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Frostburg & Our Community

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Frostburg State University - An Overview

Frostburg State University, in the city of Frostburg (population 8.700) is located in the mountains of western Maryland at an elevation of 2,200 feet. Centrally located on the I-68 corridor, the FSU campus is just two hours southeast of Pittsburgh and two hours west of the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metro areas. The University is near Rocky Gap and New Germany State Parks and Deep Creek Lake, which offer boating, camping, swimming, hiking, skiing, and other sports.

History of the University

Founded in 1898, the institution was first opened as the State Normal School at Frostburg on September 15, 1902. Frostburg was chosen as the location because the town, by raising funds through a popular subscription, offered a suitable site to the State. The State Normal School was established solely for the purpose of training elementary school teachers. Now the University offers a variety of undergraduate programs in the liberal arts, sciences, business, and teacher (including secondary, elementary, and kindergarten-primary education), and graduate programs in education, management, counseling psychology, biology, fisheries management & wildlife management.

In the years since its founding, the University has grown from its original enrollment of 57 students to the current enrollment of 5,500+ students. The name was changed from State Normal School at Frostburg to State Teachers College at Frostburg in 1935. This in turn was changed to Frostburg State College in 1963, and to Frostburg State University in 1987. The length of the University's degree program has similarly changed over the years: from the original two years of study to three years in 1931 and four years in 1934, as the educational requirements for elementary school teachers were expanded. Facilities necessarily expanded also, from one building - Old Main - to more than thirty.

Allegany County

Allegany County in western Maryland is particularly rich in natural beauty. With a population of 72,528 (2015), it is also home for numerous historic landmarks as well as an active arts council and many thriving shops and restaurants.

The land of mountains and valleys ... streams and rivers ... parks and forests ... clear air and pure water! Where hunting and fishing are real pleasures and the excitement of summer picnicking, boating and swimming anxiously await winter snows for sleds and skates.

Allegany County is nature trails ... camping ... fishing rodeos ... hiking and biking through our forests, our state and city parks, and down the towpath of our 47 miles of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, or across the Great Allegheny Passage rail-to-trail. Many summer guests are bicycling from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh, or vice versa, on our bicycle paths.

Clean lakes for swimming and fishing, the scenic C&O Canal for biking and hiking, the Washington State Historical District for architectural browsing, and the beautiful Allegheny Mountains are among the delightful diversions that make Allegany County special. In addition, the city of Cumberland boasts several areas of historic significance related to its position as a major transportation center at the turn of the century, including the Washington Street Historic District, a revitalized downtown pedestrian mall which capitalizes on a wide array of late 18th-early 19th century architecture, and the Western Maryland Railway Station, which serves as the terminus point for the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

Allegany County is famous for sports tournaments ... arts and crafts ... heritage days festivals ... seafood festivals ... and friendly people!


Frostburg owes its beginnings to the National Road, authorized by Congress in 1806. Josiah Frost bought a tract of land lying across the route which was decided upon, and laid out a series of 'town lots." His son, Meshach, built a log house on lot 1 and brought his bride to it in June 1812. When stagecoach service was inaugurated in 1818, the house became an inn, known as Highland Hall, and a cluster of taverns, smithies, and houses grew up around it. When mail service began in 1820, the Post Office Department identified the community as Frostburg.

Railroads superseded the Road in the late 1840's, making it possible to ship coal in large quantities, and Frostburg became a commercial center for mining, thriving and suffering with fluctuating coal prices and employment. There were also brickyards and lumber mills in the area. Frostburg boasts many historic and charming homes, a few dating from the earliest days of the National Road, some contemporaries of the famous "Southern Mansions," some built in the later 1800s. Many of these homes stand straight and unembellished in their original dignity. "Historic Frostburg," a self-guided driving tour is also available.

LaVale Tollgate House

The oddly designed LaVale Tollgate House is historically significant for the part it played in the original "United States Road," more commonly known as the National or Cumberland Road, one of the main arteries between the East Coast and the burgeoning Midwest. A constitutional debate raged around the National Road in the 1820's and 30's over whether users could be charged tolls on such a highway. In 1822, President James Monroe vetoed a bill providing for just such toll collection.

Congress circumvented the problem by turning over ownership of the National Road to the states through which it passed. Maryland accepted ownership of its section in 1835. Within a year the formerly free road was a toll road, with this tollhouse, completed in 1836 collecting $9,745.90 in its first year of operation. Maryland collected tolls until 1878, when the road and tollhouse became the property of Allegany County. Portions of the old National Road returned to national service in 1925 as US Route 40. The state bought the house in 1957 for historic preservation. Location: On US Route 40, about six miles east of Frostburg.

The Narrows

The Narrows is a natural landmark, a dramatic cut through Wills and Haystack Mountains, whose importance is both scenic and historic. Historically, the pass has facilitated commerce, travel and migration between Cumberland and the West. Early road bypassed the Narrows. Nemacolin's Path, an Indian trail, much of which later became Braddock Trail, uses the steep mountain passes to the south. One of Braddock's officers, British Naval Lieutenant Charles Spendlowe, found the Narrows, and a large portion of Braddock's force used it, but the National Road first followed the steep mountain trail. Not until 1832, when the federal government extensively surveyed the region, was the National Road rerouted through the Narrows. The abutments of the old stone bridge that carried the road over Wills Creek, a bridge used from 1834 to 1932, are still visible just downstream from the present US 40A bridge. After over a century's service as the main westward route, the Narrows is being bypassed again as I-68 generally follows Nemacolin's Path west out of Cumberland. Location: West on US 40A out of Cumberland.

Activities for your delegates can be arranged at any of the area's state parks. In addition, opportunities exist to attend local arts festivals and theatrical productions, as well as experiencing a memorable trip on the Allegany Central Scenic Railroad from Frostburg to Cumberland.

Frostburg State's Office of Conferences and Events would be glad to make all necessary arrangements for you and your delegates to experience the offerings of our region.

Office of Conferences & Events
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532

Phone: 301-687-4021