For this edition of “Why Is It Named…?” we will head out to the Maryland suburbs of Gaithersburg. Do you know the town’s origin? We certainly didn’t, until a little sleuthing (and Wikipedia-ing) uncovered the story.
The town currently known as Gaithersburg was settled in 1765 under the name Log Town. Like much of the area, it was primarily agricultural. Benjamin Gaither inherited much of the land from his father-in-law, Henry Brookes, and built a house on it in 1802.
By the middle of the 19th century, the town and the surrounding area had been informally referred to as Gaitherburg (not Gaithersburg). Also, the town’s post office was located in Benjamin’s store in 1851 and was called Forest Oak after a large, and very old, oak tree located on Gaither’s property.
The tree was almost 300 years old when it came down during a major rainstorm in 1997.
Legend has it that the tree bore witness to the coming and going of famous Revolutionary War generals like George Washington and Edward Braddock.
In 1873 the B & O Railroad constructed a station at Gaithersburg, designed by Ephraim Francis Baldwin (who also designed the one at Point of Rocks). Finally in April, 1878, the town was officially incorporated as the City of Gaithersburg.
Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District. He lives in Columbia Heights with Mrs. Ghost and Ghost Dog. On September 3rd, 2013, the second site launched as Ghosts of Baltimore.