Boonsboro hopes to tap into tourism trade

November 14, 1997

Boonsboro hopes to tap into tourism trade


Staff Writer

BOONSBORO - Boonsboro officials are hoping to cash in on the town's history with a low-maintenance tourism program.

The Boonsboro Historical Society and the town's Economic Development Commission plan to print brochures with a guide to some of the town's historic sites. Visitors would follow the brochure as they walk about town, learning about its past as they go.

Doug Bast, a local business owner and member of the historical society, said it also could spur economic development, as prospective new business owners learn about the town.


Bast said he often sees people from outside the county strolling through Boonsboro, wondering about certain buildings.

"You can tell that they're interested in it," he said. "It's something we should have had a long time ago."

Boonsboro Mayor Charles F. "Skip" Kauffman Jr., said the self-tour could help make the town's antique and confectionery stores and other shops attractive to tourists.

"It promotes the town. It will bring people to town and showcase our resources," he said.

The brochures will be placed in town and at other tourist attractions, Bast said. The historical society also has ordered 25 plaques that will be placed on historic buildings to help visitors find important sites.

Since most of the buildings are privately owned, Bast said the organization will need permission from the owners to erect the 4-by-6-inch plaques.

The plaques contain a silhouette of the town's founder, William Boone, standing proudly over his land with a hoe. The picture draws an important distinction from his famous relative, Daniel Boone, who usually carried a shotgun while he traveled.

"William Boone came as a farmer - and he came to stay," Bast said.

Among the sites Bast envisions highlighting include the Weldon House, on St. Paul Street. It was the setting for "Heart of Maryland," the first American play that was successful in Europe. Oddfellows Hall, on South Main Street, was one of the largest hospitals outside Frederick, Md., during the Battle of South Mountain, he said.

Another site is 103 N. Main St., the boyhood home of William T. Hamilton, who was governor of Maryland from 1880 to 1884.

Bast said he expects the brochures to be finished by January and all the plaques to be up by spring.

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