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Valley Savings Bank - Middletown, MD
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 26.629 W 077° 32.774
18S E 280887 N 4369123
Quick Description: A really neat three-dimensional grayish stone at the top of the entrance announces an 1888 construction date, although the building was finished in 1898. The building began life as a bank, then a pst office and now a private residence.
Location: Maryland, United States
Date Posted: 1/16/2012 7:17:31 PM
Waymark Code: WMDH9N
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 3

Long Description:

This structure, located at 20 West Main Street, is Victorian-like with its pyramid roof and colorful trim. Composed of brick it more resembles a fire station or odd church than bank. There are no remnants of the former bank, however, save the rectangular, grayish-white date stone which bears only the date, 1888, in high relief, block letters. I think as the years went on and Middletown moved into the mid-20th century the building was changed to its present self. It seems the owners have the option of nailing the NRHP plaque to the front right of their door. It is these oval plaques which identify the structures as contributing. This building was constructed and erected in the heyday of this town. I called Peter Kurtze from the Maryland Historical Trust who confirmed for me the historical nature and NRHP contributing status of this building. Although post-Civil War, the building is in harmony with the rest of the streetscape and I think contributes nicely to the overall integrity of this part of The National Road.

A super exhaustive search yielded a direct reference to this former bank. My source is the History of Frederick County, Maryland, Volume 1, 1979, by Thomas John Chew Williams, Folger McKinsey, page 534 SOURCE

Adapted from the above source (page 534)

The Valley Savings Bank of Middletown, Maryland, is not only the oldest but the largest banking institution in the famous Middletown Valley. It was organized as a strictly savings bank without capital, and began business in February, 1887. The beginning of the career of this Institution was extremely unpretentious, its weekly deposits the first day it did business only amounted to the sum of one dollar.....

The Bank steadily grew until in the year 1888 it purchased a location now occupied by it on the main street of Middletown and began the erection of the bank building, which was completed and occupied in February 1889, two years after the bank began business


I also found a blog where the owner of the actual house today weighed in on his property and offered a history of it. That blog can be found HERE.

There is so much to do and see in this town which lies along the historic National Highway. I learned about their Civil War history through the numerous wayside markers found on their main drag. One of the residents was nice enough to take me inside one of their contributing structures which doubled as a field hospital. The upstairs operating rooms are still set up just as they were during the Civil War.

The contributing buildings all bear plaques and are numbered by the local historical society. As far as historic districts go, this one is the most organized and well-maintained of them all. It reminded me of Abbottstown or New Oxford, PA, towns that lie on the Lincoln Highway.

Wikipedia told me: The Middletown Historic District comprises the historic center of Middletown, Maryland. Middletown became the chief community in the Middletown Valley in the late 18th century, retaining its importance until the 1930's, when the expanding influence of Frederick, Maryland, the construction of a bypass on US 40 and the abandonment of the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway produced a gradual decline. The historic district preserves many mid-19th century buildings in the central downtown area. To the east, the district includes early 20th century houses built along the trolley right-of-way, forming a streetcar suburb. The Airview Historic District includes a related area of early 20th century development to the east of town along the National Pike, separated from the main district by a section of newer development.

From the nomination form:

The Middletown Historic District is significant as an important center of transportation and commerce for the west-central Maryland region from the late 18th century through the early 20th century. The town enjoys an advantageous position on an important transportation route. Beginning in the 18th century, the little village in the "middle" of the valley provided a variety of services for travelers to the western "Barrens" of the Maryland colony, including lodging, blacksmithing, harness and wagon repairs, as well as spiritual sustenance in the churches established from the earliest years. Following the construction of the National Road and pike system, Middletown grew in importance as a center of commerce and culture for the valley throughout the 19th century. Its importance as a transportation hub was reinforced with the establishment of the Frederick and Middletown interurban electric railway line which eventually led to Hagerstown further west. In 1936 the new Route 40 was constructed between Frederick and Hagerstown, bypassing Middletown and undermining its central status. The closing of the electric railway line in 1947 further marginalized Middletown. The Middletown Historic District derives additional significance for its cohesive collection of architectural resources including residential, commercial, and ecclesiastical buildings reflecting a wide range of stylistic influences which mark the important periods of growth and construction in the town. Although little remains from the period of Middletown's initial settlement, the streetscape retains a number of late-18th century and early-19th century buildings of log and brick construction, which reflect the Germanic vernacular influence present throughout west-central Maryland. Several church buildings and numerous commercial buildings mark the mid-19th century construction period, and a noteworthy collection of Late Victorian period dwellings identify the late-19th and early-20th century expansion of the town to the east. SOURCE

20 West Main Street Middletown, MD 21769

Year: 1888, finished in 1889

Website: [Web Link]

Current Use of Building: Private Residence

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