Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hagerstown Downtown

We've been in and around Hagerstown for so long now that I feel completely competent in giving accurate directions to out-of-towners. Today, I mistakenly thought that there was a matinee of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra (it's tomorrow) so we headed into town around 1.oo pm to see if we could cop some tickets. There was also a used book store that I had spotted the other night that I wanted to check out. Since the concert idea was a bust, we decided to stroll along Potomac Avenue (the main drag) and take in the architectural wonders. Hagerstown was spared burning by Confederate troops during the Civil War
because the local bankers paid their ransom request of $20K, so there are many old buildings still standing. Wendy, of course, went shutter happy.

This building is not all that remarkable but it does house this great Bavarian Restaurant. There are photos of celebrities who have eaten there in the entrance hall including the Governor of Maryland, Robert Duvall, Jerry Mathers (the Beaver), and a funny one of Ted Turner that is more of a paparazzi shot. Ted is rushing by the tables and in the background is a stoned out hippie dude just staring into space. Kinda looks like Tommy Chong from the good old days. Ha!

This old bookstore is spacious inside which, in my experience, is rather unusual. The couple (originally from West Virginia, Go Mountaineers!) that own it only bought it a few weeks ago, stock included. The stock itself was unremarkable except for a small but somewhat interesting poetry section featuring a good amount of 19th century items. When I was leafing through one, I found a check from 1901 drawn on a San Francisco bank. I gave it the owner.

The Snow White Grill (no longer serving anything but salvation) is now the annex of some downtown mega-church. Still painted on the white tiles: "Ladies Welcome, Open All Night". That made me think of Barry White.

There was a bunch of these crafted butterflies scattered around the downtown area. I don't what the backstory is but some of them were pretty cool.

Of course, there are a lot of churches downtown. My favorite is still the Holy Ghost Explosion Ministries (not pictured), not for the architecture (it's in a storefront) but just for the name.

This is the Maryland National Guard building. Not sure if it's still legal to photograph this so please check the credits below.

Towards the northern end of town, there's a mansion district.

This is the old downtown fire house. A very cool building indeed. For some reason that I cannot fathom, it has the name "Junior #3" painted on it.

This is Alan. As we were walking around and Wendy was shooting, he approached us and asked if we were photographing historic buildings. When we said yes, he said "I have to show you The King!". It was a building that he had bought and he was kind enough to give us a thorough tour, both inside and out. The building (right below) formerly housed a tavern on the first floor and a boarding house on the top two floors. He is planning to turn the first floor into a lounge for live music and the top two floors into apartments or condos.

The interior was incredible in terms of atmosphere and obviously in need of renovation.

We spent almost two hours with Alan and then continued to stroll until it was time for dinner.

-Wendy (photos) & Gerry (text)


  1. But what about the bunny (six year old daughter loves rabbits)? Seems we've passes Hagerstown before - your pix make a stop-over more likely next time.

  2. @Robert Zanfad: We'll make on 'Otis on the Road' post soon.

  3. Such a beautiful blue sky, and interesting architecture, too. I will have to live vicariously through you for a while, if you don't mind :-)

  4. @Tree: Of course we don't mind. That's the raison d'etre for the blog. We just hope to keep it interesting.

  5. Nice to see you here Tree... seems we do a lot of scrambling around the woods lately, so I was happy to go into the "city" for a change of scenery.