Hub City, Maryland's Gateway to the West, H-Town, (formerly) Home of the Flying Boxcar
A Great Place to Live, Work, and Visit
|Founded by||Jonathan Hager|
|Named for||Jonathan Hager|
|• Mayor||Tekesha Martinez|
|• City council|
|• State Senator||Paul D. Corderman (R)|
|• State Delegate||Brooke Grossman (D)|
|• U.S. Congress||David Trone (D)|
|• City||12.56 sq mi (32.54 km2)|
|• Land||12.55 sq mi (32.51 km2)|
|• Water||0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)|
|• Urban||120.77 sq mi (312.8 km2)|
|• Metro||1,019 sq mi (2,637 km2)|
|Elevation||538 ft (164 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||3,467.18/sq mi (1,338.71/km2)|
|• Urban||197,557 (US: 194th)|
|• Urban density||1,635.8/sq mi (631.6/km2)|
|• Metro||293,844 (US: 167th)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Area code(s)||301, 240|
|GNIS feature ID||0598385|
Hagerstown (//; HAY-gərz-town) is a city in and the county seat of Washington County, Maryland, United States. The population was 43,527 at the 2020 census. Hagerstown ranks as Maryland's sixth-largest incorporated city and is the largest city in the Maryland Panhandle.
Hagerstown anchors the Hagerstown metropolitan area extending into West Virginia. It lies just northwest of the Washington–Baltimore combined statistical area in the heart of the Great Appalachian Valley. The population of the metropolitan area in 2020 was 293,844. Greater Hagerstown was the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the state of Maryland and among the fastest growing in the United States, as of 2009.
Hagerstown has a distinct topography, formed by stone ridges running from northeast to southwest through the center of town. Geography accordingly bounds its neighborhoods. These ridges consist of upper Stonehenge Limestone. Many of the older buildings were built from this stone, which is easily quarried and dressed onsite. It whitens in weathering and the edgewise conglomerate and wavy laminae become distinctly visible, giving an appearance unique to the Cumberland Valley as seen in the architecture of St. John's Episcopal Church.
Despite its semi-rural Western Maryland setting, Hagerstown is a center of transit and commerce. Interstates 81 and 70, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and the Winchester and Western railroads, as well as Hagerstown Regional Airport form an extensive transportation network for the city. Hagerstown is also the chief commercial and industrial hub for a greater Tri-State Area that includes much of Western Maryland as well as significant portions of South Central Pennsylvania and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Hagerstown has often been referred to as, and is nicknamed, the Hub City.
In 1739, Jonathan Hager, a German immigrant from Pennsylvania and a volunteer Captain of Scouts, purchased 200 acres (81 ha) of land in the Great Appalachian Valley between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains in Maryland and called it Hager's Fancy. In 1762, Hager officially founded the town of Elizabethtown which he named after his wife, Elizabeth Kershner. Fourteen years later, Jonathan Hager became known as the "Father of Washington County" after his efforts helped Hagerstown become the county seat of newly created Washington County, which Hager also helped create from neighboring Frederick County. The City Council changed the community's name to Hager's-Town in 1813 because the name had gained popular usage, and in the following year, the Maryland State Legislature officially endorsed the changing of the town's name.
In 1794, government forces arrested 150 citizens during a draft riot which was staged by protesters in response to the Whiskey Rebellion.
Hagerstown's strategic location at the border between the North and the South made the city a primary staging area and supply center for four major campaigns during the Civil War. In 1861, General Robert Patterson's troops used Hagerstown as a base to attack Virginia troops in the Shenandoah Valley. In the Maryland Campaign of 1862, General James Longstreet's command occupied the town while en route to the Battle of South Mountain and Antietam. In 1863, the city was the site of several military incursions and engagements as Gen. Robert E. Lee's army invaded and retreated in the Gettysburg Campaign. In 1864, Hagerstown was invaded by the Confederate army under Lt. Gen. Jubal Early. On Wednesday, July 6, Early sent 1,500 cavalry, commanded by Brig. Gen. John McCausland, into Hagerstown. The Confederates levied a ransom of $20,000 and a large amount of clothing, in retribution for U.S. destruction of farms, feed and cattle in the Shenandoah Valley. This is in contrast to neighboring Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, which McCausland razed on July 30 when the borough failed to supply the requested ransom of $500,000 in U.S. currency, or $100,000 in gold.
Following the war, in 1872 Maryland and Virginia cooperated to re-inter Confederate dead from their impromptu graves to cemeteries in Hagerstown, Frederick and Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Roughly 60% however, remained unidentified. In 1877, 15 years after the Battle of Antietam, also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, approximately 2,800 Confederate dead from that battle and also from the battles on South Mountain were re-interred in Washington Confederate Cemetery, within Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown.
Hagerstown's nickname of the "Hub City" originated from the large number of railroads (and roads) that served the city. Hagerstown was the center of the Western Maryland Railway and an important city on the Pennsylvania, Norfolk and Western, Baltimore and Ohio, and Hagerstown and Frederick Railroads. Currently, the city is a vital location on CSX, Norfolk Southern, and the Winchester and Western Railroads.
Hagerstown was formerly served by the Hagerstown & Frederick Railway, an interurban trolley system, from 1896 to 1947.
One of the most recognizable symbols of Hagerstown is the weathervane known as "Little Heiskell". Named after the German tinsmith Benjamin Heiskell who crafted it in 1769 in the form of a Hessian soldier, it stood atop the Market House first and City Hall second for a combined 166 years. It was moved from the Market House to City Hall in 1824.
During the Civil War era, the weathervane gained its characteristic bullet hole from a Confederate sharpshooter, who won a bet after shooting it from a full city block away. In 1935, the original was retired to the Museum of the Washington County Historical Society, later to be moved to its present display in the Jonathan Hager House. An exact replica has replaced it atop City Hall.
The weathervane has been depicted in the city's annual Mummers Day Parade by Charles Harry Rittenhouse, Sr. sporting the necessary accoutrements of a German mercenary soldier. Little Heiskell was at one time the mascot of North Hagerstown High School.
Hagerstown's first aircraft production came in World War I with the Maryland Pressed Steel Company building the Bellanca CD biplane in hopes of securing government contracts. From 1931 to 1984, Fairchild Aircraft was based in Hagerstown and was by far the area's most prominent employer. The importance of the company to the city and the country as a whole earned Hagerstown its former nickname "Home of the Flying Boxcar," after the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar.
Fairchild moved to Hagerstown from Farmingdale, New York, in 1931 after Sherman Fairchild purchased a majority stock interest in Kreider-Reisner Aircraft Company of Hagerstown in 1929. Among Fairchild's products during World War II were PT-19/PT-23/PT-26 (Cornell) and AT-21 trainers, C-82 "Packet" cargo planes and missiles. At its height in World War II, Fairchild employed directly and indirectly up to 80% of Hagerstown's workforce or roughly 10,000 people.
In the postwar era, Fairchild continued to produce aircraft in Hagerstown such as C-123 Provider, Fairchild F-27 and Fairchild Hiller FH-227, FH-1100, C-26 Metroliner, UC-26 Metroliner, Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, and the Fairchild T-46 jet trainer.
All production ceased in Hagerstown in 1984 and the company moved elsewhere. Presently, the company is based in San Antonio, Texas, and after a series of mergers and acquisitions, is known as M7 Aerospace.
The Hagerstown Aviation Museum shows many of these original aircraft. Among the ones on display are: 1939 F24/UC-61C, 1945 C-82A, 1943 PT-19A, and the 1953 C-119. The museum is located near Hagerstown Regional Airport in the airport's former terminal. Hagerstown is also the birthplace of Salisbury, Maryland-based Piedmont Airlines which started out as Henson Aviation. It was founded by Richard A. Henson in 1931. Today, Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field is named as such in honor of the airlines' founder. Today, only small to medium-sized aviation companies remain in the area, e.g., Sierra Nevada Corporation, a defense electronics engineering and manufacturing contractor.
Hagerstown is located at (39.642771, −77.719954). It is situated south of the Mason–Dixon line and north of the Potomac River and between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains in a part of the Great Appalachian Valley known regionally as Cumberland Valley and locally as Hagerstown Valley. The community also lies within proximity of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia. Hagerstown, by driving distance, is approximately 70 miles (110 km) northwest of Washington, D.C., 72 miles (116 km) west-northwest of Baltimore and 74 miles (119 km) southwest of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.80 square miles (30.56 km2), of which 11.79 square miles (30.54 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water. Major waterways within Hagerstown include Hamilton Run and Antietam Creek that are tributaries of the Potomac River. Natural landscape around Hagerstown consists of low, rolling hills with elevations of 500 feet (150 m) to 800 feet (240 m) above sea level and rich, fertile land that is well-suited and utilized for dairy farming, cornfields, and fruit orchards typical of Mid-Atlantic agriculture.
Hagerstown is situated in the transition between the humid subtropical climate zone (Köppen Cfa) and the humid continental climate zone (Köppen Dfa), with hot, humid summers and cool to moderately cold winters. Normal monthly mean temperatures range from 32.9 °F (0.5 °C) in January to 77.6 °F (25.3 °C) in July, while record temperatures range from −27 °F (−33 °C) on January 13, 1912, up to 107 °F (42 °C) on July 23, 1999. Precipitation is moderate, averaging 39.29 in (998 mm) annually, and is somewhat evenly distributed throughout the year, with a slight winter minimum and a maximum in May and June.
|Climate data for Hagerstown, Maryland (Washington County Airport), 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1899–present|
|Record high °F (°C)||78
|Average high °F (°C)||40.5
|Daily mean °F (°C)||32.9
|Average low °F (°C)||25.3
|Record low °F (°C)||−27
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.46
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||5.9
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||10.0||8.9||10.3||11.7||14.0||11.8||11.4||10.0||9.5||9.2||8.4||9.2||124.4|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.01 in)||5.6||5.1||4.6||trace||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||3.9||12.9||32.1|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 39,662 people, 16,449 households, and 9,436 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,364.0 inhabitants per square mile (1,298.8/km2). There were 18,682 housing units at an average density of 1,584.6 per square mile (611.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.8% White, 15.5% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.1% from other races, and 5.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.6% of the population.
There were 16,449 households, of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.6% were married couples living together, 18.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.6% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.04.
The median age in the city was 34.5 years. 25.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.6% were from 25 to 44; 24% were from 45 to 64; and 12.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.3% male and 52.7% female. Between 2011 and 2015, 26.8% of the population lived in poverty.
As of the U.S. census of 2000, there were 36,687 people, 15,849 households, and 9,081 families residing in the city. Updated July 1, 2008, census estimates reflect Hagerstown having 39,728 people, an increase of 8.3% from the year 2000.
According to Census 2000 figures, the population density was 3,441.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,328.8/km2). There were 17,089 housing units at an average density of 1,603.1 per square mile (619.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.95% White, 10.15% Black, 1.77% Hispanic or Latino, 0.25% Native American, 0.96% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.83% from other races, and 1.83% from two or more races. There were 17,154 males and 19,533 females residing in the city.
There were 15,849 households, out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.7% were non-families. 35.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.6% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,796, and the median income for a family was $38,149. Males had a median income of $31,200 versus $22,549 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,153. About 15.1% of families and 18.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.0% of those under age 18 and 13.7% of those age 65 or over.
Main article: Hagerstown metropolitan area
Hagerstown–Martinsburg, MD–WV MSA consists of three counties:
The primary cities are Hagerstown and Martinsburg, West Virginia. The metropolitan area's population in 2000 was 222,771. The 2008 estimate is 263,753, making Greater Hagerstown the 169th largest metropolitan area in the United States. The growth rate from 2000 to 2008 is +18.4%, the 48th highest among metropolitan areas in the entire country and the highest in Maryland (and in West Virginia). The growth is mostly due to the influx of people from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, MD.
Once primarily an industrial community, Hagerstown's economy depended heavily on railroad transportation and manufacturing, notably of aircraft, trucks, automobiles, textiles, and furniture. Today, the city has a diversified, stable business environment with modern service companies in various fields as well as continued strength in manufacturing and transportation in railroads and highways. Surrounding Hagerstown, there has been and continues to be a strong agricultural presence while tourism, especially with respect to the retail sector, also provides support to the local economy.
Hagerstown has 2 major shopping malls:
Hagerstown's location at the center of the Western Maryland region makes it an ideal starting point for touring, especially with respect to the Civil War. Antietam National Battlefield, the site of the bloodiest single day in American history, is located in nearby Sharpsburg. South Mountain State Battlefield is also located in Washington County in Boonsboro. Gettysburg, Monocacy, and Harpers Ferry battlefields are all located within a 30-minute drive of Hagerstown.
Fort Frederick State Park, which features a restored fort used in the French and Indian War, is west of the city in nearby Big Pool, Maryland.
Washington Monument State Park, near Boonsboro, pays tribute to the country's first president, George Washington. It is the oldest structure to honor the 'father of our country.'
Hagerstown is also home to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Headquarters.
The city and surrounding vicinity also has a number of sites and districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They include the Antietam Furnace Complex Archeological Site, Antietam Hall, Brightwood, Colonial Theatre, Ditto Knolls, Dorsey-Palmer House, Elliot-Bester House, Jacob M. Funk Farm, Garden Hill, Good-Hartle Farm, Hager House, Hagerstown Armory, Hagerstown Charity School, Hagerstown City Park Historic District, Hagerstown Commercial Core Historic District, Hagerstown Historic District, Houses At 16-22 East Lee Street, Lantz-Zeigler House, Lehman's Mill Historic District, Long Meadows, Maryland Theatre, Henry McCauley Farm, Oak Hill Historic District, Old Forge Farm, Old Washington County Library, Paradise Manor, Potomac-Broadway Historic District, Price-Miller House, Rockland Farm, Rockledge, Rohrer House, South Prospect Street Historic District, Trovinger Mill, Valentia, Washington County Courthouse, Western Maryland Railway Station, Western Maryland Railway Steam Locomotive No. 202, and Wilson's Bridge.
Within the city, there are numerous parks including Hagerstown City Park, which is home to the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Mansion House Art Gallery, Western Maryland 202 Locomotive Display and Museum, and the Hager House and Museum (once home of Jonathan Hager, founder of Hagerstown). Outside of the Park, Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum showcases exhibits of Hagerstown's early railroad history. Discovery Station, located downtown, is a hands-on science and technology museum featuring exhibits in numerous galleries and display areas, including the Hagerstown Aviation Museum. Fairgrounds Park is the city's largest active recreation park. It features a baseball field, a BMX track, exercise equipment, an in-line hockey rink, a skatepark, soccer fields, softball fields, and walking trails.
Hagerstown is home to the Maryland Theatre, a symphony house that plays host to the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and the annual Miss Maryland USA Beauty Pageants. The city also has the Washington County Playhouse, which does dinner theater performances. The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts is a magnet school for gifted art students, located in downtown Hagerstown's arts and entertainment district on South Potomac Street.
Downtown Hagerstown recently has enjoyed a resurgence and now hosts several popular annual events. The Quad State Beer Fest is a craft beer and music festival that features regional breweries, rock music and entertainment held at various times throughout the year. The Interstate BBQ Festival is a Kansas City Barque Society sanctioned competition which hosts dozens of professional and backyard teams and draws thousands of spectators as a huge regional event. The city draws thousands every year around May–June to the Western Maryland Blues Fest, which showcases blues artists from around the country. The Augustoberfest celebrates Hagerstown's German heritage. The Alsatia Mummers Parade is an annual parade during the Halloween season. It is run by Alsatia Club Inc. and was first run in 1921.
Fairgrounds Park hosts various events throughout the year like the annual Hagerstown Hispanic Festival held in mid-September and the cities annual July 4 firework show.
From 1915 to 1929, Hagerstown's Class D minor league team played in the Blue Ridge League at Willow Lane Park, now the site of Bester Elementary School, under several names: Blues (1915), Terriers (1916–18, 1922–23), Champs (1920–21), and Hubs (1924–1930). In 1930, Municipal Stadium was constructed and the Hubs played their final season there. In 1931, prior to the next season beginning, the Blue Ridge League folded due to financial losses and the Hagerstown Hubs moved to Parkersburg, West Virginia.
From 1935 to 1955, various barnstorming Negro League teams played in Hagerstown on at least seven occasions; however, there is no complete history of Black baseball in Hagerstown as local news rarely covered it.
In 1941, professional baseball returned to Hagerstown when the Detroit Tigers moved their minor league affiliate there. The Hagerstown Owls competed in the Class B Interstate League. In 1950, the Owls were renamed the Hagerstown Braves as they became a minor league affiliate of the Boston Braves. In 1953, the Braves joined the Class B Piedmont League. In 1954, the Braves were renamed the Hagerstown Packets and became a minor league affiliate of the Washington Senators. The Piedmont League ceased operations in 1955 and Hagerstown was left without a team until 1981.
From 1981 to 2020, the Hagerstown Suns played in Municipal Stadium and were initially the Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The Suns became the Double-A affiliate of the Orioles in 1989. They were affiliated with the Orioles until 1992 when the Suns moved to Bowie, Maryland and became the Bowie Baysox. Shortly after the Suns departure in 1992, the Myrtle Beach Hurricanes relocated to Hagerstown, became the Hagerstown Suns, and became the Class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. They would remain Class A for the remainder of their existence. In 2001, they affiliated with the San Francisco Giants. They affiliated with the New York Mets in 2005, and then with the Washington Nationals in 2007. The Suns folded in 2021 when Minor League Baseball was restructured and reduced to 120 teams. Municipal Stadium was demolished in 2022 to make way for an indoor turf complex.
On September 1, 2021, the Atlantic League announced approval for a new baseball team in Hagerstown. The team will play in the new Hagerstown Multi-Use Sports and Event Facility. The team was initially set to begin play in 2023, but delays in stadium construction pushed the inaugural season to 2024. Groundbreaking was held in October 2022 for the new stadium. On July 20, 2023, the team name was announced as the Hagerstown Flying Boxcars after fan submissions and voting. The other options for voting were Haymakers, Battling Swans, Diezel Dogs, and Tin Lizards.
To the west of the city lies Hagerstown Speedway, a nationally known dirt-track racing venue. Another professional racing track, Mason-Dixon Dragway, is located just southeast of Hagerstown.
The current city executive or Mayor of Hagerstown is Tekesha Martinez. She has served as the city's first black mayor since February 2023. Martinez was unanimously selected by the city council to become mayor after Emily Keller resigned to take a position in Governor Wes Moore's cabinet. The mayor is a nonpartisan position.
The nonpartisan representative body of Hagerstown is known as the City Council. Its current members are Kristin Aleshire, Tiara Burnett, Robert Bruchey II, Shelley McIntire, and Matthew Schindler.
Florence Murdock served as the city's first female councilperson after being appointed in 1985. There have been two times since then where a majority of the council's five seats have been held by women; when there were three councilwomen during a period from 2005 to 2009, and from 2020 to 2023, where three councilwomen were inaugurated in November 2020. The council became three men and two women in March 2023 when Matthew Schindler was selected to fill the vacant council seat after Tekesha Martinez was selected to become mayor to fill the seat left by Emily Keller.
In 2005, Alesia Parson was elected as the first person of color to serve on city council. Since then, Tiara Burnett and Tekesha Martinez have been elected in 2020 as the second and third black city councilmembers. Councilwomen Burnett and Martinez were the first black councilmembers to serve concurrently.
Paul D. Corderman (R) serves the Hagerstown area in the Maryland Senate while Brooke Grossman (D) represents Hagerstown in the Maryland House of Delegates. David Trone (D) serves Maryland's 6th congressional district which includes Hagerstown.
Initially Hagerstown had one high school known as Hagerstown High School located on Potomac Avenue between the years of 1927 and 1958. It later became North Potomac Middle School after North Hagerstown High School was built on Pennsylvania Avenue and opened in 1958. South Hagerstown High School had already been built and was opened in 1956.
Public high schools (Administered by Washington County Public Schools)
In addition, many Hagerstown students attend the following:
Private high schools
Hagerstown shares a radio market, the 166th largest in the United States, with Chambersburg and Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. The following box contains all of the radio stations in the area:
Hagerstown is the base for three television stations and shares a Designated Market Area, the sixth largest in the United States, with Washington, D.C.
Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 10/12/10 through 10/15/10