Taneytown Historic District
Taneytown, Carroll County
The Taneytown Historic District comprises a cohesive group of houses, churches, commercial buildings and industrial structures reflecting the development of this crossroads town from its initial platting in 1762 through the early 20th century. Taneytown is a major commercial center in northwestern Carroll County, Maryland, located at the intersection of two important 18th century transportation routes. These routes are the present-day Maryland Routes 150 and 194 that intersect at the corner of the community known as the "square". The architecture of Taneytown presents a range of architectural styles from the Pennsylvania German vernacular traditions of the late 18th and early 19th centuries to nationally inspired Victorian and early 20th century residential and commercial designs. The basic building form during its early history was the vernacular farmhouse prevalent in the Pennsylvania German cultural region. Constructed in log, stone, or brick, these buildings are two stories with rectangular or L-shaped plan, gable roof, symmetrical fenestration, and simple detailing. Most commercial activity took place in a section of the craftsmen's residential structure or in a separate building constructed in the same regional designs. With the expansion of the railroad to Taneytown in 1872,a period of economic prosperity was achieved that greatly influenced the architectural appearance of the community. Earlier structures were remodeled with fashionable ornamentation, especially full-length porches with intricate sawn-wood designs. New commercial and residential structures used Victorian designs and construction materials that were popular nationally. During the late 19th and early 20th century, the commercial architecture of the community also produced some of the best examples of its type in Carroll County. The early 20th century architecture continues to reflect the role of Taneytown as a prominent community while integrating new designs and construction technology. Early 20th century residential designs are scattered throughout the community, including examples of the foursquare and bungalow styles. In the 1930s, several utilitarian industrial and commercial structures were built. The district retains a high level of integrity, with few alterations and a minimum of incompatible intrusions. Especially noteworthy is the excellent state of preservation of Victorian sawnwood ornament which characterizes numerous buildings in the district.
The Taneytown Historic District is significant as a representative example of a major commercial center in Piedmont Maryland from the late 18th century settlement period through the early 20th century. The district embodies the distinctive characteristics of town planning in the Pennsylvania cultural region. Its founding in 1762 occurred as a result of its commercially advantageous location along two early transportation routes, one of which was the Monocacy Road, a major migration route for the Pennsylvania Germans. Its town plan, architecture, and history of the late 18th and early 19th centuries are strongly influenced by the Pennsylvania German culture. The arrival of the railroad in 1872 opened a second era in the history of the community also linked to its role as a commercial and transportation center in Piedmont Maryland. Many of the commercial buildings in the community date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and reflect the rural Victorian prosperity of the railroad era in Taneytown. National influences on Taneytown's architecture continued through 1936 with the construction of utilitarian commercial and industrial buildings.