For Today’s History Lesson…

Life at the lake is beginning to calm down now that the Labor Day holiday has passed but it’s still a great time to get away for some little R & R. While there is still an abundance of activities going on in the area, now is the time to just visit and enjoy the area and scenery. Hints of leaves changing and the night time air begins to cool, perfect for gathering around an outdoor fire pit. For those, who have a love of history, Garrett County is an interesting study. As you enter our area, you will have the pleasure of driving through the small town of Accident. This is Town USA exemplified. While it is wonderfully decorated with some great shops, it is also the sight of the historical, Drane House. 

Tucked away on a quiet country lane, just off of Rt. 219 in Accident, is the site of the historical Drane House.  The Drane House is a key landmark in the early history of Western Maryland and a vital part of its heritage.  In fact, it is believed to be the oldest standing structure in Garrett County today.
The Drane house was built in 1798 by William Lamar and was given to his sister and her husband, Priscilla and James Drane in about 1800.  The Dranes and their eight children migrated to Western Maryland from the tobacco farming area of Prince George’s County.  James envisioned himself a country gentlemen, raising a large acreage of tobacco with the aid of slave labor.  Frontier life required long hours of arduous work to provide the basic necessities of life.  Their family was one of several who attempted tobacco culture in Garrett County’s early days.  These early settlers from Southern Maryland and the Piedmont Plateau never achieved the prosperity from tobacco farming that they anticipated.  Expecting rapid development, they did not realize the difficulties of farming mountainous terrain. Their efforts were ultimately thwarted by the combination of severe winters, poorly constructed dirt roads and the great distance to market.  While many were driven back to their former homes by the loneliness and isolation of mountain life, the Dranes changed their methods to general faming and occupied the home until their deaths. 

Over the years, the Drane House had a variety of owners and occupants.  In 1952, it became vacant and fell into a state of overall disrepair.  It was officially into the National Register of Historical Places in 1985, and shortly thereafter a group of concerned citizens formed the Accident Cultural and Historical Society in order to explore options for the deteriorating home.  The town purchased the property and was able to begin restoration through a series of grants.  Architectural and archeological experts were called upon to reconstruct and preserve the landmark home.  The Drane House is additionally significant because of its architecture, representing a highly unusual combination of the log and frame construction techniques.  They carefully dismantled the building one log a time, then reassembled it with old and new logs.  Taking years to complete, the massive restoration project was finished in 1994. 

Today, the site is open daily to be viewed from the exterior and open for tours of the interior by appointment.  The inside is furnished with period furniture, some of which actually belonged to the Drane family.  Significant for its architecture and its association with the early settlement of Garrett County, the Drane House is a window into pioneer life on the mountaintop.  For more information or to schedule a tour please call the Accident Town Hall (301) 746-6346. 

It is definitely worth the visit. Afterwards, stop and visit some of our local friends. Firefly Farms has a wonderful variety of cheeses and wines. Mountain Flour Baking Co. can cure any sweet tooth and Annie’s Country Kitchen offers amazing “comfort food”. 

Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations are still taking last minute reservations for this weekend for the Annual Art & Wine festival held here in McHenry. Call today for more details and let us help you find your perfect vacation home.  In the meantime, we can’t wait to see you at the lake!

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *