of “STATE”

These original guides are designed for anybody interested in ghost towns. Whether you are a casual tourist looking for a new and different place to visit, or a hard-core ghost town researcher, these guides will be just right for you. With over 30 years of research behind them, they will be a welcome addition to any ghost towner's library.

Thank you, and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!


For more information on the ghost towns of MARYLAND, contact us at

Ghost Town USA.


E-mailers, PLEASE NOTE:

Due to the tremendous amount of viruses, worms and “spam,” out there, I no longer open or respond to e-mails with unsolicited attachments, OR messages on the subject lines with “Hey”, “Hi”, “Need help”, “Help Please”, “???”, or blank subject lines, etc.  If you do send E-mail asking for information, or sharing information, PLEASE indicate the appropriate location AND state name, or other topic on the “subject” line.




These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites in MARYLANDabove are for informational purposes only, and should NOT be construed to grant permission to trespass, metal detect, relic or treasure hunt at any of the listed sites.


If the reader of this guide is a metal detector user and plans to use this guide to locate sites for metal detecting or relic hunting, it is the READER'S responsibility to obtain written permission from the legal property owners. Please be advised, that any state or nationally owned sites will probably be off-limits to metal detector use. Also be aware of any federal, state or local laws restricting the same.

When you are exploring the ghost towns of MARYLAND, please abide by the

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.




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LAST UPDATED: August 07, 2010




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