Roadside architecture: Blue Mountain, Maryland

There’s more to rural Frederick County, Maryland, than Camp David. Nearby, there were other twentieth century resorts that housed people of lesser means than U.S. presidents.

Blue Mountain HouseThe Blue Mountain House (F-6-095) is a 1½-story frame house located south of Blue Mountain Road in rural Frederick County, Maryland. The house is a side-gabled rectangular building constructed on a concrete block foundation. There is a front entry porch in the north façade. The porch roof is supported by four battered wood posts on brick piers. The north façade has three bays with symmetrical fenestration (central door). There is a rear one-story shed roof addition (enclosed porch) and an external gable end (west) concrete block chimney. The building has 1/1 double-hung sash windows and is clad by vinyl siding; the roof is clad by composition shingles.

In addition to the house, there is a one bay garage with a shed roof and attached gable-front building in the rear (south) of the house. According to local residents, the garage was created from a relocated former tourist cabin.

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According to the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP) form completed for this property in 1991, “This house is typical of the other dwellings in the community. Like the other buildings, it shows elements of the bungalow influence, particularly with the integrated front porch. It has experienced alterations such as siding and window replacements seen throughout the community.”

The “Blue Mountain House” appears to have been constructed after 1924 and before 1943. The house likely was built while it was owned by Charles E. and Glenna M. Eyler, who purchased the property in 1938. The Eylers owned the property until 1972 when Charles (by then a widower) sold it to Robert E. and Donna M. Gernand. In 2000, the house was purchased by Paul Woldboldt.


View Blue Mountain vicinity in a larger map

 Hoover’s Blue Mountain Camp/Blue Mountain Inn is located east of SR 806 (Catoctin Furnace Road) north of its intersection with Blue Mountain Road. The building at this site is an abandoned 1½-story rectangular frame building with multiple additions to its front, rear, and sides. The original block appears to a side-gabled building. The building has 1/1 double-hung sash and fixed-pane windows. Clad by board-and-batten siding, the building has front- and rear-facing shed roof dormers. The roof is clad by standing seam metal.

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Hoover’s Blue Mountain Camp/Blue Mountain Inn, 2003.

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Hoover’s Blue Mountain Camp/Blue Mountain Inn, 2003.

The building at 13503 Catoctin Furnace Road once served as the office/restaurant of the former Hoover’s Blue Mountain Camp, an early twentieth century tourist cabin camp (a precursor to modern motels). The property once included parcels that have since been subdivided, including the Mare Boating property immediately east (7006 Blue Mountain Road) and the property immediately north (13513 Catoctin Furnace Road). Hoover’s Blue Mountain Camp was developed on property formerly owned during the nineteenth century by the Catoctin Mountain Iron Company. In 1891, the property was one tract in a larger sale of the company’s real estate involving more than 7,000 acres. The tract subsequently was condemned by the used by the Frederick Board of County School Commissioners as the Blue Mountain School. The school – presumably housed in the original block of the abandoned building at 13503 Catoctin Furnace Road – was a “one-room” school that remained open until 1924 when the county sold the property to Roger and Bessie Geisbert. The property subsequently was sold to Lester Birely, and ultimately, in 1929, to William R. and Clara B. Hoover.

The Hoovers operated their cabin camp until ca. 1948, when they sold the property to Carroll E. Kinsey. Kinsey appears to have operated the tourist camp with his wife. In order to keep up with trends in the hospitality industry, the Kinseys appear to have constructed a one-story motel building north of the 13503 Catoctin Furnace Road site shortly after they bought the property. According to a Web site (deleted after 2003) with a photograph of a 1950s-vintage postcard of the camp, the facility offered a “Cool and Shady” location “in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”

blue-mtn-05It boasted “modern cottages, Singles and Family Sizes” and a “Modern Restaurant” that seated 75. The motel closed in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The 1950s motel building’s owner in 2003, Judy Humerick, recalled, “When we bought this, this was originally a motel. The place that’s in the back was part of the Hoover’s Cabins. This was only here maybe fifty years, but that [abandoned building] was here a lot longer.”

After the motel closed, the property was used by the Kinsey Construction Company as its office. When the Humericks acquired the property approximately forty years ago they converted the former motel into apartments.

Former motel, 2003.

Former Hoover's site. Credit: Google Earth.

Former Hoover’s site, c. 2012. Credit: Google Earth.

Adapted from material filed with the Maryland Historical Trust, May 2003.

© 2003-2013 D.S. Rotenstein.