Wagon train recalls a simpler time

May 22, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

BOONSBORO - About 100 people with 30 horses and 14 wagons set out Saturday to travel 32 miles from Clear Spring to Boonsboro.

They arrived Sunday afternoon, completing the 18th annual National Pike Festival & Wagon Train.

Washington County was the only Maryland county to celebrate the 300-mile route with an authentic wagon train and other activities, said Laura Bowman, event coordinator.

Bowman is president of the James Shaull Wagon Train Foundation Inc., one of the event's sponsors.

Two hundred years ago, National Pike became the first federally funded highway in the United States. Bowman said volunteers undertake the living history to capture what it was like to travel on the highway in 1806.

"People really appreciate it and enjoy it," she said.

On Sunday, the wagon train traveled along National Pike with stops at Ravenwood Lutheran Village and the Boonsboro Auction Square Complex before making it to the final destination - Boonsboro's Shafer Memorial Park - where they set up and spoke with people about the wagons and the journey.


"In today's fast-paced environment with high fuel prices, we don't often consider the roots of our heritage," Bowman said. "Talking with the wagon train participants gives a little glimpse of how things were 200 years ago."

Calleb Yurish, 10, of Boonsboro, said he likes to learn about history, is taking horseback riding lessons and said he enjoyed the wagon train. Calleb asked one man in the wagon train about the breed of his horses.

"I thought the people did a good job," he said. "This will still be a tradition 20 or 30 years from now."

Calleb's father, Pete Yurish, said he and his son have gone to the event in Boonsboro for several years, and Calleb has set up a blanket with Civil War-era weapons and other items that he answers questions about.

Amy Jones of Boonsboro took her two children to watch the last leg of the wagon train.

"It's very impressive to see that coming down the street and into the park," she said.

Jones said she and her family also enjoyed the music, square dancing and other activities at the park Sunday afternoon.

"It's just a great family event," she said.

The National Pike Festival began Friday in Clear Spring with a community dinner and encampment. Saturday started with a country breakfast in Clear Spring, followed by a 5K run and the Pike Days parade. The old-fashioned wagon train continued east on U.S. 40, making several stops, including Wilson's Store, Wilson's Bridge and Huyetts Crossroads.

The train made its way through downtown Hagerstown and into City Park. Participants camped at the Ag Implement Center on Wilson Boulevard Saturday night.

The Herald-Mail Articles