The town of Lonaconing, population of about 1200 in 300 families, is in the George’s Creek Valley of Allegany County, 1500 feet up in the western Maryland mountains. A small town, it was started as a company town for an iron and coal company. With a single main street which is also state route 36 and with only one stoplight in the town, its quiet “suburb” provides residences for retirees and workers who commute to nearby Frostburg and Cumberland. Surrounded by forest and creeks, even deer and black bears are sometimes wandering within the town limits. As an incorporated town, it is governed by a mayor and four elected town commissioners. An ambulance service and a fire department, an Allegany Public Library branch and a city hall provides useful services to the residents.
The first non-Native American settlers in the late 18th century were explorers, hunters and farmers. Names of some of the first settlers were Dye, Duckworth, Green, Fazenbaker, Grove, VanBuskirk, Knapp and Miller. The first stone house built in 1797 in Knapps Meadow just north of Lonaconing was owned by Samuel VanBuskirk. The house still stands as of 2010. The Lonaconing Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Lonaconing is the birthplace of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Lefty Grove.
Iron and coal companies in Lonaconing built railroads in the 1840s, in anticipation of connecting with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Some of these mining companies owned and operated their own railroad equipment. The Georges Creek Rail Road was built south from Lonaconing to connect with the Baltimore & Ohio at Piedmont(VA) All of the rail lines were absorbed into the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad (C&P) by 1870.
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