BY STEPHANIE MENDENHALL / FEBRUARY 2015
My family and I reside in Greenmount, on the Emmitsburg Road (completed c. 1814) at the southern area of Cumberland Township, Adams County. “Google” Greenmount and observe the dot pointing to a developed corner lot at the intersection of Cunningham and Emmitsburg Roads indicating the former location of a small post office established in 1841 (then the property of John Weikert) and dubbed Green Mount.
The general area was settled as early as 1683 by hard scrabble immigrants (Scots-Irish, Irish, German, English and Dutch) who converged from the south (MD) and from the east (Philadelphia). Some of the earliest were considered squatters, many who eventually secured legal ownership of lands from Penn’s Manor of Maske in the 1760s. Properties carrying the legal “named place” of Greenmount include lands from the Emmitsburg Road west up to and including Pumping Station Road, and south to the border of “Fairplay” in Freedom Township. To the east it includes up to the Taneytown Road and parts of Mount Joy, and to the north, arguably, Barlow Greenmount Road or to the boundary line of Gettysburg.
Settlers endured strife during the French and Indian Wars and pre- Mason Dixon Line landowner clashes. They transformed this frontier into a bona fide community through the establishment of farms, trade shops, mills, businesses, “state roads” including the Emmitsburg Road (formerly known as Rt. 2, now Business 15) and with the construction of the Greenmount School on land donated by Roger McCurdy in 1858. The latter through its two incarnations educated Greenmount’s children for 102 years. Weikert sold his land to the Harper family who added a carriage making business, boasting 9 employees. June 30, 1863, saw the advance of the Union Army up the Emmitsburg Road, troops and cavalry staged on farmsteads. The aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg saw the Harper’s enterprise sold in 1864 for taxes. Purchased by Hugh Paxton Bigham, Sgt. 48th Pennsylvania, he and his family ran the store and served a record 48 years as Post Master (until 1913).
Greenmount rallied to host the 1919 Motor Transport Corps Convoy (Washington DC-San Francisco) via the Lincoln Highway. Greenmount organized a baseball team, part of the South Penn Baseball League who played at Marsh Creek Diamond (now Campground) fostering future professionals “Skip” Fiscel and “Poss” Miller. Storekeepers Riley and Null served local residents needs from the mid-1930s though the 1970s helping during the Great Depression and later recessions by extending credit and bartering.
Emmitsburg Road’s Mrs. Cook supplemented her income by renting backyard cabins, her visitors delighted in her $.75 fried chicken and pancake breakfasts. The Gettysburg Specialties Foundry employed Greenmount residents for 50 years. Slippy Dippin’ was the first waterslide built in the area in the 1970s. The Culver family’s Ft. Defiance structure was disassembled and moved from Taneytown Road then rebuilt as an architectural feature on the Emmitsburg Road. The Sheraton Hotel, built in the 1960’s sold to and expanded by Mr. Michaels in the 1970s, now stands as The Eisenhower Inn and Conference Center. East Coast Helicopters has served the region for over 40 years. “Humungous” Boyd’s Bears came to life in 2003, employing locals and serving thousands of devoted patrons before its heartbreaking demise in 2011. Greenmount Fire Department is in its 80th year of continuous all volunteer service.
Stephanie Mendenhall is a nine year resident of Greenmount and new member of CTHS.