Welcome! Located along the historic National Road, high in the mountains of Western Maryland, the City of Frostburg boasts a charming Main Street community, close ties with Frostburg State University, and a rich history dating back to the early days of our country. With its beautiful surroundings, low cost of living, close proximity to major metropolitan markets, and high quality of life, the City of Frostburg has always been a home for talented artists of all types. In 2008, the City of Frostburg, the Allegany Arts Council, and the Historic Frostburg Main Street Program established a formal partnership to leverage the arts as a tool for community revitalization and economic development. After a successful application process that involved extensive community input and participation, the City of Frostburg was officially designated as the State of Maryland's eighteenth Arts & Entertainment (A&E) District in July 2009.
Frostburg has been described in a variety of ways throughout history. In one reference to observations of Augustine Herman in 1660, he referred to Big Savage and the mountains west as the natural cause of the fierceness of the winds and frost. In 1755, George Washington wrote in a letter to Governor Sharpe, "the slightest sloping plateau between the Savage Mountain and Will's Creek Mountain is a wondrous site for a city". The Mining Journal of the late 1800's, saw similar potentials. George and Mary Clarke McCulloh also had an appreciation for beauty when they named their house Mount Pleasant. Josiah Frost identified his real estate development along the National Road with that same name until the post office service changed the name to Frostburg.
Frostburg, with an elevation range of 1,950 feet to 2,450 feet above sea level, developed as a staging stop on the National Road, begun in 1811, which became the present Main Street. In 1839 Frostburg was still a struggling village, with two stores, two taverns, about 20 houses, and two churches—a stone church for the Methodists and a log structure at the far east of town for the Lutherans. With the coming of the railroads, the town mushroomed. By 1870, it had a thriving population, estimated by some people as close to 10,000 residents with more than 50 stores, 11 churches, and 38 saloons. Following World War I, the bottom fell out of the local mining economy, as the area's chief customers, the U.S. Navy and the Cunard Steamship Line, shifted from coal to oil. Jobs in the community dwindled and employment moved to surrounding industries. Now those factories have closed, and Frostburg's economy is again refocusing. In cooperation with the Allegany Arts Council, the Historic FrostburgFirst Main Street Program, Frostburg State University, Allegany County Tourism and other community stakeholders, the City of Frostburg is embracing a multi-faceted approach to economic development which includes the arts as a valuable tool for community revitalization and the continued development of cultural tourism.
There has always been a strong "artistic presence" in Frostburg--long before there was a formal A&E District. Visual artists have always sought out the light and atmosphere of the mountain community. Many accomplished writers and poets have chosen to make the Frostburg-area their home. Talented students from Frostburg State University's music, theatre and dance departments have often decided to stay in town after graduating. Now, more than ever in its past, there is an increasing number of artists in the community who are collectively fueling the growth of Frostburg's new A&E District. You can learn more about some of the many artists and art-lovers in our community by following the Artful Homes and Artist Registry links on this web site.
In addition a diverse and talented artist population, the Frostburg community also has a number of established cultural venues. These include the Frostburg Museum and Museum Gallery, the Thrasher Carriage Museum, the Frostburg State University Performing Arts Center, Dante’s, General Art Store and Star Gallery, the Frostburg State University Roper Gallery, the Palace Theatre (which has been on Main Street since 1907 and is now a community auditorium), the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing, Spectrum Designs, St. John's Episcopal Church and Gallery, Mountain City Traditional Arts, the Western Maryland Gallery, the Lyric Theatre, and Main Street Books. The Frostburg A&E District also includes a Public Library, the Western terminus of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad at the Old Depot (an 1891 passenger and freight station), and direct access to the Great Allegheny Passage--a nearly 320 mile long trail extending from Pittsburg to Washington D.C. that has become a mecca for hikers and bikers.
The Frostburg A&E District is also home to a variety of restaurants, bars and other retail establishments. The City also hosts a number of special events and activities, including a Farmers Market, the annual Fourth of July Soapbox Derby, the All Aboard Frostburg for the Pirate Express, Cruisin' Main Street Classic Car Cruise-In, the FBPA Crab Feast, a Welcome Back FSU Block Party, the Frostburg Day of Caring and Sharing, the FSU Appalachian Festival, a Halloween Parade, the Story Book Holiday event, and spring and fall Saturday Arts Walks.
In the last 100 years, Frostburg has evolved from a coal-dominated community into a welcoming cultural and artistic center. Frostburg continues to live with its history, to be a place where families put down roots, and where education is of prime importance. While the value of real estate has sky-rocketed around the country, real estate prices in Frostburg have remained fairly constant, allowing for affordable housing at almost any price point. In short, the City of Frostburg offers artists of all types a wonderful opportunity to live, work, create, and grow. Please follow these links for Relocation Incentives and Helpful Contacts, and give us a call or email if you'd like to learn more....