A WALKING TOUR OF SHEPHERDSTOWN
The walking tour is self-guided. You may follow the numbers or just pick randomly from the guide. Some things to look for as you walk the tour:
- How many horse stones can you discover along the streets? These made it easier to enter or exit a carriage or to mount or dismount a horse. Some are over 200 years old.
- Some businesses on German Street dressed up their store fronts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with decorative cast iron, new wood trim, and leaded glass. Some installed tin ceilings. Can you find the iron fronts? Look for the name George L. Mesker and Company, Evansville, Indiana.
- At one time, Shepherdstown had water pumps on the sidewalks. Users paid a small fee to the homeowner who maintained the pump. Can you find a replica?
- Notice how the buildings are placed on the lots. The earliest lot owners built their buildings on the front so that most of the lot could be used for food cultivation or animal raising. Later, as provisions became available from local merchants, owners built farther back on the lots to make room for porches, flower gardens, and lawns, signs of a more prosperous time.
(The stop numbers are keyed to the Shepherdstown street map. Street addresses are provided for most residential structures. Some public buildings are open, but most of the private buildings are residences not open to the public except on special occasions when some homes are opened to visitors. PLEASE RESPECT THE PRIVACY OF RESIDENTS).
1. ENTLER HOTEL AND HISTORIC SHEPHERDSTOWN MUSEUM
NW corner of German and Princess Sts. In 1786 Philip Adam Entler, Jr. built a residence on the west side of the property. In following years, others built substantial brick buildings on the lot extending eastward from Entler’s residence to Princess Street. By 1809 Daniel Bedinger owned all of the property that became the Entler Hotel and leased it to others. For more than a century the Entler thrived. In 1912, the Entler residence on the west side of the property burned. During the 20th century the Entler briefly took the name Rumsey Hotel and then became Rumsey Hall, a college dormitory. It housed students, World War II Navy and Air Force cadets, and college faculty. When the building appeared scheduled for demolition in the early 1970s, townspeople organized to save and restore it. Today the Entler helps tell the story of Shepherdstown as the Historic Shepherdstown Museum. The Museum is housed in the west side of the building and is open from April through October. The first floor is used by the community for meetings, art exhibits, parties, and receptions. The Shepherdstown Visitors Center occupies space on the corner.
2. RUMSEY STEAMBOAT MUSEUM
On the Entler grounds. Houses a half-size working replica of Rumsey’s steamboat and an exhibit reviewing James Rumsey's life and work.
128 E German St. Might be the only building on the south side of this block surviving from early Shepherdstown that has not been significantly changed or replaced. From ca. late 1790s to the mid 1850s, it was a stately residence where John F. Hamtramck, one of the town’s military heroes, lived for a time. Later it became a business address and in recent times has become a part of the Shepherdstown tradition of inns and taverns.
109-111 E German Street St. Built in early 1800s and spared from the1912 fire which burned adjacent buildings to the east on East German, including part of the Entler property. Charles Harper started an apothecary shop here in 1816. After the Civil War, B.S. Pendleton, a Confederate veteran, bought the property and opened his green grocer store. In the early 20th century, Pendleton was still selling Confederate Generals Lee, Jackson, and Stuart lead pencils, and “Blind John” Lamb operated his roasted peanut stand just off the sidewalk. Across the alley to the right, a brick wall from 1798 survives in a structure built in 1913, after the big fire.
NE corner of German and King Sts. This imposing Greek Revival structure was erected in 1859 by Rezin Davis Shepherd, who intended it to be a town hall. A major benefactor of the town, Shepherd grew wealthy as a businessman in New Orleans after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. At the time of his death in 1865 he was said to be one of the major property owners of New Orleans though he also maintained a residence in Shepherdstown. The clock in the tower, donated to the town by Shepherd in 1842 and originally housed in the old Episcopal Church, was moved to the town hall tower in 1860. Though neglected during some periods, the clock has been maintained in recent decades and still strikes the hour. After the Civil War, the building served briefly as the county courthouse, and the wings were added. When the county seat returned to Charles Town in 1871, the Shepherd heirs deeded the property to a board of trustees for the town. In 1872, the trustees in turn leased it to the state, and the town hall became the first building of what is today Shepherd University. In 1927 it was named in memory of Joseph McMurran, Shepherd’s first principal.
Construction of the “College Wall” along two sides of the lot began in 1859, but the wall, of hand cut stones, remained incomplete until after the Civil War. Generations of the town’s youth have congregated at the wall to observe the passing scene, ignoring an 1896 town ordinance imposing a dollar fine for loafing on or near the wall.
109 N King St, attached to McMurran. Was built through the fund-raising efforts of townspeople. Katherine Reynolds led the campaign. Completed in 1889, the building contained an auditorium and a stage. In 1912, the town placed the building at the disposal of the growing college, and in 1929, it was named in Mrs. Reynolds’ honor. Still used by Shepherd University, it also remains available for town meetings and entertainment.
104 N King St. A modern brick structure, it replaced an older, smaller building in 2011.
8. ST. PETER’S LUTHERAN CHURCH
SW corner of King and High Sts. Dedicated in 1908, this structure became the second church for the Lutheran congregation. The church bell, dating from 1879, was brought from the first church and installed in the tower. An escutcheon made by local locksmith Michael Rickard also was transferred from the old building and placed on the tower door, where it remains today.
9. SHEPHERD UNIVERSITY, EAST CAMPUS
Begins north of the High St—King St intersection. A campus map is displayed on the grounds of Knutti Hall at 102 E High St.
10. ENTLER-WELTZHEIMER HOUSE
On N side of High St, midway between King and Princess Sts. Allegedly an 18th century structure, it has been said to date to as early as 1770 or as late as 1793. Built of logs and now clad in wood siding, it is the last survivor of several similar structures of early vintage that once lined the north side of High Street in this block. According to a newspaper account of 1927, it came into the Entler and Weltzheimer families in 1815. Local tradition has it that the ghost of a murdered cobbler haunted the building. In 1925, the state acquired the property for the use of Shepherd College. For a time home economics classes and college organizations met here. After the building went through a long period of disuse and decay, historic preservation groups worked toward its restoration in 2011.
11. WAR MEMORIAL BUILDING
SE corner of German and King Sts. Also formerly known as the Men’s Club Building. Built in 1868 to house the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, it was the first substantial building on the eastern half of the block. Until then a large tannery occupied the entire area. Just before World War I, Pearl S. Buck’s uncle served as pastor of the church. In 1940, the Methodists reunited at the New Street Methodist Church. The Shepherdstown Men’s Club purchased the property in 1947 and named it the War Memorial Building. The club, renamed the Shepherdstown Community Club in 2011, holds its dinners and meetings here and makes its large meeting rooms available for many community activities.
Just west of War Memorial Building, in the middle of King Street. This area served as a market space beginning in the mid 1700s. The town built the market house in 1800, placing the whipping post and public hog pen on the south end. Offenders of town ordinances suffered public punishment. Hogs running loose could be seized for public auction. In 1845 the International Order of Odd Fellows added the second story in exchange for a 999-year lease. After the town market closed in 1854, the town enclosed the stalls with brick exterior walls, and the building became a firehouse. It also served from time to time as council chambers, private school, and meat market. In 1926, the Shepherdstown Women’s Club obtained permission to use the building as a library, sharing the premises for some years with the town jail. The Shepherdstown Library, Inc. had the Odd Fellows’ 999 year lease voided in 1962. A unique characteristic of the building remains the Odd Fellows’ symbol of the Seeing Eye, peering at passersby from a semi-circular niche above the front door. Some say the eye moves.
SW corner of King and German Sts. Was used as a general store or grocery store from the early 1800s until the late 1980s. During the antebellum era local militia organizations used the brick double house attached to the rear of the building as a meeting and drill room. Following the battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862) wounded men were carried to the second floor, one of the main surgeries pressed into action in the emergency. Contemporary accounts reported amputated limbs being thrown from upper windows into waiting wagons. Here also Joseph McMurran, who was to become the first principal of Shepherd, had his private schoolroom after the Civil War.
NW corner of German and King Sts. One of the oldest buildings in town, it is located on Town Lot No.1. Three generations of the Sheetz family manufactured guns and stocks here from before the American Revolution to c. 1830s. The gun shop was in a structure behind the Sheetz building facing King Street. From c.1810 to 1821 the family also maintained a tavern. The brick building held the saloon, the adjacent stucco house contained the dining room, and the living quarters were upstairs. William Sheetz manufactured gun stocks for the armory at Harpers Ferry. After the armory was destroyed during the Civil War, Sheetz used the left over gun stocks to build a picket fence.
119 W German St. The oldest general store location in town, it began as Morris and Brown's general store in 1804 and continued for the next 158 years. Among the long-time proprietors, the Tabler family occupied this building from 1922 to 1962. It also contained the US Post Office 1823-1853.
122 W German St. A large limestone dwelling built in 1790 by German-born Revolutionary War veteran Michael Yeasley, it predates most of the brick buildings. Here Yeasley operated a mercantile store. He owned other properties, both town lots and farm lands. With his first wife Catherine (the widow of Philip Entler, Jr), Yeasley had seven daughters. He was a stalwart of the German Reformed Church. The narrow building wedged between the Yeasley House and the next brick house was the law office of the Honorable Henry Bedinger, poet, congressman, diplomat and one of the town’s leading lights of the mid-19th century.
17. ALEXANDER LINDSEY’S TAVERN
126 W German St. Abutting Bedinger’s law office, it was Lindsay’s Tavern in 1800. By the mid 1800s it had become the site of the flourishing general store of John McEndree.
131 W German St. The Opera House replaced a one hundred year old building in 1909. Here moving pictures were shown continuously until 1956. Thirty-five years later, after extensive renovation, it reopened as a movie theater.
NE corner of German and Church Sts (known as “Billmyer’s Corner” for generations). This is one of the oldest buildings in town. A log building occupied the site in 1776; the third story and the brick façade were added after the Civil War. During the Civil War the federal post office was located in the store. When the Confederates controlled the town, the store remained open, but the post office didn’t. Two different banks used the corner room from 1873 to 1940.
20. CONRAD SHINDLER HOUSE or REFORMED PARSONAGE
SE corner of German and Church Sts. Was built by Shindler, a coppersmith, in the late 1790s. He used the cellar to forge his pieces. Later the building served for a time as the parsonage of Christ Reformed Church. In 1995 actress Mary Tyler Moore, a direct Shindler descendent, purchased the property and deeded it to the Shepherd College Foundation in honor of her father. It now houses the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War.
21. TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
SW corner of German and Church Sts. It features a grey stone spire that rises high above the town. A Gothic Revival structure of native stone, it was completed in 1859 on the eastern end of the old Parade Grounds, where local militia drilled from the French and Indian War until the Civil War. After the Battle of Antietam, town clergymen, realizing their churches would be swamped with the wounded, agreed that one should remain open as “a house of prayer.” Because Trinity had just been consecrated in 1859, it was chosen. The church remained a dedicated place of worship, always open and providing services acceptable to both Union and Confederate troops and their sympathizers throughout the war. The Episcopal Chapel, on the back part of the lot, dates from 1870.
22. KEARSLEY HOUSE or PRESBYTERIAN MANSE
NW corner of German and Church Sts. Grew from a dwelling built in 1795 by John and Mary Line. John Kearsley, a Revolutionary veteran, long time Presbyterian elder, substantial property owner, and president of the town board of trustees for 9 years, added the larger front portion in 1814. The back portion, with an entrance on Church Street, housed a general store and from 1869 to 1873, Shepherdstown’s first bank. Later the residence of Presbyterian pastors for many years, it is now a privately-owned residence.
East side of N Church St. Contains the graves of several members of the founding families. Nine Revolutionary soldiers also are interred here. Another, William Morgan, Sr., is said to have been buried under the east chancel of the adjacent.
SE corner of Church and High Sts. The “Old English Church” began as a log cabin in 1745. A stone structure called the Mecklenburg Chapel replaced the original building in 1769. Though it has gone through several renovations, the basic structure of 1769 still remains. It is among the earliest surviving church buildings west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town’s founder, Thomas Shepherd, willed the lot upon which the structure stands to the church parish in 1776. After the Revolution, the building fell into neglect with the disestablishment of Anglicanism in Virginia. In about 1815, the church was rebuilt. The first use of the name Trinity Church appears in the records in 1836. A clock given by Rezin D. Shepherd remained in the tower here from 1841 to 1858. After the Civil War, the Old English Church became the first Freedman’s School and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The original steeple blew off in a storm in the 1890s. Today the property is privately owned.
25. MICHAEL RICKARD HOUSE
211/213 W German St. Rickard was among the German artisans who settled here in the l8th century. The west side of this two-story brick house provided residential quarters for the family, and the east side housed Rickard’s locksmith shop. In 1795, Rickard crafted the escutcheon that has graced doors of two successive Lutheran churches. Three generations made locks at this location. The screw lock, used as switch locks by railroads, was invented here, and the handcuffs worn by John Brown at his trial in Charles Town (1859) were crafted here.
215 W German St. In 1800 John Baker purchased this house, adjacent to the Rickard House. He was one of the defense lawyers in Aaron Burr’s treason trial in 1807 and later served in Congress and the Virginia legislature as a Federalist. In 1817 he bought the building that would later become the Episcopal Rectory. Elias Baker (no relation) bought the German Street property just before the Civil War, and he served as federal postmaster 1862-1867. When his son Newton joined the Confederate Army, the elder Baker refused to speak to him. Newton became a physician after the war and practiced in Martinsburg. There, Newton’s son, Newton Diehl Baker, Jr., was born. He became the Secretary of War in Woodrow Wilson’s cabinet. The Newton D. Baker Veterans Hospital is named for him.
214 W German. This rambling two-story stucco house has a colorful history. During the Revolutionary War a log tavern on the site became a rendezvous for American forces. A large yard behind provided a drill ground for troops. Joseph Entler bought the property in 1808 and established Entler’s Tavern (not to be confused with the Entler Hotel). At some point in the early 19th century the establishment became known as the Great Western Hotel. During the War of 1812, it served as a barracks for troops. After the war, Entler catered to the wagon trade. Many drivers and workers with wagon trains, Conestogas, ox carts and the like stayed here before crossing the Potomac at Pack Horse Ford. A 25 horse limestone stable behind the hotel enhanced its appeal. The hotel sustained much interior damage by soldiers during the Civil War and never reopened as a hotel. After extensive repairs it became a private residence.
At the intersection of Duke and W German Sts. Has been called through the years somebody’s corner: Byers’, Beltzhoover’s and Weis’s, depending on who lived on the corner at the time. Occasionally during the 20th century it had a stoplight. Negotiating the turn has proved a challenge for large trucks of recent times.
29. WEIS HOUSE AND POTTERY KILN
NW corner of German and Duke Sts. In the early 1800s the Weis family began turning out a reddish brown, unglazed pottery in a wooden house on this site. In 1815 a fire spread from the kilns behind the house and destroyed the wooden structure. The Weis’s then built the large brick house. The smaller brick structure attached to the west side of the house became a shop for the display of Weis pottery ware, now prized by collectors. Like many of the products of early artisans, examples of Weis pottery may be seen at the Historic Shepherdstown Museum.
30. SITE OF JAMES RUMSEY HOUSE
SW corner of where Duke (Route 480) and New Sts once intersected. The log cabin in which James Rumsey lived (1785-1788) stood on this spot where now stands a brick house built in 1860. A plaque on the side of the house identifies the site. The town’s first jailhouse, a limestone structure, stood in the middle of New Street adjacent to the Rumsey house site from 1794 to 1865.
31. NEW STREET UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
SW corner of New and Church Sts. The original building, constructed of wood, also stood here, but burned in 1854, leading to its replacement by the current brick structure. Differences over slavery caused a split in the Methodist Church in the antebellum era, and the Northern Methodists retained control of the building. In 1868, Southern Methodists built what is now known as the War Memorial Building on German Street. Northern and Southern Methodists reunited in 1940 at the New Street site.
32. ST. AGNES CATHOLIC CHURCH
NW corner of Washington and Church Sts, one block south of the United Methodist Church. Dedicated in 1891 in honor of Agnes Gibson (1853-1941), a lay person who played a major role in raising funds for the building of the church. It is now the St. Agnes Chapel. On July 28, 2008, St. Agnes dedicated a striking new church edifice located at 106 South Duke Street, behind the parish house.
33. EPISCOPAL RECTORY AND SHEPHERD BURIAL GROUND
104 W New St. The large federal style brick house, constructed in 1814, was purchased by Thomas Van Swearingen in 1815 and sold to John Baker in 1817. It has served as the rectory since 1846. The Shepherd burial ground, inside the adjacent stone walls, was established in 1776 upon the death of Thomas Shepherd and is said to contain his unmarked grave. Over thirty family members are interred here, the last in 1941.
34. COMMUNITY BUILDING AND FIRE HALL
SE corner of King and New Sts. Built in 1912, this red brick building of Gothic design with a square steepled tower at one corner housed the fire department and served as a community building, town hall, jailhouse, basketball court, sometime movie theater, and a gathering place for church suppers, bazaars, and entertainments by various religious and civic groups. After the fire company moved to a new fire house on Route 45 in 1987, the building remained empty for a time and today is privately owned.
35. SHEPHERDSTOWN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
SW corner King and Washington Sts. Officially chartered in 1743, this is the oldest continuing congregation in town. In the early 1780s, the congregation built a log church on the corner opposite the present site and shortly thereafter replaced it with a frame building on the same site. When the frame building burned in 1831, the church traded its former lots for the current site. The structure dates from 1836. A plain red brick building, it has a belfry and cupola atop the front gable. As the largest building in town at the time of the Battle of Antietam, the church served as a primary hospital for the wounded.
S side of E New St, between King and Princess Sts. The long two-story building has been called Stone Row for generations. Built in the early 1790s, it began as Philip Shutt’s Brewhouse. Irish workingmen building the C&O Canal in the 1830s enjoyed “Shutt’s Cream Beer.”
37. SHEPHERD DISTRICT FREE SCHOOL
SE Corner of New and Princess Sts. One of the two public schoolhouses in town built by the state of Virginia in 1848, it continues to serve the cause of education as office space for Shepherd University professors. It is believed to be the oldest free schoolhouse in West Virginia.
38. TOLLIVER’S HOTEL AND ICE CREAM PARLOR
SE corner of Princess and German Sts. Owner J. Matt Tolliver seems to have been the downtown area’s first successful black businessman. His name appears in the town records during the years 1877 to 1908. After his popular restaurant burned in 1894, he built this brick building, where he ran a hotel and ice cream parlor. From 1899 to 1909 the town granted him an annual hotel license.
SW corner Princess and E German Sts. A large brick structure and residence from the early 1800s to the 1880s. Resident families included three generations of the Reinhart family, then the Line family. From 1854 until his death in 1858, it was the home of the Honorable Henry Bedinger, the first U.S. Ambassador to Denmark. In the 1880s, G.T. Hodges established a large general store in the front corner room. The old entrance is still visible from the Princess Street side.
NE corner of German and Princess Sts. In 1906 Jefferson Security Bank removed an older brick building from this site and erected the current structure, a modified Beaux Arts style building. When the bank moved in 1975, new owners converted the old bank into a restaurant.
203 E German St, adjacent to the Yellow Brick Bank. A complex of three structures built for the Shepherd family as a town home, including a small rectangular brick building (which served as a doctor’s office from c. 1850 to 1890), a carriage house (converted into a tea room and tourist inn c.1920), and a Greek Revival brick house with iron grill work on the front said to have been brought from New Orleans by a member of the Shepherd family. Author Willa Cather spent a summer at the Gray Lodge working on a novel.
204 E German St, opposite the Gray Lodge. A log cabin owned by Martin Entler housed a tavern on this site as early as 1769. In 1781 Cornelius Wynkoop acquired the tavern. Here, some alleged, steamboat builder John Fitch stayed while spying on James Rumsey’s experiments. Wynkoop erected the present brick structure c.1791. During the early 19th century it became a fashionable stopover place for visitors. Six generations of one family—with different surnames—occupied the house from 1800 to 1986. Among them were Selby, Hamtramck, and Billmyer. Notable among the residents was Col. John Francis Hamtramck, a West Point graduate who commanded a volunteer regiment in the Mexican War, helped train local militia units in the antebellum era, and served as town mayor.
207 E German St. Built in 1865 by Dr. John Reynolds who served the town as a doctor for more than 40 years. As town mayor 1860 to 1862 he had to deal with a dangerous situation when unknown persons on the Shepherdstown side fired at Union pickets across the river, drawing a protest and threat from authorities on the Union side. Reynolds’ wife Katherine led a community fundraising drive for the town hall attached to McMurran Hall in 1889. The building was later named in her memory.
213 E German St. Town records list the poorhouse as early as 1805. Here, following Elizabethan tradition, the town provided a modicum of care for the poor and elderly. Though it began as a log house, it has been enlarged and covered with wooden siding. Iron rings in the attic rafters suggest that some of the residents may have been restrained.
301 E German St. In 1796, this brick house replaced an earlier log house. The trials of the Parran family poignantly illustrate the tragic impact of the Civil War. Dr. Richard Parran, a physician, died in 1851 leaving his widow and five daughters. The widow Parran remarried on the eve of the Civil War, but her husband joined the Confederate Army and was killed early in the war. One of her daughters, Lily, married William Fitzhugh Lee. At the beginning of the Civil War, Lee died as a result of wounds at the First Battle of Bull Run. Another daughter married Dr. William Tinsley, also in the Confederate service, who helped organize the town's care for the wounded after Antietam. Lily Lee and her husband had known Confederate General Jeb Stuart and his wife in happier times. Stuart visited Lily at the Parran House during the War. Eyewitness accounts of Stuart’s deathbed will in May, 1864, differ, but one version reports that Stuart ordered that his golden spurs be given to Lily Lee. There are reasons to doubt that Lily ever received them.
Between E German and E High Sts, on Audrey Egle Dr. The Norfolk and Western Railroad built the passenger station in 1909. Waiting rooms and rest rooms were segregated. After nearly a half century of service, passenger traffic ended in 1957 and the station closed, to be used by the railroad for storage. In 1996 the railroad deeded the passenger station to the town for $1.00, and the building was restored and redesigned as a multiple use facility.
47. CHRIST REFORMED CHURCH
S side of E German St., just beyond the N&W Railroad tracks. The German Reformed congregation built this church in 1839 on the site used by the German Reformed congregation since its organization about 1780. Its graveyard (still used) was established in 1774 and contains graves of Revolutionary War soldiers. A square tower of native stone, part of an earlier stone church built in 1798, rises at the back of the building surmounted by a steeple and belfry. The belfry contains three bells imported from Germany a few years after the Revolution by Michael Yeasley, a Revolutionary soldier. The largest bell contains the engraved date 1732 and “Rouen,” suggesting French manufacture.
48. THE FIRST ST. PETER’S LUTHERAN CHURCH
N side of E German St, directly across the street from Christ Reformed Church. Here in 1795, the Lutherans built a beautiful brick church which served the congregation until 1908, when they constructed a new St. Peter’s on the SW corner of King and High Sts. The old church building burned in 1924. The church graveyard, established in 1774, remains intact but is no longer used. The old German schoolhouse still stands in the graveyard.
49. JAMES RUMSEY MONUMENT
At end of Mill St. Affords a panoramic view of the Potomac and the historic setting of Shepherdstown. Efforts of the Rumseian Society led to the construction and dedication of the monument as a state park in 1915 to commemorate Rumsey’s steamboat experiments. After the state stopped appropriations for the park in the 1960s, private efforts kept the park from deteriorating. In the mid 1990s, the town assumed maintenance.
50. THOMAS SHEPHERD GRISTMILL
207 E High. A two-story stone mill built c. 1738. About 1835, a wooden third story was added. Sometime in the 19th century, a huge overshot wheel of 12 tons and 40 feet in diameter was built, positioned some 200 feet north of the mill in the Town Run. A sluice, supported on trestles, carried water from the southeast corner of Princess and High streets and discharged it onto the top of the wheel. In 1905, the wheel was moved to its present location. The mill operated until 1941. The mill and grounds are privately owned and closed to the public.
Near NE corner of Princess and High Sts. Built over Town Run by the owners of the residence to the left for the purpose of washing clothes. From the1920s to mid-1950s it was used as a residence
52. TOWN RUN WATERPOWER AREA and TOBACCO WAREHOUSE
From the corner of Princess and High Sts, N Princess makes a steep descent to the Potomac. Town Run falls here through a steep ravine where once gristmills, sawmills, manufacturing mills and warehouses took advantage of the water’s power. The only building left is the tobacco warehouse, authorized by Virginia’s General Assembly in 1788. The large stone building perhaps replaced an earlier wooden structure c.1800.
53. FERRY LANDING AND BRIDGE TOLLHOUSE
At the bottom of N Princess St. At the river’s edge, one stands at the border between West Virginia and Maryland. Here too is the former ferry landing, still in use as a boat ramp. The old piers in the river supported several bridges from 1849-1936. The former bridge tollhouse remains as a private residence.
54. GETZENDANNER’S CORNER
SE corner, Princess and High Sts. The site of Getzendanner's mill in late 1790s, the current structure on the corner dates to 1920 and exemplifies the architectural style of service stations in the early automobile age. The front part has been enclosed and the pumps have been removed. The two houses abutting the former service station on High St. were associated with a cotton mill that operated on the site before the Civil War. In 1930, the service station added a miniature golf course on the south side of the property. The service station closed in the 1980s. Where cars formerly stopped for service, patrons now enjoy a restaurant.
109-113 N Princess St. A combination brick and clapboard building, dating to the 1790s. In November, 1790, Nathaniel Willis published the Potowmak Guardian and Berkeley Advertiser here, the first newspaper in what is now West Virginia. Willis had participated in the Boston Tea Party of 1773. In the early 1800s, Mrs. Catherine Weltzheimer operated a tavern for some 15 years in the brick section and let rooms in the wooden section.
56. LITTLE HOUSE AND MINIATURE FARM
W side of Princess St. between German and High Sts. Built in1929 as a teacher training project largely through the efforts of education professor Florence Shaw. The farm includes a small limestone cottage in full detail, near the street. Behind the house and across Town Run is a miniature dairy barn. At one time the grounds included tiny gardens and fields. Here too, Town Run drops beneath Princess Street and descends towards the Potomac.
57. CHAPLINE-SHENTON HOUSE
101 N Princess St, adjacent to Yellow Brick Bank. Built in the late 1790s in the Federal style, this was the in-town residence and law office of the Hon. Thomas Van Swearingen, Esq. from 1817 until his death in 1822. He spent his summers at Bellevue, the family estate. He represented this region in the Virginia Assembly from 1814 to 1816 and in the U.S. Congress from 1819 to 1822.
James C. Price and Harold Snyder revised earlier tour material for the 1998 walking tour brochure. Historic Shepherdstown revised the tour brochure in 2011 as A Brief History and Walking Tour. The online version is based on the 2011 version of the brochure. All photographs for the online tour were provided by Dr. Rocco Cipriano.
Historic Shepherdstown produces the online Walking Tour and the Walking Tour Brochure as outreach projects to serve the goals of the organization:
- To promote a greater and better Shepherdstown;
- To bring wider recognition of the unique assets which make it such a desirable community in which to live;
- To preserve the rich heritage of the town, its ancient landmarks, and to record the history of its people;
- To possess by gift or purchase, properties of historic value.
For more information on Historic Shepherdstown and Museum please visit our website at www.historicshepherdstown.com or contact us at:
Historic Shepherdstown and Museum
PO Box 1786
129 E. German Street
Shepherdstown, WV 25443
Sponsored in part by
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