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Smithsburg, Maryland
2016-07-28 17 05 54 View south along Maryland State Route 66 (Water Street) at Pennsylvania Avenue in Smithsburg, Washington County, Maryland.jpg
Location of Smithsburg, Maryland
Location of Smithsburg, Maryland
Country United States
State Maryland
County Washington
Established 1812
Incorporated 1841
 • Total 1.16 sq mi (3.02 km2)
 • Land 1.16 sq mi (3.00 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
771 ft (235 m)
 • Total 2,977
 • Density 2,570.81/sq mi (992.50/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 301, 240
FIPS code 24-72900
GNIS feature ID 0591306

Smithsburg is a town in Washington County, Maryland, United States. The population was 2,975 at the 2010 census. Smithsburg is close to the former Fort Ritchie army base and just west of the presidential retreat Camp David.


Smithsburg, MD was founded in 1813 by Christopher "Stuffle" Smith. Mr. Smith purchased a plot of land formerly known as "part of Shadrack's Lot." The community's development was directly influenced by factors such as migration paths, the arrival of the railroad, and advances in agricultural technology. By 1923, much of the existing village had been erected. Smithsburg was incorporated in 1846.

Smithsburg acted as a hospital town during the American Civil War in 1862, treating wounded soldiers from nearby battles at South Mountain and Antietam. On July 5, 1863, Confederate General James Stuart and Union General Kilpatrick exchanged artillery fire over Smithsburg. Kilpatrick continued the advance to Boonsboro, Maryland after the engagement on July 6. area.

An incident involving slaves in May 1845 proved to be extremely violent for the people of Smithsburg. Twelve runaway slaves from Leesburg, Virginia had been seeking their way to freedom in the North when a man who considered himself to be a professional slave catcher, who had only supposed the group to be runaways, noticed the party making their way passed his home at three o’clock in the morning. Beckoning the town constable and six other men to apprehend the runaways, the supposed leader exclaimed, “Now, boys, G-d d--n you, fight!” Armed with pistols and tomahawks, the Virginia runaways had the upper hand as the rural Smithsburg men only exhibited clubs and sticks for protection. A skirmish took place which had badly wounded some of the Smithsburg men, “Constable Flora was twice knocked down, Price had his arm nearly severed and the bone broken, by a blow from a tomahawk he also had a pistol snapped in his face, which very fortunately failed to go off…Shank was several times felled to the earth, and the whole party more or less injured.” Despite their efforts, only four slaves were captured - two by the Smithsburg troop and two more in an adjoining town, Leitersburg - yet the bulk of the runaways presumably were successful in their audacious escape into Pennsylvania.

President Lyndon Johnson, his wife Lady Bird Johnson, and their daughter Lynda Bird Johnson, visited St. Ann's Episcopal Church in Smithsburg on Easter Sunday, March 26, 1967. During his term President Johnson visited Smithsburg many times due to its close proximity to Camp David. In 1963, President and First Lady Johnson were on their way from Camp David to a Church in Hagerstown, Maryland. Along their route was a junkyard known as "Elwoods Auto Exchange" which the first lady felt "ruined the beautiful landscape". She requested the driver pull the limousine onto the shoulder of the road. She then marched up the dirt road to the main office and proceeded to give Elwoods Grimm "a piece of her mind regarding the unsightliness of the wrecking yard." Two years following this occurrence the Highway Beautification Act was passed by Congress. The Auto Exchange is still in operation and is now hidden by a line of pine trees which blocks its view from the main highway. While there is no documentation of Lady Bird's rant, several documents are available through the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum which show her acknowledgements of the unsightliness of the Auto Exchange.


Smithsburg is located at 39°39′17″N 77°34′25″W / 39.65472°N 77.57361°W / 39.65472; -77.57361 (39.654846, -77.573643).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.06 square miles (2.75 km2), of which, 1.05 square miles (2.72 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water. The only body of water that is within the limits of Smithsburg is the now inactive Smithsburg reservoir.

Smithsburg is characterized by rolling hills and open space. The town is well known for its farming community, including apple orchards and dairy farms.


Due to Smithsburg's location between the Appalachian Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay watershed, its climate is considered mild to moderate. The area has warm, humid summers and winters with temperatures hovering around freezing point.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 366
1860 475 29.8%
1870 459 −3.4%
1880 433 −5.7%
1890 487 12.5%
1900 462 −5.1%
1910 481 4.1%
1920 586 21.8%
1930 598 2.0%
1940 619 3.5%
1950 641 3.6%
1960 586 −8.6%
1970 671 14.5%
1980 833 24.1%
1990 1,221 46.6%
2000 2,146 75.8%
2010 2,975 38.6%
2020 2,977 0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,975 people, 1,012 households, and 791 families living in the town. The population density was 2,833.3 inhabitants per square mile (1,093.9/km2). There were 1,082 housing units at an average density of 1,030.5 per square mile (397.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.7% White, 4.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.0% of the population.

There were 1,012 households, of which 49.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.8% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 21.8% were non-families. 18.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.35.

The median age in the town was 32.9 years. 32.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.1% were from 25 to 44; 22.8% were from 45 to 64; and 7.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 47.9% male and 52.1% female.


Smithsburg hosts the annual Steam and Craft Show in September, Smithsburg Hometown Christmas in December, Smithsburg Pride Days in May, and the Smithsburg Carnival every final week of June.


Smithsburg has four schools: Smithsburg High School (one of seven in Washington County), Smithsburg Middle School, Smithsburg Elementary School, and Old Forge Elementary. Smithsburg High School currently enrolls 902 students. The 116,260-square-foot (10,801 m2) school was built in 1965.


2016-07-28 17 05 26 View south along Maryland State Route 66 (Pennsylvania Avenue) at Water Street in Smithsburg, Washington County, Maryland
MD 66 entering central Smithsburg

The main method of travel to and from Smithsburg is by road. Maryland Route 66 is the only highway directly serving the town, following the old alignment of Maryland Route 64 through the middle of town. MD 66 connects with MD 64 just outside of the town limits on both the north and south ends, while Maryland Route 77 terminates at MD 64 just southeast of the town limits. Interstate 70 is accessible via MD 66, while Hagerstown can be reached via MD 64 and Thurmont via MD 77.

See also

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