Lonaconing Historic District
Lonaconing, Allegany County
The Lonaconing Historic District comprises 278 buildings and structures consisting of a variety of 19th and early-20th century commercial, industrial, and residential buildings which attest to the development of Lonaconing as a center of the iron, coal, and silk industries in the George's Creek Valley of Western Maryland. The focus of the district is a group of 40 late-19th and early-20th century commercial structures lining Main Street and intersecting streets, including a hotel, bank, three dry goods stores, and numerous other shops and warehouses, mostly constructed after a fire which devastated downtown in 1881. These brick or frame, generally 2-story buildings have undergone remarkably little alteration and in most cases retain their original storefronts, cornices, and other decorative detailing. Also included within the district are structures related to the industrial development of Lonaconing, such as a coal company office building and furnace, and a silk throwing mill which employed the wives of miners. Houses in the district include workers' housing of various materials and configurations from the mid to late 19th century. The earliest of these are of log construction. Duplexes were often sheathed in board-and-batten siding, whether of log or frame construction. Still later duplexes were sheathed in German siding, with simple Victorian ornament. Other individual houses in the district, constructed of frame or brick, reflect Italianate, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival influences.
Lonaconing Historic District is significant for its wide variety of 19th and 20th century architectural styles reflecting the town's growth and prosperity as a center of Maryland's expanding coal and iron industry. Its buildings, ranging in size and complexity from simple vernacular one- and two-family log cabins to elaborate Victorian structures in frame and brick, are enhanced by their crowded placement on Lonaconing's closely parallel streets, which correspond in their cuts to the steeply rising mountains surrounding the town to the north and south. The result of these man-made accommodations to the rugged natural environment of George's Creek Valley and to a once-burgeoning industrial economy is exemplified and largely intact in the present-day Lonaconing Historic District.