Frostburg Historic District
Frostburg, Allegany County
Frostburg Historic District comprises 356 resources within the city of Frostburg. Main Street, the old National Road (U.S. Route 40), runs through the town from east to west, forming the main axis of the district. A collection of early-20th century commercial buildings, primarily of brick construction, two or three stories tall, lines Main Street at the center of the district. Areas of mixed commercial and residential use extend south from Main Street. West and south of the commercial area stand houses with a generally high level of architectural elaboration, reflecting the influence of mid- to late-19th and early-20th century architectural styles, including Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival. Residences north of the central commercial core reflect the initial development of the town through several mid-19th century vernacular houses of log or heavy timber construction, with later 19th and 20th century infill housing completing the streetscapes. Depot Street contains several reminders of Frostburg's importance as a center of transportation and industry in the latter half of the 19th century, including a c. 1867 iron foundry, 1880s Queen Anne railroad depot, and a mid-19th century railroad tunnel. East Main Street, east of the commercial core, boasts several of Frostburg's earliest residences, exemplifying Greek Revival characteristics, and the Greek Revival/Italianate transition. Further east are late-19th and early-20th century residential areas composed of vernacular "I-houses" and dwellings showing the influence of the Queen Anne, Bungalow, and "Foursquare" trends of the turn of the 20th century. Several Gothic-influenced church buildings, dating from the last third of the 19th through the turn of the 20th century, also contribute to the character of the district.
This district is significant for its cohesive collection of mid- to late-19th and early-20th century domestic, commercial, and industrial buildings which collectively reflect the town's development and importance as the center of the George's Creek coal mining region. A wide variety of resources contribute to the district, exemplifying the many phases and aspects of Frostburg's growth and prominence. Houses within the district represent the succession of architectural fashions from the mid-19th through early 20th centuries, and their varying levels of elaboration reflect the economic pluralism which characterized the town throughout the period. The district derives additional significance from its association with the development of the coal industry in Western Maryland; this industry was first established in the George's Creek Valley in the 1830s and, despite considerable decline from the boom levels of the turn of the 20th century, continues to figure prominently in the economy of the region.