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Bicycling through the Farmer’s World of 1895

This cycle tour recaptures some of the daily practices and customs of a farming community at the end of the 19th century. It visits farmsteads and the sites of social and commercial establishments that were part of the farm family’s life in and around Dickerson in 1895.

Park at the M-NCPPC recreation area on Dickerson School Road, where this 11.7 mile tour begins.

1. Dickerson Station
Head north on Dickerson School road, cross the tracks and turn left to the Dickerson Station. 1891 had been notable for the Dickerson community, for in that year the Dickerson Station was constructed by the B & O Railroad.

2. W. H. Dickerson’s General Store and Post Office
(across Mt. Ephraim Road from the Station)
For most of his every-day needs - groceries, meats, drygoods, clothes, fabrics, candy - and his mail, the farmer would come to W. H. Dickerson’s General Store and Post Office, established following the arrival of the railroad in the 1870s by the foresighted William Dickerson.

3. W. H. Dickerson House
Dickerson himself, for whom the community came to be named, also served as railroad agent for many years. His house may be seen across the field some 500 feet northwest of the store (the first house on the right on Nicholson Farm Road).

4. Sellman’s Boarding House and Livery Stable Site
Continue west on Mt. Ephraim Road to its intersection with Route 28. Turn right and ride about 50 feet. Across Route 28, where the cinder block warehouse now stands, was located Sellman’s Boarding House and Livery Stable.

5. Dickerson Methodist Episcopal Church
Turn south on Route 28. Just past the railroad underpass, turn right onto Dickerson Church Road and follow it to the Dickerson Methodist Episcopal Church. Completed in1930, this church was built to succeed Mt. Pleasant Method Episcopal church, founded in 1888.

6. Gott’s Mill Site
Located southeast of Mt. Carmel, where Route 28 crosses the Little Monocacy River, is the site of Gott’s Mill. No longer standing, it was constructed of sandstone and ironstone found on the property. Fed by a mill race whose ruins can still be seen in winter, it was powered by a great overshot water wheel that emptied into the Little Monocacy. This grist and flour mill, established before 1800, was in operation until 1910, serving the farmers of the surrounding countryside.

7. Monocacy Schoolhouse Site
Just after the Civil War, a one-room school was built southeast of the intersection of Route 28 and Martinsburg Road for the farm children of the Dickerson community. No longer standing, the School operated until 1921 when a new four-room building was built on Dickerson School Road (which burned in 1959).

Now turn right (west) on Martinsburg Road.

8. Martinsburg Road
Long stretches of the original sandstone walls still stand along this section of the original 1838 road.

9. Linden Park
On your right is Linden Park (private) identified by stone pillars which stand at the entrance, constructed in 1935 by Walter K. Matthews, who purchased Linden Farm (the next site) in 1932.

10. Linden Farm
In 1883, Lawrence White and his bride, Annie Belt, built a stylish farmhouse on this 255-acre farm, named for the linden trees planted on the property. Walter Matthews acquired the property in 1935, converted part of it to Linden Park, and built a bank barn, silo, and gothic dairy barn.

11. Inverness
Look across the fields on your left to see the distant farm buildings of Inverness, a 19th-century farmstead. The home of four generations of the White family, the house was constructed in 1818 for Charles Willson.

The main route of the trail now turns left onto Wasche Road, then onto Martinsburg Road for 1.4 miles to the Trundle-Shreeve Farm.

12. Trundle-Shreeve Farmstead
The magnificent “Seneca” sandstone bankbarn on your left was constructed circa 1830. This style of barn is an important local building type in which the hay was stored above and animals housed below.

Head back to Wasche Road and ride 1.3 miles to turn left onto Hunter Road. You will be cycling through a varied farming landscape, with glimpses of the area’s dominant natural feature, the 1,282 foot Sugar Loaf Mountain. Turn right from Hunter Road onto Route 28, into the 250 year-old crossroads community of Beallsville. Now turn left onto Route 109 to continue a pleasant ride through farming country.

13. Beallsville
Beallsville served as a strategic crossroad and encampment for the Union army during the Civil War. Known then as Monocacy Church, it was the site of a battle in 1862, during which the church was destroyed.

Turn left onto Big Woods Road. Big Woods has been a major community of black families long associated with the Dickerson farming community, and now increasingly employed in urban and suburban occupations

Emerging from the wooded area at mile 10.5 the rider enjoys magnificent panoramas toward the west, with the Catoctins and distant Blue Ridge mountains visible on a clear day.

On the approach to Dickerson up Big Woods Road, many clustered small houses antedating the coming of the railroad are associated with the earlier agricultural and industrial history of the Dickerson area. Turn right onto Dickerson School Road and back to your starting point. For refreshments before returning to your car, continue straight ahead 70 feet, turn left and ride 50 yards to the Dickerson Market.

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