Founded in 1776, Washington County was created from portions of Frederick county and is the first county named for General (and later president) George Washington. The courage of the county founders to name the county after a General during an uncertain war is a testament to their faith and belief in the cause.
Washington County is one of 3 Maryland counties that are considered part of Appalachia.
Rich in both local and national histories, there are 102 properties in Washington County on the National Register of Historic Places, ranging from local historic farms and mills to national Civil War battlefields to the original George Washington Monument, the first monument in the nation to be erected in George Washington’s honor.
More about the history of the county can be found on the Historical Society of Washington County web pages.
There are nine incorporated cities in Washington County. They include Hagerstown, which is the county seat, Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Funkstown, Hancock, Keedysville, Sharpsburg, Smithsburg and Williamsport.
Recreation & Arts
Learn about the fascinating colonial frontier life of Jonathon Hager, the founder of Hagerstown, by visiting The Hager House, a house built over a spring that also served as a fort and provided protection from Indian attacks in the mid 1700’s.
Visit the Crystal Grottoes Caverns, a series of caves found in the 1920’s by a road crew drilling for limestone. These caverns have more formations per square foot than any cave known to man, and are the most naturally-kept caves in the world.
Unwind with a pint and some wurst at the annual Augustoberfest festival that celebrates the county’s German heritage and supports scholarships for exchange students to Hagerstown’s Sister City – Wesel, Germany.
The Beaver Creek School Museum offers visitors a peek into a late 19th and early 20th century school house, along with various items from the time period that reflect life in Washington County.
Walk along the Appalachian Trail, a 2,180+ mile foot trail that goes from Georgia to Maine and passes through the heart of Washington County.
Those interested in fine arts and education can visit the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, one of the finest small museums in the US, boasting more than 7,000 paintings, sculptures and objects d’art.
With 48 schools from PK-12, the public school system in Washington County is highly rated. According to a 2016 US News & World report, eight of the high schools in the county are listed among the nation’s best high schools. In fact, according to that report, “every eligible school from Washington County Public Schools is recognized on the 2016 U.S. News & World Report list of the nation’s best high schools”.
There are also 4 colleges and universities based in Washington County. They are the Antietam Bible College, Hagerstown Community College, Kaplan College and the University of Maryland at Hagerstown.
Newspapers & Media
There are several online and print newspapers for the county. They include Herald Mail Media, What’s NXT and The Franklin Shopper.
According to the Department of Business Development, “Washington County is the hub of the regional economy and draws its workforce from counties within the Maryland/Pennsylvania/West Virginia tri-state region. With a combined labor force of 400,000 highly skilled and educated workers, this is an incredible opportunity for incoming businesses and those looking to expand.”
Since 1919, the Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Business Development in Washington County has helped build a strong business community by connecting members to each other and the general public.
The Department of Business Development summarizes that “people are moving to Washington County for its employment opportunities, world-class educational system, and excellent quality of life. With a net increase of 1,000 people, Washington County ranks first in Maryland for the largest total migration increase according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2007 Statistics. The population of the county is 147,430 and is projected to grow to 169,300 by 2020, according to the Maryland Department of Planning.”