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Burkittsville, Maryland
Town of Burkittsville
Main Street in Burkittsville
Main Street in Burkittsville
Location of Burkittsville, Maryland
Location of Burkittsville, Maryland
Country  United States
State  Maryland
County Frederick
Incorporated 1894; 130 years ago (1894)
 • Total 0.46 sq mi (1.19 km2)
 • Land 0.45 sq mi (1.18 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)
587 ft (179 m)
 • Total 142
 • Density 312.78/sq mi (120.70/km2)
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 301, 240
FIPS code 24-11400
GNIS feature ID 0589853

Burkittsville is a historic village in Frederick County, Maryland, United States. The village lies in the southern Middletown Valley along the eastern base of South Mountain.

Burkittsville is a residential area with an economy based in agriculture and tourism. The village was the scene of the Battle of Crampton's Gap, part of the Battle of South Mountain during the Maryland Campaign of the Civil War on September 14, 1862. Burkittsville was also made a subject of national attention when it was used as the setting of the 1999 horror film The Blair Witch Project. Nearby attractions include the Gathland State Park and the Appalachian Trail.

The population was 151 as of the 2010 census.


Burkittsville is located at 39°23.5′N 77°37.6′W / 39.3917°N 77.6267°W / 39.3917; -77.6267 (39.3915, -77.6271).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.45 square miles (1.17 km2), all of it land.


English settlement in this region began in the early 18th century. Land was being surveyed and patented in the south-western portion of the Middletown Valley beginning in the 1720s. The first land tract to be patented within the present boundaries of Burkittsville was "Dawson's Purchase," dated May 14, 1741. The Harley/Arnold Farm, located on the western border of the village at the base of South Mountain, stands on the "Dawson's Purchase" tract.

Burkittsville was first founded by two property owners: Major Joshua Harley and Henry Burkitt. The western half was first founded as "Harley's Post Office" in 1824. After Harley's passing in 1828, Burkitt renamed it Burkittsville. Over the next thirty years it grew as a community with stores, shops, blacksmiths, a schoolhouse, and a tannery.

On September 13, 1862, Confederate cavalry under command of Colonel Thomas Munford (under General J.E.B. Stuart) occupied Burkittsville. On Sunday, September 14, the forces of the Union and Confederate armies engaged in the Battle of Crampton's Gap, a bloody prelude to the Battle of Antietam. The Reformed and Lutheran churches and adjacent schoolhouse were used as hospitals for the more than 300 wounded of both sides. These buildings still stand today.

Routinely characterized as the trigger to Antietam, victory at Crampton's Gap embodied Union Gen. George B. McClellan’s strategic reaction to his acquiring the legendary “Lost Order” at Frederick which disclosed Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s campaign movements. It was McClellan’s intention to “cut the enemy in two and beat him in detail”.

After seizing Crampton's Gap Gen. William B. Franklin failed to relieve the besieged Union garrison at Harpers Ferry, and more importantly to prevent Confederate generals James Longstreet and “Stonewall” Jackson from reuniting at Sharpsburg. There Lee hastily stood his ground in the mammoth battle of Antietam, the war’s bloodiest day. President Abraham Lincoln then used the marginal Union victory at Antietam as a springboard to his Emancipation Proclamation which changed war aims. Without the fall of Crampton's Gap there would have been no Antietam.

Nearly all of Burkittsville is a historic district, listed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 1975. The 300 acres (120 ha) district includes about 70 contributing structures. The Burkittsville Historic District is itself part of the larger Crampton's Gap Historic District, which comprises the southern portion of the lands involved in the Battle of South Mountain, extending from the western side of Crampton's Gap, over South Mountain and about a mile to the east of Burkittsville.

Blair Witch

Burkittsville Cemetery MD1
Union Cemetery in Burkittsville, established in 1831.

Burkittsville gained uninvited attention with the 1999 release of the film The Blair Witch Project and the franchise it spawned. "The poor town of Burkittsville suddenly found itself overrun with Blair Witch groupies, wandering around in the woods, trying to find the 'real' places where the story had happened." Contrary to popular belief, however, the majority of the film was not filmed in Burkittsville, but in Maryland's Seneca Creek State Park, about 25 miles (40 km) away, and the events depicted in the film and the legend of the Blair Witch itself are false. Furthermore, other potentially identifiable landmarks from the Blair Witch story - Coffin Rock, the Black Hills, Black Rock Road, and the local convenience store - are not located in the real Burkittsville or the immediate surrounding area. A Black Rock Road, Black Hills, and the "Blair High School" the interviewed girl mentioned can, however, all be found in Montgomery County, Maryland, which is very possibly not a coincidence as Blair Witch filmmaker Eduardo Sanchez grew up there and is an alumnus of Montgomery College.

A Burkittsville town welcome sign appeared briefly in the film, which featured cursive script with black and white coloring. As thievery of the town's welcome sign became more common due to the Blair Witch's increasing notoriety, the sign was radically redesigned to feature white letters and red stars against a blue background. The new sign also notes that the town has fewer than 200 people, was established in 1824, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 293
1880 280 −4.4%
1890 273 −2.5%
1900 229 −16.1%
1910 228 −0.4%
1920 200 −12.3%
1930 173 −13.5%
1940 177 2.3%
1950 190 7.3%
1960 208 9.5%
1970 221 6.3%
1980 202 −8.6%
1990 194 −4.0%
2000 171 −11.9%
2010 151 −11.7%
2020 142 −6.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the 2010 census there were 151 people, 69 households, and 42 families residing in the town. The population density was 335.6 inhabitants per square mile (129.6/km2). There were 74 housing units at an average density of 164.4 per square mile (63.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 99.3% White and 0.7% Asian. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.

There were 69 households, of which 20.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.7% were married couples living together, 4.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.1% were non-families. 34.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.79.

The median age in the town was 50.5 years. 15.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 3.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.9% were from 25 to 44; 43.1% were from 45 to 64; and 15.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 50.3% male and 49.7% female.


2019-05-19 13 41 57 View south along Maryland State Route 17 (Potomac Street) between Main Street and Lake Side Drive in Burkittsville, Frederick County, Maryland
MD 17 southbound leaving central Burkittsville

The main method of travel to and from Burkittsville is by road. The only significant highway serving the town is Maryland Route 17, which follows Potomac Street within the town limits. To the north, MD 17 connects to Middletown and eventually reaches Interstate 70 in Myersville. Heading south, MD 17 interchanges with U.S. Route 340 just before reaching Brunswick.

See also

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