For history buffs and antique hunters, the Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel, located in Taneytown, Maryland is a mecca worthy of an extra day or two. The Mollett’s, who currently own the hotel not only took great care in restoring this National Historic Landmark, but they also collected and display American portraits of the 19th century along with many incredible Victorian furnishings. One centerpiece is the marble fireplace carved by William Rinehart from nearby Union Bridge. Among Rinehart’s other notable sculptures are “Backwoodsman and Indian” flanking the clock in the U.S. House of Representatives, and a fountain figure for the U.S. Post Office in Washington, D.C. After you soak in the splendor of the Antrim’s treasures, stroll down Baltimore Street where you can explore the local antique scene at Pristine Antiques, or Ava’s Country Store.
The period I found most interesting in the history of the Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel was 1856 to 1873. Colonel Andrew Ege sold Antrim in 1856 and migrated to Kansas. The 1860 edition of The American Farmer, p. 405, listed “An Elegant Estate for Sale” by James L. Piper, Administrator, The Antrim. It was reported that Mr. Piper lived at The Antrim, and during the late 1850s organized a militia under Captain William Guthrie. The company was soon disbanded, reportedly because most of the men enlisted in the Union Army.
The Antrim was a stopping point for General George Meade in the days leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg, as he brought the Army of the Potomac north in search of General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army. President Lincoln had just placed Meade in charge of the Union forces, replacing General Joseph Hooker. General Meade headquartered at The Antrim where he planned his maneuvers against Lee’s army, which was reportedly heading toward the Susquehanna and an eventual assault on Philadelphia. In those fateful early days of July, 1863, Meade and Lee met on the hallowed fields near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, just 14 miles to the north of Taneytown.
For Civil War buffs, I recommend traveling to Gettysburg and key towns traversed by the Union and Confederate Armies leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg. In June, Robert E. Lee’s Army headed northward on a western track, traversing the Potomac at Shepardstown, quartering in Hagerstown, Maryland and eventually in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Jeb Stuart ran a “blocking and scouting” mission passing through Fairfax, VA and then advancing to Rockville, Maryland. Stuart continued north through Sykesville to Westminster, MD. Hearing that Confederate Armies had taken up positions in York and Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Stuart decided to go to Hanover, Pennsylbvania from which he could pivot toward either town, depending upon his latest intelligence. It was now the last day of June, the same time that General Meade took up headquarters at The Antrim. Stuart chose to head toward Carlisle, was rebuffed by the Pennsylvania Militia, and soon learned that Lee was fully engaged in battle at Gettysburg.
The Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel is in a great location at the center of the troop movements leading up to the battle of Gettysburg. Other key towns in the area where troops bivouacked or engaged in skirmishes leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg were Frederick (MD), Manchester (MD), Buckeystown (MD), Woodsboro (MD), Keyman (MD), Fayetteville (PA), Cashtown (PA), Heidlersburg (PA), and East Berlin (PA). Anyone interested in learning more about American history and visiting the historically significant towns where the Civil War was fought must put this historic hotel at the top of their travel list.