The town of Oakland, Maryland lies 11.5 miles north of the West Virginia-Maryland line on U.S. Route 219. The history of Oakland is linked to the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, which laid its tracks through the Allegheny Mountains of Western Maryland in the 1850s.
When the original train station in Oakland burned down, the current station was built and completed in 1884. The architectural firm of Baldwin & Pennyington designed the building in the Victorian style. The railroad also built elaborate summer resort hotels, including the Deer Park Hotel, which was one of the most exclusive resorts of its time, hosting many of the rich and famous from the Baltimore/Washington area, including four presidents. President Grover Cleveland spent his honeymoon there in 1886.
Traveling 219 met with former Oakland mayor Asa McCain, who played a major role in helping to save and restore the B&O station and preserve the history of the town:
The railroad was instrumental in opening up western Maryland to new growth through the beginning of the 20th century, as more people arrived and the coal and timber industries flourished. Oakland became the seat of Garrett County, which was officially formed from Alleghany County in 1872.
Today, the area is known for its numerous parks, lakes, and forestland. Tourism, agriculture,and logging continue to contribute most to the economy of Garrett County. Oakland draws people from places as far as Baltimore and Washington, and Pittsburgh. It hosts a number of very popular annual events such as the Autumn Glory Festival and Winterfest. The historic B&O station has been restored in Oakland and is open for tours. It is still in the process of becoming a museum, and will compliment the nearby Garrett County Historical Society museum and the Transportation Museum, both in downtown Oakland.
This story was made possible with help from the Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area and the Maryland Heritage Area Authority. For more information about traveling to Garrett County, MD, please call (301) 387-4386, or visit the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce website. For more info on the B&O Station, visit http://oaklandtrainstation.org/