Ronald L. Andrews
Oak Hill Historic District
Hagerstown, Washington County
The Oak Hill Historic District is an approximately 76 acre residential neighborhood in northern Hagerstown. It is characterized generally by large scale (some more so than others) houses built in the first third of the 20th century and standing in a garden city type setting featuring curved streets, wide tree-lined boulevards with deep set-backs, and small parks. The houses are generally Colonial or Georgian revival in stylistic influences though excellent examples of Spanish and Tudor Revival, Foursquare, and Bungalow are present. The properties are generally heavily landscaped. The terrain is generally flat although the blocks between The Terrace and Forest Drive are characterized by a high hill with the houses standing on the ridge. Most houses have attached or free-standing garages of the period.
The Oak Hill Historic District is an early-to-mid 20th century residential neighborhood in northeastern Hagerstown that is significant for historical and cultural reasons. Historically, the district is associated with a period, c. 1900-1941, in which Hagerstown, the seat of Washington County, experienced industrial and population growths unprecedented in the city's history. By 1914 Hagerstown emerged as the second manufacturing city in Maryland in terms of value of product, a distinction retained for a number of years. The city's population more than doubled in the first four decades of the 20th century. The district also achieves significance from its association with persons significant in local history. Oak Hill was home to many if not most of the city's industrial, commercial, social, and cultural leaders of this period. Here resided many of the owners and officers of the businesses and industries that gave Hagerstown its commercial and industrial status, as well as the citizens most influential in city and county governmental and social matters. From the point of community planning, the Oak Hill area is important as the first and only significant section of Hagerstown to be developed along the lines of the garden city movement that began in the country in the mid-19th century. The district is characterized by large lots, open spaces, deep set-backs, curving streets, tree lined boulevards, and deed restrictions affecting the cost, use, type, and placement of structures. Architecturally, the houses that line the streets of the district represent examples of the major architectural styles popular for residential construction during the first third of the century, principally of Colonial and Spanish revivals. The buildings include some of the finest examples of these styles found in Hagerstown and collectively exhibit a range of architectural expression, craftsmanship, and technique of the period.