People in Garrett County today can’t remember a time when the county didn’t have Deep Creek Lake, although there was one. As Deep Creek Lakes turns 100 years old (in 2025), most people consider it a magnificent tourist attraction in Garrett County and the largest freshwater lake in Maryland. Both are true, but Deep Creek Lake didn’t start out that way.

Catoctin Banner Contributer/Editor James Rada, Jr. has compiled the forgotten stories of places around (and under) the lake and people who have enjoyed Deep Creek Lake, dating back to well beyond the lake’s creation. Secrets of Deep Creek Lake: Little-Known Stories & Hidden History In and Around Maryland’s Largest Lake is the latest book in his Secrets series.

When you think of Deep Creek Lake, you probably imagine boating, swimming, and scenic vistas. But did you know…

•   The man who created the Big Mac sandwich helped create some of the lake’s tourist attractions?

•   Deep Creek Lake was created on top of two other lakes?

•   Garrett County’s version of Lizzie Borden lived on the south side of what is now the lake?

•   The CIA dosed unknowing citizens with LSD at Deep Creek Lake?

•   Garrett County’s lost silver mine may be beneath Deep Creek Lake?

These are just some of the stories included in the new book Secrets of Deep Creek Lake: Little-Known Stories & Hidden History In and Around Maryland’s Largest Lake by James Rada, Jr.

This book tells stories of murder, lost treasure, famous visitors, moonshine, interesting people, and unusual incidents. These are the types of stories that you won’t read about in history textbooks. They are stories that define the county’s character.

“These are stories that caught my attention in one way or another,” Rada said. “They aren’t the types of stories you find in history books about the area, but they are part of Garrett County’s past.”

Secrets of Deep Creek Lake contains more than 60 black and white photographs and illustrations that help bring the stories to life.

“I love writing about history,” Rada said. “I love finding interesting and unusual stories about people and places, and I haven’t come across an area that doesn’t have plenty of these stories.”

Secrets of Deep Creek Lake is the eighth book in Rada’s Secrets series. Other local titles include Secrets of Catoctin Mountain, Secrets of the C&O Canal, and Secrets of the Gettysburg Battlefield.

James Rada, Jr. is an author and award-winning writer who Midwest Book Review called “a writer of considerable and deftly expressed storytelling talent.” He has been writing about history for nearly 25 years and still finds it fascinating and new.

“History is not boring. It’s full of love, adventure, comedy, and mysteries that still aren’t solved to this day. It’s those types of stories I like to write, and I believe I’ve pulled together a great collection of them for this book,” Rada said.

Rada is the author of 36 books, most history and historical fiction. His articles have been published in magazines like The History Channel Magazine, Boy’s Life, and Frederick Magazine.

For more information about James Rada’s books, visit his website at

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