Photo of the Tannerymaster House


Click for a copy of the Road Closure Map here!

Burkittsville is an historic, virtually unchanged example of an American village of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Fields of crops and dairy farms surround the churches and houses strung along Main Street. The mountains rise to the west. In September 1862, Burkittsville became closely involved with the Civil War when Union and Confederate forces clashed in the Battle of Crampton’s Gap, the bloody prelude to Antietam.

The educational walking tour highlights three centuries of historic architecture as well as lovely private gardens. Houses, churches and farms from Burkittsville's founding through the 20th century stand side by side revealing layers of rich history. Guides will provide information on the history of the village and individual historic buildings as guests enjoy an exceptional opportunity to observe how contemporary lifestyles are lived within the framework of Burkittsville's unique architectural heritage.

Enjoy this exclusive opportunity to see beyond the quaint doorways and garden gates of one of the most enchanting villages in Maryland.

This year, the BPA is pleased to welcome local artist Carl Butler to the House and Garden Tour. Carl’s medium is acrylics; he favors a blue palette and likes to show light’s special effects on many of his works using iridescent paint. Carl has a long history of displaying his work in galleries and museums throughout the region and is often commissioned for paintings of local landscapes and portraits. He has also previously participated in the City of Frederick’s House and Garden tour. Carl will select an individual historic Burkittsville home and garden to paint while the tour is in progress. For more information on Carl and his work, please go to his website here!

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Photo of House

See a map of the tour route here!

BREAKING NEWS(05/18/2018):

Click for a copy of the Road Closure Map here!

BREAKING NEWS(05/15/2018):
The weather forecast for Saturday's Tour is rain. Please bring an umbrella and if a particular tour is during a thunderstorm, we will delay it or honor tickets on another tour.

BREAKING NEWS(04/15/2018):
Last year, we heard such great feedback on this event, and we earned over $3000 in matching funds for grant applications for the Hamilton Willard Shafer farm preservation. We are still in the process of adding homes and gardens as well as bringing back our online Facebook Auction. Stay tuned for more details!


Biser House at 305 East Main Street (GARDENS ONLY). This house, along with the neighboring white dwelling at 307 East Main Street, was owned by Daniel S. Biser. Born in 1801, Biser served thirteen terms in the Maryland House of Delegates, serving as Speaker of the House in 1841 and 1843. Biser also served on the board of directors for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. This dwelling, built of brick laid in common bond, beautifully displays the typical Victorian-era embellishments that were made to many houses in Burkittsville in the latter part of the 19th century.

Dr. John E. Garrott's House at 101 East Main Street. As wounded poured into the village of Burkittsville on the evening of September 14, 1862, Dr. John E. Garrott offered his services to the Army Surgeon Alfred Castleman. Together, the men were able to dress the wounds of all soldiers being treated in either hospital "B" or "C."

Surgeon Castleman stated that, "having, by the kind assistance of Doctor Garrott, a good and excellent physician of the village, got through my dressings and seen my patients well asleep, I, in company with Doctor G., visited other hospitals to offer our services to the Surgeons there."

Castleman later recounted that the other surgeons were asleep. Disgusted by there lack of treatment of the wounded in other hospitals in the village, Dr. Garrott asked to be relieved of duty the following morning.

Dr. Garrott's elderly father was also a doctor, but, records do not mention him helping with the treatment of soldiers. No records support Burkittsville physician, Dr. Tilghman Biser, who lived across the street from Dr. Garrott, as assisting with the wounded.

Dr. Garrott's house is an example of an early frame house, later updated with elements of Queen Anne style, including the porch, cross gable, and projecting bay, all likely post-Civil War alterations.

South Mountain Heritage Society at 3 East Main Street. South Mountain Heritage Society, founded in the early-1990s, is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of Burkittsville. The museum is located in the historic Resurrection Reformed Church. The original section of the building was constructed in 1829 as the "Union Church," owned jointly by the Reformed and Lutheran congregations. After the Lutherans built St. Paul's Church next door in 1859, the Reformed congregation rebuilt the old Union building into its present form in 1860. Further renovations took place in the 1890s when the Sunday School wing was built onto the back of the church and the bell tower was added. The building blends elements of Greek and Gothic Revival styles with Italianate and Queen Anne decoration. Resurrection Reformed Church served as "Hospital D" in the wake of the Battle of South Mountain, housing wounded soldiers in its sanctuary until January 31, 1863. After several decades of decline in the size of its congregation, the Reformed Church closed in 1979 and donated the building to the town. In 2000, the building was restored to its 1896 appearance by the South Mountain Heritage Society. The sanctuary maintains the pews from the 1860 renovations, furnishings from the 1896 alterations, and a historic pipe organ, built in Baltimore between 1851 and 1862, one of the oldest organs to survive intact in the state of Maryland.

St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church at 3 East Main Street. The Lutheran congregation in Burkittsville predates the founding of the town itself. Beginning in the 1810s, services were held in the Karn Cabinet Shop until 1829 when the Union Church (SMHS) was built. After sharing the Union Church with the Reformed congregation for 30 years, the Lutherans erected St. Paul's Church in 1859. The church served as a field hospital after the Battle of South Mountain and both its lecture hall and sanctuary housed wounded soldiers. The Romanesque-styled tower and narthex were added to the church in the 1870s. Inside the church's Colonial Revival-styled sanctuary is an 8-rank Moller Pipe Organ, originally installed in 1914.

Union Cemetery at 5 East Main Street. Henry Burkitt deeded land to the Reformed and Lutheran congregations in 1831 for their "Union Church" and to provide a common burial ground for the village. This oldest section of Union Cemetery is located behind the old Reformed Church (now the South Mountain Heritage Society museum). In the months following the Battle of South Mountain, Union Cemetery was the site of temporary burials for U.S. and Confederate soldiers who died while being treated in the field hospitals around Burkittsville. Union Cemetery was expanded to its present size in the 1890s. Among the over 1,000 people interred at Union Cemetery are the Rev. Emmanuel Slifer, a Dunker preacher who represented his pacifist congregants in court when they were drafted into military service during the Civil War; the Hon. Daniel Biser, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates in 1841 and 1843; Manassas J. Grove, member of the Maryland House of Delegates and founder of the M.J. Grove Lime Company; John D. Ahalt, industrialist who founded the Mountain Spring Distilling Company in Burkittsville in 1879; and Dr. Arlington Grove Horine, physician for the B&O Railroad and a popular, long-serving Mayor of the City of Brunswick.

Horine's Store at 2 West Main Street. The soldiers making their way up Main Street towards the mountain, found the commerce of the village to be centered at the town square; including this building, which at the time housed a general store, operated by the Horine Family.

Store ledgers indicate that goods were purchased by soldiers of both sides during the time Burkittsville was occupied. Stores within the village were extremely important, especially to soldiers, who were often under-supplied. This property had been a commercial establishment since its construction in the early 19th century by Captain Joshua Harley, who owned the first store in Burkittsville. In 1824, this store became the home of the Harley's, and later Burkittsville Post Office. The Horine Family continued to operate their store for over a century after the battle, although the name was changed to Gordon's in its later years.

Today, the building houses P.J. Gilligan's Mercantile, making Two West Main Street, Burkittsville's oldest commercial structure

The Home Place at 8 West Main Street "The Home Place" is one of Burkittsville's earliest documented structures. The rear ell wing of this composite house was built in the late-18th century of half-timbered framing, a construction technique transported from Europe dating back to the medieval period. Few examples of this construction style exist in Frederick County today. The front section of the house was built in the early 19th century of logs. In the 19th century, this was home to the Arnold and Miller families and in the 20th century, Deborah Aughenbaugh, Burkittsville's first female mayor lived here.

7 West Main Street. Georgian-Federal style home built between 1836 and 1840. The lot on which the house was built was one of only two lots bequeathed to friends by Henry Burkitt, the village founder, in his 1836 will. In 1857, just prior to the Civil War, the house was sold to Henry Shafer. Henry Shafer and his family witnessed thousands of Union and Confederate troops passing by from their front windows. On September 13, 1862, Burkittsville was occupied by Confederate troops under the command of Brig General Howell Cobb who had been assigned to guard Crampton’s Gap located to the west of the village. According to local historians, 7 West Main St and the house next door were occupied by Virginia Cavalry under the command of Col. Thomas Munford. Munford had selected these homes because of the blacksmith’s shop in the rear alley they used to reshod their weary horses. The home remained in the Shafer family until 1926.

105 West Main Street. Like many houses in Burkittsville, this seemingly Victorian period structure is actually a product of several generations of building and expansion. The original section of the house located at the back of the present structure was possibly built by Daniel Grove Biser in the 1850s. Thomas and Rebecca Karn lived here from 1867 until the 1890s. Thomas was a carpenter and the front section of the house was built during his ownership. Featuring projecting bays and gables clad in wood shingles, this later addition, completed as early as 1873, is an early vernacular expression of Queen Anne style. For a brief period between owners in the 1890s, the house was owned by Outerbridge Horsey, operator of a rye whiskey distillery south of town on the old Needwood Plantation, one of Burkittsville's major industries in the late-19th century.

The Tannery Master's House at 109 West Main Street. This historic home dates to the early 19th century, likely built by Ezra Slifer, who owned the tannery before Michael Wiener, who was living in this Federal styled house with his family during the time of the battle.

The Tannery Master's House is one site which is directly involved in a significant legend of Burkittsville's history: the visit of Abraham Lincoln in the fall of 1862. The mystery of Lincoln's return route to Washington D.C. from Antietam gives the setting of Burkittsville as one of his stops. According to Wiener and Arnold family traditions, the President stopped and ate lunch on the rear sleeping porch of the house in the shade of the massive tree which still looms behind the structure.

According to General William Franklin's Notes on the Maryland Campaign, "...when Mr. Lincoln visited the army, he came through Crampton's Gap; he told me that he was astonished to see and bear of what we had done there. He thanked me for it, and said that he had not understood it before. He was in a respects very kind and complimentary."

The home burned in 1890, but was rebuilt within a year. Today, the house stands newly restored after several years of abandonment.

The Hamilton Willard Shafer Farm at the Northeast Corner of the intersection of Gapland and Catholic Church Roads. Hamilton Willard Shafer farm was built circa 1840. Is was owned by Dr. J.D. Garrott in 1858 based on the data in the Isaac Bond maps of Frederick County 1858. The property was sold to Martin Shafer, uncle to Hamilton Willard Shafer, prior to the Civil War. Gen Wm. B. Franklin used the property as his headquarters Sept. 14 1862. Gen. Franklin could view the Town of Burkittsville and Crampton’s Gap from this vantage point.

"Shortly after noon, as the cannon fire began to intensify, William Franklin established his headquarters at the stately home of Martin Shafer - one mile east of Burkittsville - and then sat down to enjoy a bite to eat. He granted his footsore soldiers a reprieve, as they had covered the six miles from Jefferson in just over two hours. ... Generals Henry Slocum, Baldy Smith, Winfield Hancock, William Brooks, and John Newton soon joined Franklin at headquarters, and together the officers - essentially the entire Sixth Corps brass, excepting only Colonels Bartlett, Torbert and Irwin - enjoyed a round of cigars." (Hoptak, 2011, p. 138)