Eileen Dwyer

Established in the mid-1700s, the village of Thurmont was originally named Mechanicstown. The settlement offered plentiful sources of timber, iron ores, and creeks to provide sources of power. The area flourished with mills, iron forges, tanneries, wheelwrights, blacksmiths, and other craftsmen. The name Mechanicstown seemed appropriate, given the means of trade of commerce.

The arrival of the railroad in 1871 established Mechanicstown as a commercial hub of the area. Rapidly, newer industries such as pottery-makers, coffin works, cigar-makers and lumber businesses were established.  Goods were shipped from the new freight depot.

With the dawn of these more progressive industries, the commercial and business leaders felt the village needed a more contemporary name.  And the railroad felt shipping and passenger confusion caused by similarly-named villages would be greatly alleviated. Subsequently, a vote was taken in the late1800s for the renaming of the village.  The two contenders were Blue Mountain City and Thurmont.

Although Blue Mountain City received the popular vote, it was vetoed by the Post Office and the village name was changed Thurmont.

Thurmont is a derivative of the German word, tür (door) and the Latin word, mons (mountains).  So, quite literally, Thurmont translates into “gateway to the mountains” far better than Blue Mountain City might.  What’s in a name?


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