Thurmont, Maryland

Last updated
Thurmont, Maryland
Town of Thurmont
Thurmont MD Corner of Main and Water.jpg
Corner of Main and Water in downtown Thurmont.
"...Gateway to the Mountains" [1]
Frederick County Maryland Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Thurmont Highlighted.svg
Location of Thurmont, Maryland
Coordinates: 39°37′30″N77°24′37″W / 39.62500°N 77.41028°W / 39.62500; -77.41028 Coordinates: 39°37′30″N77°24′37″W / 39.62500°N 77.41028°W / 39.62500; -77.41028
Country Flag of the United States.svg  United States of America
State Flag of Maryland.svg  Maryland
County Flag of Frederick County, Maryland.png Frederick
Incorporated 1831 (as Mechanicstown), 1894 (as Thurmont) [2]
  MayorJohn Kinnaird
  Total3.12 sq mi (8.08 km2)
  Land3.11 sq mi (8.05 km2)
  Water0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
518 ft (158 m)
  Density1,999.68/sq mi (772.12/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 301, 240
FIPS code 24-77825
GNIS feature ID0587792

Thurmont is a town in Frederick County, Maryland, United States. The population was 6,935 at the 2020 census. The town is located in the northern part of Frederick County (north of Frederick, the county seat), approximately ten miles from the Pennsylvania border, along U.S. Highway 15. It is very close to Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park, the latter of which contains the presidential retreat of Camp David. Thurmont is also home to Catoctin Colorfest, an arts and crafts festival that draws in about 125,000 people each autumn. [4]


In 2005, Thurmont was designated as a Maryland Main Street Community and in 2005 Thurmont was designated a National Main Street under the National Trust for Historic Preservation. [5] [6]


Protesters in Thurmont during the 2012 G8 Summit, hosted at nearby Camp David. Protests in Thurmont Town Square.JPG
Protesters in Thurmont during the 2012 G8 Summit, hosted at nearby Camp David.

Name change

Originally incorporated as the Town of Mechanicstown in 1751, the name of the town was changed to Thurmont by an act of Maryland General Assembly on January 18, 1894. [7] This name change was due to several other nearby towns having similar names, such as Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and Mechanicsville, Maryland. [8] Charles E. Cassell, editor of the local newspaper Catoctin Clarion was the one to suggest the name Thurmont and promoted debate about the name change in the Clarion. Some of the names considered included Beaufort, Eastmont, Glenmont, Monduru, Fern Glen, and Blue Point. [9] Eventually, the options were pared down to two main contenders: Cassell's suggestion of Thurmont, and local real estate broker Charles Shipley's suggestion of Blue Mountain City, which he argued was "appropriate" and "pretty" during an address at a town meeting in December 1893. [10] In the December 14, 1893 issue, the Clarion printed the following:

"The name is a misnomer: it is harshness long drawn out; it is an antique minus the lacquer; the sentimentalism that cries out against a change lacks its correlative, poetry, and smacks of the catacombs; its prestine [sic] glory is effaced by the ruthless circumstance of immigration to improve condition; an hundred, yea, hundreds of grandsons now recount to strangers in other States how their grand-fathers drove a thriving trade in factory, forge and mill in Mechanicstown and then confess--Ilium fuit; Delenda est Carthago! [Troy is no more; Carthage must be destroyed!]" [11]

By the end of December 1893, there had been several rounds of voting, and Thurmont had been officially chosen as the town's new name. The Clarion noted, however, that "the reception of a letter from the Postoffice Department saying that the name 'Blue Mountain City' would not be approved by the Department as there is an office called 'Blue Mountain' in the State, probably defeated the choice of that name." [9] [12]

The name Thurmont is derived from thur, the German word for gateway or entrance, and mons, the Latin word for mountain, roughly translating to "Gateway to the Mountains." [9] [13]


The Western Maryland Railway built its main railroad through Thurmont, connecting the town with Baltimore, and later with Hagerstown and Cumberland. On June 17, 1905, 16 men from Thurmont were killed in a railway wreck in Ransom, Maryland when a westbound freight train collided head-on with another train. All Thurmont businesses were closed on the Monday following the accident, and it became an event that had a lasting effect on the entire community. Another large railway accident occurred on June 25, 1915 when the Blue Mountain Express train hit another train head-on just west of Thurmont, killing 6 people. Charles Eyler, who was 17 years old at the time of the crash, said the following: "People were still wondering the next day how the two engines had stayed on the rails. But it was easy to see how the wreck had occurred. The bridge is 'blind' from both directions." [8]


Oblique air photo of Thurmont, facing northeast, with Catoctin Mountain to the left. Thurmont MD Aug2010.jpg
Oblique air photo of Thurmont, facing northeast, with Catoctin Mountain to the left.

Thurmont is located at the eastern foothill of the Catoctin spur of the Blue Ridge Mountains. [8]

Thurmont is located at 39°37′30″N77°24′37″W / 39.62500°N 77.41028°W / 39.62500; -77.41028 (39.624974, -77.410245). [14]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.13 square miles (8.11 km2), of which 3.12 square miles (8.08 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water. [15]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Thurmont has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. [16]

US 15 northbound approaching the exit for MD 77 in Thurmont 2019-05-19 16 43 02 View north along U.S. Route 15 (Catoctin Mountain Highway) just south of Maryland State Route 77 (Main Street) in Thurmont, Frederick County, Maryland.jpg
US 15 northbound approaching the exit for MD 77 in Thurmont


The primary method of travel to and from Thurmont is by road. U.S. Route 15 is the main highway serving Thurmont, providing connections northward to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and southward to Frederick. Maryland Route 806 follows portions of the old alignment of US 15 through the center of Thurmont, with the main highway now following a bypass on the west side of town. Maryland Route 77 is the main east-west highway traversing the town, which provides connections eastward towards Keymar and westward towards Smithsburg. MD 77 also provides access to Catoctin Mountain Park. One other highway, Maryland Route 550, provides access northwestward towards Fort Ritchie and southeastward to Woodsboro.


Historical population
1870 583
1880 73025.2%
1890 93027.4%
1900 868−6.7%
1910 9034.0%
1920 1,07418.9%
1930 1,18510.3%
1940 1,30710.3%
1950 1,67628.2%
1960 1,99819.2%
1970 2,35918.1%
1980 2,93424.4%
1990 3,39815.8%
2000 5,58864.4%
2010 6,17010.4%
2020 6,2130.7%
U.S. Decennial Census [17]

The median income for a household in the town was $49,530, and the median income for a family was $56,138. Males had a median income of $37,804 versus $27,266 for females. The per capita income for the town was $20,474. About 4.0% of families and 6.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.3% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the census [18] of 2010, there were 6,170 people, 2,354 households, and 1,701 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,977.6 inhabitants per square mile (763.6/km2). There were 2,498 housing units at an average density of 800.6 per square mile (309.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.8% White, 1.0% Black, 0.4% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.4% of the population.

There were 2,354 households, of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.9% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 27.7% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.08.

The median age in the town was 39.5 years. 25.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.3% were from 25 to 44; 27.7% were from 45 to 64; and 13.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.

Name change referendum

1893 name change referendum [19]
NameBallot 1Ballot 2Ballot 3Ballot 4Ballot 5Ballot 6
Blue Mountain City3924221146
Mountain City3172520158
Blue Point11----
Gate City1-----
Mount Shipley1-----
At Rest-----4
Mount City----1-
Fern Glen-1----
Yale City-1----

Notable people

Related Research Articles

Frederick County, Maryland County in Maryland, United States

Frederick County is located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2020 U.S. Census, the population was 271,717. The county seat is Frederick.

Frederick, Maryland City in Maryland, United States

Frederick is a city in and the county seat of Frederick County, Maryland. It is part of the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area. Frederick has long since been an important crossroads, located at the intersection of a major north–south Native American trail and east–west routes to the Chesapeake Bay, both at Baltimore and what became Washington, D.C. and across the Appalachian mountains to the Ohio River watershed. It is a part of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of a greater Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA Combined Statistical Area. The city's population was 78,171 people as of the 2020 United States Census, making it the second-largest incorporated city in Maryland. Frederick is home to Frederick Municipal Airport, which accommodates general aviation, and Fort Detrick, a U.S. Army bioscience/communications research installation and Frederick county's largest employer.

Braddock Heights, Maryland Census-designated place in Maryland

Braddock Heights is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Frederick County, Maryland, United States. The population was 2,608 at the 2010 census. The local ZIP codes are 21714 and 21703.

Emmitsburg, Maryland Town in Maryland, United States

Emmitsburg is a town in Frederick County, Maryland, United States, 0.3 miles (0.5 km) south of the Mason-Dixon line separating Maryland from Pennsylvania. Founded in 1785, Emmitsburg is the home of Mount St. Mary's University. The town has two Catholic pilgrimage sites: the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is on the campus of Mount St. Mary's, and the Basilica and National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who was the first native-born United States citizen to be canonized as a saint. The Seton Shrine is one of the top eight Catholic pilgrimage destinations in the United States.

Middletown, Maryland Town in Maryland

Middletown is a town in Frederick County, Maryland, United States. The population was 4,136 as of the 2010 census. Located in the Middletown Valley that stretches between the Catoctin Mountains on the east and South Mountain on the west, the town reportedly gained its name from its location midway between those ranges.

Barnesville, Maryland Town in Maryland, United States

Barnesville is a town in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It was incorporated in 1888. The population was 144 at the 2020 census.

Damascus, Maryland Census-designated place in Maryland

Damascus is a census-designated place and an unincorporated area in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. In the early 20th century, there existed an incorporated municipality lasting a quarter century. It had a population of 17,224 as of the 2020 census.

Smithsburg, Maryland Town in Maryland, United States

Smithsburg is a town in Washington County, Maryland, United States. The population was 2,975 at the 2010 census. Smithsburg is close to the former Fort Ritchie army base and just west of the presidential retreat Camp David.

Catoctin Mountain Mountain ridge in the United States

Catoctin Mountain, along with the geologically associated Bull Run Mountains, forms the easternmost mountain ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are in turn a part of the Appalachian Mountains range. The ridge runs northeast–southwest for about 50 miles (80 km) departing from South Mountain near Emmitsburg, Maryland, and running south past Leesburg, Virginia, where it disappears into the Piedmont in a series of low-lying hills near New Baltimore, Virginia. The ridge forms the eastern rampart of the Loudoun and Middletown valleys.

U.S. Route 15 (US 15) is a part of the U.S. Highway System that runs from Walterboro, South Carolina to Painted Post, New York. In Maryland, the highway runs 37.85 miles (60.91 km) from the Virginia state line at the Potomac River in Point of Rocks north to the Pennsylvania state line near Emmitsburg. Known for most of its length as Catoctin Mountain Highway, US 15 is the primary north–south highway of Frederick County. The highway connects the county seat of Frederick with Point of Rocks, Leesburg, Virginia, and Charles Town, West Virginia, to the south and with Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to the north. US 15 is a four-lane divided highway throughout the state except for the portion between the Point of Rocks Bridge and the highway's junction with US 340 near Jefferson. The highway is a freeway along its concurrency with US 340 and through Frederick, where the highway meets US 40 and Interstate 70 (I-70). US 15 has a business route through Emmitsburg.

Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park is a public recreation area located west of Thurmont, Maryland, in the United States. The state park is the home of Cunningham Falls, the largest cascading waterfall in Maryland, a 43-acre (17 ha) man-made lake, and the remains of a historic iron furnace. The park is one of several protected areas occupying 50-mile-long Catoctin Mountain; it is bordered on its north by Catoctin Mountain Park and on its south by Frederick Municipal Forest.

Maryland Route 76 State highway in Frederick County, Maryland, US, known as Motters Station Rd

Maryland Route 76 is a state highway in the U.S. state of Maryland. Known as Motters Station Road, the state highway runs 5.69 miles (9.16 km) from MD 77 in Rocky Ridge north to U.S. Route 15 near Emmitsburg in northern Frederick County. MD 76 was constructed in two sections in the early 1920s and late 1930s.

Maryland Route 77 State highway in Maryland, US

Maryland Route 77 is a state highway in the U.S. state of Maryland. The state highway runs 20.74 miles (33.38 km) from MD 64 in Smithsburg east to MD 194 in Keymar. MD 77 is the main east–west highway of northern Frederick County. The state highway connects Thurmont with eastern Washington County via Foxville, which lies between South Mountain and Catoctin Mountain near Catoctin Mountain Park and Cunningham Falls State Park. MD 77 links Thurmont with western Carroll County through the communities of Graceham, Rocky Ridge, and Detour in the Monocacy River valley. MD 77 was constructed from Thurmont east to Detour in the 1920s and early 1930s. A disjoint section of MD 77 was built between Cavetown and Foxville in the late 1930s. The portions of the modern highway between Foxville and Thurmont and from Detour to Keymar were county highways until they were designated part of MD 77 in 1956. MD 77's western terminus was moved east to MD 64 in Smithsburg in 1960.

Catoctin Furnace United States historic place

Catoctin Furnace is a historic iron forge located on Route 15 between Frederick and Thurmont in Catoctin Furnace, Maryland. The smelting blast furnace is shown. No forge is at the site now. Forges were present when the ironworks was operational.

Sabillasville, Maryland Census-designated place in Maryland

Sabillasville is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Frederick County, Maryland, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 354.

Maryland Route 806

Maryland Route 806 is a state highway in the U.S. state of Maryland. The state highway runs a total of 4.05 miles (6.52 km) in two segments from U.S. Route 15 near Catoctin Furnace north to Roddy Creek Road near Thurmont. MD 806A, which has a length of 3.04 miles (4.89 km) from Catoctin Furnace to Thurmont, and MD 806R, which extends 0.55 miles (0.89 km) on the north side of Thurmont, are separated by a section of municipally-maintained road on the south side of Thurmont and a segment of MD 550 north of MD 77. MD 806 is the old alignment of US 15 through Catoctin Furnace and Thurmont. The state highway was originally constructed in the 1910s. MD 806 was assigned to the highway when US 15 bypassed Thurmont in the late 1950s. The state highway became a split route in the late 1980s. There have been several other segments of MD 806 along former sections of US 15 in Frederick County, including portions around Lewistown and south of Frederick.

Maryland Route 550

Maryland Route 550 is a state highway in the U.S. state of Maryland. The state highway runs 24.43 miles (39.32 km) from MD 26 in Libertytown north to Pen Mar Road in Fort Ritchie. MD 550 runs southeast–northwest across central Frederick County, connecting Fort Ritchie in the northeastern corner of Washington County and Libertytown with the towns of Thurmont and Woodsboro and the smaller communities of Creagerstown and Sabillasville. South of the highway's junction with U.S. Route 15 in Thurmont, the state highway passes through the wide valley of the Monocacy River; to the north, the highway passes along the northern edge of Catoctin Mountain and crests South Mountain near Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania.

Foxville, Maryland Unincorporated community in Maryland, United States

Foxville is an unincorporated community in Frederick County, Maryland, United States. Foxville is located on Maryland Route 77, 4.7 miles (7.6 km) west of Thurmont. Settled in the late 18th century, the historic village is situated between South Mountain to the west and Catoctin Mountain to the east. Catoctin Mountain Park, Cunningham Falls State Park, and the Appalachian Trail are all within a few miles of Foxville.

Catoctin Colorfest

Catoctin Colorfest is an annual arts and crafts festival in Thurmont, Maryland. Every year about 125,000 people attend, making it one of the largest festivals of its kind on the east coast of the United States. In 2005 Colorfest was recognized as one of the top 35 arts and craft shows in the United States by Sunshine Artists Magazine. In 2013 about 250 vendors participated in Colorfest. The event is free to attend, but parking costs a fee. The festival takes place the second weekend of October each year. During Colorfest a free shuttlebus service is provided to get to and from the parking areas. The event takes the entire year to plan.

The Catoctin Clarion was a weekly newspaper published in Thurmont, Maryland, United States, from March 4, 1871 to 1942. The paper was named for the nearby Catoctin Mountain located west of Mechanicstown. Contents included local, state, national and international news briefs; stories from Frederick County history; market news; poetry and literature in "a rare selection of instructive Reading"; letters to the editor, and advertisements. The paper measured 18 by 24 inches and ran on Thursdays.


  1. "Town of Thurmont, Maryland". Town of Thurmont, Maryland. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  2. "Thurmont". Maryland Manual. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  3. "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  4. Bondeson, Jen (13 October 2013). "Colorfest celebrates 50 years of crafts and community". The Frederick News Post. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  5. Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Baltimore, MD. "Main Street Maryland". Accessed 2010-09-15.
  6. Town of Thurmont, MD. "Welcome"
  7. "Thurmont, Maryland". Town Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  8. 1 2 3 Wireman, George. "Gateway to the Mountains". Thurmont Scrapbook. Greater Emmitsburg Area Historical Society. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  9. 1 2 3 "Thurmont". Catoctin Clarion. No. 21 December 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  10. Shipley, Charles. "Mr. Charles Shipley's Address". Catoctin Clarion. No. 14 December 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  11. "The Great Issue". Catoctin Clarion. No. 14 December 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  12. Cissel, Anne. "From Mechanicstown to Thurmont". Emmitsburg Historical Society. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  13. Wilson, Ike (7 October 2014). "Thurmont documentary to premiere Oct. 26". The Frederick News-Post. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  14. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  15. "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  16. Climate Summary for Thurmont, Maryland
  17. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  18. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  19. "Thurmont". Catoctin Clarion (Mechanicstown, Maryland). December 21, 1893. p. 3.