Cities Near Frederick, MD
Local city information for Frederick, MD
is a city in west-central Maryland, United States. It is the county seat of Frederick County, the largest county by area in the state of Maryland. Frederick is an outlying community of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of a greater Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the city has a total population of 59,220, making it the second-largest incorporated area in Maryland, behind Baltimore.
Frederick is home to Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK), which primarily accommodates general aviation traffic, and to the U.S. Army's Fort Detrick, the largest employer in the county. Frederick is also home to BP Solar, which is the second-largest employer in the county and one of the largest solar panel factories in the country.
“Frederick Town” was laid out by Daniel Dulany (a land speculator) in 1745, and settled by a German immigrant party led by a young German Reformed schoolmaster from the Rhineland Palatinate named Johann Thomas Schley (d. 1790), who came to the Maryland colony with his wife, Maria Winz. They built the first house of the new town which into the 20th century stood at the northwest corner of Middle Alley and East Patrick Street. The settlement was founded upon a tract of land granted by Daniel Dulany on the banks of Carroll Creek. Within three years the settlement had become the county seat of Frederick County. It is uncertain which Frederick the town was named for, but the likeliest candidates are Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore,
Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales, and Frederick "The Great" of Prussia.
Most sources agree it was named for Frederick Calvert.
Schley's first task as leader of the settlement party was the foundation of a German Reformed Church (today the church is known as Evangelical Reformed Church, UCC), which also served immediately as a public school, in keeping with the German Reformed tradition of sponsoring universal public education. Many of the Pennsylvania Dutch settled in Frederick as they migrated westward in the late 18th century. Frederick was a stop along the German migration route that led down through the "Great Valley" (Shenandoah Valley, etc.) all the way to the western Piedmont in North Carolina.
The city served as a major crossroads from colonial times. British General Braddock marched west through Frederick on the way to the fateful ambush near Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War. To control this crossroads during the American Revolution, the British garrisoned a Hessian regiment in the town during the war (the barracks still stand). The Schleys were activists for the American Revolution and had been a military family in Germany, with one ancestor holding high rank at the Battle of Parma in 1714. One of Johann Thomas Schley's sons, Col. George Jacob Schley, served in the Maryland Line of the Continental Army. Afterwards, with no way to return to their homeland, the men of the Hessian regiment stayed on and married into the families of the town, strengthening its German identity. Later, when President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the building of the National Road from Baltimore to St. Louis, the "National Pike" ran through Frederick along Patrick Street.
From these beginnings, Frederick grew to an important market town, but by the first third of the 19th century, the town had also become one of the leading mining counties of the United States, producing gold, copper, limestone, marble, iron and other minerals. As early as the American Revolution, Catoctin Furnace near Thurmont had been a significant site for iron production.
When the first wave of Irish refugees from the potato famine settled in the city in 1846, one of the leading members of the Schley family married into the Wilson family from Ireland. Consequently, many of the Schleys converted to Catholicism, and residents of Frederick began to speak English for the first time in the town's history — up until then, the language had been German. Frederick was known during the nineteenth century for its religious pluralism, with one of its main thoroughfares, Church Street, hosting half a dozen major churches. The main Catholic church, St. John's, was built in 1800, then rebuilt in 1837 (across the street) one block north of Church Street on East Second Street, where it still stands. Together, these churches dominated the town, set against the backdrop of the first ridge of the Appalachians, Catoctin Mountain. The abolitionist poet John Greenleaf Whittier immortalized this view of Frederick in his poem to Barbara Fritchie: "The clustered spires of Frederick stand — greenwalled in the hills of Maryland."
Frederick's status as a major crossroads put the town at the center of the Maryland campaigns of the Civil War, during which both Union and Confederate troops marched through the city. General Stonewall Jackson led his light infantry division through Frederick on his way to the battles of Crampton's, Fox's and Turner's Gaps and Antietam in September 1862, leading to an incident with Pennsylvania Dutch resident Barbara Fritchie commemorated in the poem of the same name by John Greenleaf Whittier. Major General Jesse L. Reno's IX Corps followed Jackson's men through the city a few days later on the way to the Battle of South Mountain, where Reno was killed.
The family also possessed a deep streak of military nationalism, probably from its German heritage. Thus, during the Civil War, Major Henry Schley, brother of Colonel Edward Schley (d. 1857), at the age of 72 fought for the Union as the aide de camp to General Lew Wallace, one of Grant's key adjutants at the Battle of Shiloh (1862), along with Generals William Tecumseh Sherman and Don Carlos Buell. General Wallace also fought Confederate General Jubal Early outside of Frederick at the Battle of Monocacy in 1864 (below). Major Henry Schley's son, Dr. Fairfax Schley, became a prominent civic leader after the war and was instrumental in setting up the Frederick County Agricultural Society and the Great Frederick Fair. A cousin, Admiral Winfield Scott Schley served in the United States Navy from 1860 through the Spanish–American War, where he led the American fleet to victory over the Spanish at Santiago Bay in 1898. Gilmer Schley served as Mayor from 1919-1922, and the Schleys remained one of the town's leading families into the late twentieth century. Nathaniel Wilson Schley, son of Gilmer Schley, became a prominent banker at the Farmers and Mechanics Citizens' National Bank. His wife, Mary Margaret Schley, was a Daughter of the American Revolution, a perennial leader of the Garden Society and a life member of the Frederick County Agricultural Society (FCAS), sponsor and organizer of the annual Great Frederick Fair, one of the two largest agricultural fairs in the State (with the annual State Fair at Timonium, Maryland). Their son, Donald Gilmer Schley, along with John T. Best, Gordon Smith, Frank Stauffer, Emmons C. Sanner and other FCAS board members worked in the late 1960s to shift the nightly entertainment at the then declining Fair from a New York stage-show and Borscht-belt comedian venue to a country western venue. At first they brought stars such as Barbara and Louise Mandrell, and over the later years Reba McEntire, Lee Greenwood, LeAnn Rimes, Loretta Lynn, Sawyer Brown, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Randy Travis, George Jones and many other outstanding country-western stars to the annual September event, making the Fair the site of a major annual country-western festival. Schley Avenue commemorates the family's role in the city's heritage.
Frederick had Jewish residents as early as the 1740s, when pioneers Henry Lazarus and Levy Cohan settled there as merchants. An organized Jewish community, composed mainly of German Jewish immigrants, took shape in the mid-19th century, and the Frederick Hebrew Congregation was organized in 1858. Later the congregation lapsed, but was reorganized in 1919 as a cooperative effort between the older settlers and more recently arrived Eastern European Jews under the name Beth Sholom. Another congregation was formed in 2003 called Kol Ami of Frederick.
In 1905, Rev. E.B. Hatcher started the First Baptist Church of Frederick.
In 1921, the first high school for African-Americans was founded at 170 West All Saints Street. Later it moved to 250 Madison Street, where it eventually became South Frederick Elementary. The building still stands and presently houses the Lincoln Elementary School.
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