Potomac-Broadway Historic District
Hagerstown, Washington County
The Potomac-Broadway Historic District is located in the north downtown area of Hagerstown. It extends along North Potomac Street, the main north-south axis through Hagerstown, from the north boundary of the Hagerstown Downtown Commercial Core Historic District north to the Western Maryland Railroad tracks where the Oak Hill Historic District begins. It also extends along Broadway and North Avenues east to Mulberry Street. The district consists largely of a late 19th and early 20th century residential area with most buildings dating from 1870-1930. The lower portion of the district has urban houses and townhouses from the 18th and 19th centuries which show evidence of renovation during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the upper blocks of the district are large mansions set well back from the street. The first block of Broadway has large houses set back from the street, with modest duplexes and apartments in the second block. North Avenue has combined single family and duplex residences placed closely together but retaining the set back from the street. Major Victorian Gothic, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, American Foursquare, and vernacular urban expressions of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The Potomac-Broadway Historic District has architectural and historical significance. The district has two main components: large upper-class suburban residences of the late 19th and early 20th century extending to more modest single family houses, duplexes, and apartments; and urban attached street-side buildings with mixed commercial and residential use. Together, these areas portray the growth and development of Hagerstown from the late 18th century as a rural county seat through its major commercial/industrial boom period from about 1880 to the 1930s when the town was the state’s second largest incorporated town. The upper portion of the district contains the homes of Hagerstown’s business leaders who either created or rode the tide of the economic boom to great prosperity. The lower portion of the district contains some of the few remaining buildings illustrating early Hagerstown as well as three and four story apartment buildings which represent the rapid population growth in the late 19th century. The district clearly reflects the city’s architectural sophistication with representation from many late 19th and early 20th century styles along with early residences and townhouses of the late 18th and early 19th centuries some of which were remodeled during the late 19th century.