Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 179 - Clarksburg, Maryland

(Click any photo to enlarge)

The former Sew and Save
The Clarksburg I knew in the 1960's is almost gone, having been swallowed up by development along the I-270 corridor.  In 1752, it was established via a 40 acre patent to Ashford Dowden, who built an inn along the Great Road, currently Rt. 355, that ran from Georgetown (near Washington, DC) to Frederick.  By 1875, Clarksburg was a major town, but the construction of the railroad harmed its economy.

In the mid and late 1960's, my mother would load me and my sister into the station wagon, and we would head up Rt. 355 past Germantown to the fabric store in Clarksburg, known as the Sew and Save.  It was located in a house, with fabrics on both floors.  We would spend hours in there, looking at patterns and selecting fabric, because back then, we made all of our own clothes.  It was like the kiss of death for my younger brother, if he had to come along, because there was absolutely nothing he was interested in at the store, unless he brought along his comic books and read them out on the porch.

I parked along Rt. 355 at an animal clinic, which was in the center of what a sign claimed to be the historic district.  However, there were no sidewalks and only a few of the original buildings were around.  The old Sew and Save has been restored, and according to a Gazette article dated 2002, it was to be a visitor center, although today there is a "for sale" sign out front, so the center must not be in operation.

Dowden's Ordinary
I walked along busy Rt. 355 on a muddy strip next to the road, to get to an interesting structure at the corner of Stringtown Road and Frederick Road (the local name for Rt. 355).  Its signage said "Dowden's Ordinary."  It was a representation of the inn mentioned in the first paragraph, and signs told of its historical importance.  The area around the structure has been made into a park.

Across from the park one can see acres of modern housing developments.  There are some commercial businesses to support the new development, but as far as the eye can see, it is all new rooftops and bricks and siding.

Novel Places
Bookstore, second floor
I walked back to the area near where I parked and continued north until I stopped in front of an interesting old white building that had signs out front indicating it was a bookstore, Novel Places.  Curious, I stepped onto the front porch and read the note on the door which said that the store was located on the second floor.  I tried the handle on the old wooden door, and it opened, leading me into the interior of what looked like an old general store.  There were wooden shelves on all the walls, and a stamped tin ceiling.  I heard footsteps from above, and a man emerged from a side room where there was a stairway.  I followed him to the second floor, where there were several rooms with books, both new and used, and an entire room devoted to kids, with books and toys by Melissa and Doug.

Clarksburg School
I walked around, examining books, and selected a mug with a picture of the old Clarksburg School.  I asked about the school, and the man  (I never did introduce myself, nor did he, but I am going to make a giant leap of assumption here that his name is Pat, based on the email address on his web site) told me that it was just down the road that was across the street, now used as a daycare center adjacent to the current school.  So, I told him a little of what I was doing, and then headed out to find the school.

After leaving the school, I crossed back over Rt. 355 and walked to the church and graveyard.  As I was returning to my car, Pat came out of the store to find me.  He had not returned the $3 change from my purchase, which I had not even noticed.  Small town courtesies still can be found in Clarksburg, at least at Novel Places.


Visit my photography show, "My Maryland," at the public library in Urbana, Maryland, on the lower level of the building.  It is there until the end of April.

Hurricane Sandy Relief: Donate to the Red Cross, and I will mail you a 5 x 7 print from any of the photos I have posted on my blog OR any photo on my website.

Forward to me via email a receipt for donating to the Red Cross. Tell me whether the photo is from the blog or the website, and Include its title along with a mailing address. The name on the receipt to the Red Cross must match the name of the mailing recipient. Send the receipt and the photo request to

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Cam's rules for the Daily Photo Walk:
  1. walk every day
  2. the walk must be in addition to any other planned activity for the day
  3. post a photo every day
  4. use my Nikon P7100 (it is a very convenient size and weight)
  5. no weather excuses
  6. walk only where it is safe to do so

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