The following is recommended as an ideal family day trip. See Joan Bittner Fry story on page 20.
The remains of the iron works Thomas Johnson founded can be seen at the base of the Catoctin Mountain in Cunningham Falls State Park in Thurmont in Frederick County, Maryland. The furnace can be reached from the Catoctin Furnace Trail, which goes from the main entrance of the park to the furnace and manor area, off US 15 North, off Route 806. The furnace has been reconstructed to preserve its history and to make this area safer for people to visit.
In addition to the furnace, there are other sites to see within walking distance. The Catoctin Furnace Trail leads alongside the manor, where one of the furnace owners (James Johnson) lived. Many years ago, the manor burned down, so today only the stone walls remain.
Along the trail, you will notice dark black rocks called slag, a byproduct of pig iron production. Next to the trail, you can see remnants of the raceway and dam that were used to power the first furnace. The trail leads over the Bowstring Arch Bridge, which crosses US 15, and ultimately to the park. The visitor center also has history exhibits on the area, including information about the Catoctin Furnace. The Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo is also nearby.
Another interesting place to visit is Rose Hill Manor Park & Children’s Museum. It is a two-and-a-half-story house, located at 1611 North Market Street in Frederick. It was the retirement home of Thomas Johnson, the first elected governor of the State of Maryland and Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. After the death of his wife, Thomas Johnson spent the last 25 years of his life living as a guest of his daughter, Ann Jennings Johnson Graham, and son-in law, Major John Colin Graham, at their home on the land gifted to them by Thomas Johnson on the eve of their wedding.