This web site is brought to you by UPSHOTMD, which stands for Uniting People of Sandy Hook for Our Tomorrows in MarylanD.
We seek to preserve the exceptional cultural assets and protect the sensitive environment of Sandy Hook in Washington County Maryland.
Sandy Hook is located in the Southern tip of Pleasant Valley, where Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia meet.
We have combined our efforts with CPPV, Citizens for the Preservation of Pleasant Valley.
About 3 years old, CPPV's goal is to help protect the environment, quality of life, and preserve the historic character of Pleasant Valley and surrounding area, as well as educate its citizens on environmental and historic matters on a non-profit, non-partisan basis through scientific, literary and educational activities and public events.
A CPPV membership form,
and bylaws are available.
This web site represents the combined efforts of both groups.
It has been said that the county government "up north" in Hagerstown does not really understand the treasure we have "down south" in South County.
This web site serves two purposes - it is a library for sharing information, as well as a way to show off what a great place this really is.
These two purposes are mixed together in this web site.
Like both the North and the South during the Civil War, it is because we love where we live that we seek to protect it.
Come and see the beauty of this place and decide for yourself!
A Long Local History of Sandy Hook
A Unique Conversion of Resources
Sandy Hook, Maryland, presents a unique opportunity to preserve history in an area also rich with natural beauty and recreational opportunities.
Within less than a half square mile are 2 National Parks.
On the west side we are bordered by the National Battlefield known as Maryland Heights, the Maryland side of Harper's Ferry National Historical Park.
Our Southern boundary is formed by the C&O Canal National Historical Park which for 1.5 miles around Sandy Hook conjoins with the Appalachian Trail.
These are both designated Federal Greenways.
There are two more components to that southern boundary, the B&O Railroad and the Potomac, a National Heritage River.
Site of Civil War and John Brown's Raid
The Civil War and John Brown's Raid are intimately connected to the history of Sandy Hook.
Sandy Hook was occupied by troops during the entire Civil War.
Our western boundary is the Maryland Heights portion of Harper's Ferry National Historic Site (WA-III-072), one of the most endangered battlefields in the US.
John Brown actually stayed in Sandy Hook while looking for a place to rent to plan his infamous raid.
Robert E. Lee traveled by train to Sandy Hook to meet the marines in order to stage the liberation of Harper's Ferry from John Brown.
A man from Sandy Hook was captured and released by the raiders and then stopped subsequent trains from crossing the bridge into Harper's Ferry.
Even Abraham Lincoln was here.
While not an incorporated town, Sandy Hook has existed as a settlement since the early 1800s
According to Civil War records, the area of Sandy Hook historically includes Keep Tryst Road beginning at the Lockkeepers House at Lock 31, an MHT survey site, and stretches west on Sandy Hook Road as far as the western border of Maryland Heights, a National Register site.
Letters, battlefield orders and historical accounts all refer to the entire area as Sandy Hook.
On Keep Tryst Road, are 2 pre-Civil war homes (WA-III-031, WA-III-043) that were occupied during the Civil War, one by General Custer and General Burns.
In addition, an old schoolhouse on the Nicolosi property and a historic cemetery are mentioned in the MHT survey.
The Maryland Historical Trust has recognized the historical significance of Sandy Hook in this quote from the MFT Survey WA-III-032:
"Based on available information it looks like Sandy Hook is eligible for the National Register under criteria A and C for Transportation and Architecture.
The long narrow village is located on a strip of sloping land at the foot of Maryland Heights opposite Harper's Ferry along the B&O Railroad, the C&O canal and the Potomac River.
It would appear that Sandy Hook developed as a canal town and Railroad community.
The village includes over 40 historic houses dating from the mid-19th through the early 20th centuries and has very few modern intrusions. While many of the houses have been altered over time, frequently with modern siding and windows, there is good integrity in terms of the location, setback, design and form."
See WA-III-74 through 116. (You can find these maps on the MHT web site.)
In lower Sandy Hook, 42 buildings including an 1880's church are listed on the Maryland Historical Trust Inventory of Historic Sites. Up on Keep Tryst road are 3 large historic residences and an old cemetery.
In the opposite direction, are several historic properties on Valley Road.
The B&O Railroad Tunnel and the 340 bridge across the Potomac are just two of the nearby sites listed on the National Register.
Sandy Hook takes a significant place in legacy of Maryland's railroad and canal towns.
List of all properties on Arthur Lane and Sandy Hook, Clark and Keep Tryst Roads with dates buildings were erected:
4 homes built before the civil war.
17 homes built between 1870 and 1899.
25 homes built between 1900 and 1920.
6 homes built between 1921 and 1940.
4 homes built between 1941 and 1950.
5 homes built between 1950 and 1959.
7 homes built between 1960 and 1970.
8 homes built between 1980 and 2000.
There are approximately 16 vacant lots.
Our geography provides beauty and recreation but also makes us vulnerable to the forces of nature.
In the Washington County Comprehensive Plan, the Appalachian Trail is designated as a "sensitive" area.
As one would expect of a river town, much of Sandy Hook is in the 100 year flood plain.
But, behind that rises the steep slope of a small mountain.
Outlets for storm water runoff are limited by the railroad bed and the canal.
This means that any development must be very carefully planned to avoid increasing the likelihood of flooding in lower Sandy Hook.
Potential Benefits to the Economy of the County
Our area is clearly an area based on a tourist economy.
People come from all over the world to stay in the Sandy Hook Youth Hostel.
People from all over the United States come to hike the Appalachian Trail or to hike and bike the C&O Canal.
Civil War enthusiasts come here. People are here every day to pursue water sports on the Potomac River.
You will find Sandy Hook listed as a destination on websites about water rapids, canoeing and kayaking.
The River and Trail Outfitters in Sandy Hook provide rentals and tubing and canoe trips to tourists.
Hiking and climbing websites point our way.
Civil War sites give directions to our town.
We also have unusual geology drawing scientific types and climbers.
The problem is that we get a lot more attention and respect from people who are from anywhere but Washington County.
What are our commercial and tourist based enterprises here?
A little grocery that sells snacks and bottled water, an outdoor adventure company, a motel, a youth hostel, a gas station that sells bait and fishing licenses and a restaurant.
An old motel complex could be revamped to serve overnight stays.
Book Excerpts Pertaining To Sandy Hook
The Owl's Mournful Hoots - From "Six Years of Hell: Harpers Ferry During the Civil War" by Chester G. Hearn, page 81.
Mile 59.5 - From "The C & O Canal Companion" by Mike High, part of page 162.
How Sandy Hook got named, as well as John Browns Raid - From "A Guide To Civil War Sites In Maryland" by Susan Cooke Soderberg, pages 103 to 105.
Another account of how Sandy Hook (and Keep Tryst) got named - From "The Place Names Of Maryland, Their Origin and Meaning" by Hamill Kenny, excerpts from pages 132, 133, and 231.
John Browns Raid - From "Harpers Ferry" by Ray Jones, pages 112 and 113.
George Custer's wife, among other stuff - From "The Blue Hills Of Maryland" by Paula M. Strain, pages 59 to 61.
Correspondence - From "The Civil War CDROM."
Lonaconing (Knoxville) Furnace - From "A Celebration of Iron" by Stanley K. Dickinson, pages 10 and 46.
Canal and Rail Road Slam - From "Home on the Canal" by Elizabeth Kyle, pages 36 and 37.
C&O Canal History
Over the years, the National Park Service has published numerous studies and reports concerning the C&O canal.
They generally include information pertinent to the southern portion of Pleasant Valley.
Some of these files contain searchable text while others do not.
Did you know:
The C&O canal follows along side the Potomac River.
Another name for the Potomac is the Cohongorooto River.
What does the word "Cohongorooto" mean?