The Burkittsville House Tour is a chance to see the inside of several historic Burkittsville homes. Featuring The Henry Burkitt House along with others along Main Street, the tour runs from noon to four on Saturday June 4. Food and live musical entertainment are available from 4 PM to 6 PM at the Shafer Farm.
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of. Tickets and information may be retrieved at the Shafer farm located on the corner of Gapland Rd. and Catholic Church Rd. just east of Burkittsville.
Friends Goodwill can be traced back to the 1750s when English colonists and German immigrants began to populate the lower Middletown Valley. These settlers were enticed by the well-watered land with plentiful timber resources and a strategic location at the intersection of established trading routes. In the stone summer kitchen is inscribed the date “1807,” the year Henry Burkitt, a German settler from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, took up residence on Friends Goodwill. He began the construction of the farmhouse soon thereafter as it was documented on an 1808 map of Frederick County. Within a decade, Burkitt’s sale of lots from Friends Goodwill began to form into the community that after 1830 was officially known as Burkittsville. Henry Burkitt died in 1836 and the house became the residence of Dr. John D. Garrott. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Garrott owned several farms around Burkittsville which were worked by up to fifteen enslaved people. His son also became a physician, and Dr. John E. Garrott’s assistance in serving wounded soldiers after the Battle of South Mountain was recorded in the journal of U.S. Army Surgeon Alfred Castleman. The Garrott family continued to farm Friends Goodwill until the late-nineteenth century when it was sold to the Zecher Family, from whom it descended to the Guyton Family. The farmhouse was built in stages from stone, covered on the exterior with stucco. The interior features much of its original woodwork, including finely carved mantels and the stairway in the center hall. Over 270 years since it was first patented, Friends Goodwill continues to be an active farm, a vital piece of the agricultural legacy in Burkittsville.
South Mountain Heritage Society, founded in the early-1990s, is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of Burkittsville. The museum is located in the historic Resurrection Reformed Church. The original section of the building was constructed in 1829 as the “Union Church,” owned jointly by the Reformed and Lutheran congregations. After the Lutherans built St. Paul’s Church next door in 1859, the Reformed congregation rebuilt the old Union building into its present form in 1860. Further renovations took place in the 1890s when the Sunday School wing was built onto the back of the church and the bell tower was added. The building blends elements of Greek and Gothic Revival styles with Italianate and Queen Anne decoration. Resurrection Reformed Church served as “Hospital D” in the wake of the Battle of South Mountain, housing wounded soldiers in its sanctuary until January 31, 1863. After several decades of decline in the size of its congregation, the Reformed Church closed in 1979 and donated the building to the town. In 2000, the building was restored to its 1896 appearance by the South Mountain Heritage Society. The sanctuary maintains the pews from the 1860 renovations, furnishings from the 1896 alterations, and a historic pipe organ, built in Baltimore between 1851 and 1862, one of the oldest organs to survive intact in the state of Maryland.
St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
The first Lutheran services were held in Burkittsville around 1815 by ministers visiting from Frederick and Loudoun County, Virginia. In 1829, the Lutherans joined with the German Reformed congregation to build a Union Church which was completed two years later. Organized in 1831, the congregation worshiped alongside their Reformed neighbors until 1859 when the Lutherans sold their interest in the Union Church and began the construction of Saint Paul’s. The congregation contracted David Stoner to build the two-story brick church which was designed in Greek Revival style. On the night of the Battle of South Mountain, wounded soldiers were carried into the sanctuary as well as the chapel below. The army used the Lutheran Church for a hospital until the end of 1862, church records indicate that it was hastily readied to have service on Christmas Day. In the 1870s, the present bell tower and spire were added to the front of Saint Paul’s Church, and the interior reflects numerous alterations made throughout the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century. The sanctuary features grisaille decorated windows, a pressed-metal ceiling, and a 1915 Moller Pipe Organ containing 552 pipes. In 1964, the sanctuary was renovated to its present Colonial Revival style. The Parish Hall next door was built at the same time as the church in 1859 and served as Burkittsville’s schoolhouse until 1914.
The soldiers making their way up Main Street towards the mountain, found the commerce of the village to be centered at the town square; including this building, which at the time housed a general store, operated by the Horine Family. Store ledgers indicate that goods were purchased by soldiers of both sides during the time Burkittsville was occupied. Stores within the village were extremely important, especially to soldiers, who were often under-supplied. This property had been a commercial establishment since its construction in the early 19th century by Captain Joshua Harley, who owned the first store in Burkittsville. In 1824, this store became the home of the Harley’s, and later Burkittsville Post Office. The Horine Family purchased the store on the eve of the Civil War and continued to operate the business for over a century after the battle, although the name was changed to Gordon’s in the 1940s. Today, the building houses P.J. Gilligan’s Mercantile, making Two West Main Street, Burkittsville’s oldest commercial structure.
One of Burkittsville’s most well-preserved homes, the Cost-Horine House is a beautiful example of a Federal styled town house, built in a side-hall layout. The house was likely constructed in the 1830s during the ownership of George and Elizabeth Cost. Elizabeth immigrated to the United States from Germany as a child along with her two brothers. George’s family owned a tract of land north of Burkittsville along South Mountain on which the village of Locust Valley was later settled. George and Elizabeth’s daughter, also named Elizabeth, married James Carper, who also owned a farm outside of Burkittsville. From the Cost and Carper families, the house was sold to Tobias Horine, another farmer who moved to this residence after transferring the family’s farm to his son. Tobias was a prominent member of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church, being the largest donor to the construction of the church in 1859 and later selling the lot to the congregation next door for their parsonage. The Cost-Horine House features a beautifully restored interior, some of its restored and period woodwork installed by Claude Lutman who owned the house in the twentieth century. The front façade of the house is built of bricks laid in Flemish bond, a fashionable pattern formed by laying bricks alternatively with their long and short sides facing outwards and alternated in each course. This expensive manner of brick construction was reserved for the principle elevation and the rest of the house is laid in common or English bond.
Though today a peaceful residence, this was once the industrial heart of Burkittsville. Michael Weiner immigrated from Bavaria to the United States in 1834 and spent several years apprenticed at the Middletown Tannery before he moved with his family to Burkittsville in 1846. He bought the already-established tannery from Ezra Slifer and quickly set about expanding the business so that by the time of the Civil War, Weiner’s tannery also included a pottery kiln, wheelwright, cooper, carpenter’s shop, and a loom. These various cottage industries were essential to the farming community that surrounded Burkittsville. Weiner was also a public servant, serving in the position of local magistrate and hearing cases in the office building of the tannery which today forms the central portion of this residence. The Civil War disrupted Weiner’s business, but it continued until the early-twentieth century, eventually passing into the management of Michael’s son, Henry Weiner. After laying in ruin for several decades, the brick and stone office building of the tannery was restored in the late-1970s and incorporated into the present house.