Poolesville is an historic, rural community in Montgomery County Maryland
roughly 33 miles northwest of Washington, D.C.
John and Joseph Poole, Sr. came from Anne Arundel County
after buying a 160-acre tract of land from Charles Hoskinson, who had owned 498 acres of land since 1759
. John Poole named his land "Poole's Rectification" then divided it, giving 70 acres to his brother. After resurveying the land, John named his tract "Poole's Right" and Joseph renamed his to "Poole's Hazzard".
, John Poole, Jr. built a log cabin (the first building in Poolesville) on land given to him by his father on which he opened a store. In 1810
the store became the first Post Office
and was run by a store clerk named Dennis Lackland. After John Poole, Jr. married, he sold the store to Dennis Lackland and moved to Barnesville
. Under Dennis Lackland the store and land was soon foreclosed
upon, bought by his brother in-law, and sold in small parcels.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
was built in 1824
and was the main mode of transportation
for the entire area. Local farmers made use of the canal
to transport harvests to Georgetown
and to get supplies of seed
. The canal was made obsolete in the early 1900
s by the railroad
(there was a railroad station in Germantown
, but it was further than the ferry and didn't modernize to efficiently handle harvested crops until 1888
During the Civil War
, most of the able-bodied men of Poolesville crossed the river and joined fought for the Confederacy
. Poolesville was occupied variously by both Union
Poolesville was incorporated into the state of Maryland
(Chapter 174, Acts of 1867).
The historic buildings of Poolesville
- John Poole House: 1793.
- Frederick Poole House: 1820.
- "1785 House": 1828. The name is a mystery. Built for Richard Poole.
- Hersperger House: 1828.
- Jamison Building: 1830. Built by Thomas Hall
- J. Hall/William Poole House: 1832. A Boarding house for teachers.
- Dr. Thomas Poole House 1835. A wing was added in 1870 by Dr. Richard and Alice (Poole) Gott who used it for a doctor’s office.
1990 census: 3,796
2000 census: 5,151
The Poolesville of today is still a small community, but it is a community of comparative wealth. Home prices are high compared to much of the rest of the county. This is largely due to the rural nature of the town despite its proximity to larger cities, such as Rockville
, and Washington, DC
. The Capital Beltway
is only 15 miles away. Poolesville is doing it's best to maintain it's rural
appeal by careful zoning
. Outlaying land may not have more than one house per 25 acres of land to preserve the agriculture
of the area.
Until the late 1980
s, Poolesville was not served by public transportation
. The local county "Ride-On" buses began offering service to Poolesville, but ridership was so small that the routes were cancelled. Recently, bus
service through Ride-On has started again, and bus #76 makes a circuit of Poolesville before heading to the nearest metro station, in Shady Grove
Sites to See
- The John Poole House: The first structure in town still stands, and can be visited. It houses a small store, an art studio, and the office of the Historic Medley District.
- Seneca Schoolhouse Museum: The Seneca Schoolhouse was built in 1865 by Upton Darby about five miles south of town. Although the school was closed in 1910, it is now a museum run by Historic Medley District.
- White's Ferry: Just six miles west of Poolesville on White's Ferry Road, it is the only ferry (called the "General Jubal A. Early") still operating on the Potomac River. The ferry ride into Virginia is pretty and is only $1 if you don't bring your car. You may also park here and walk or bike the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal or rent a canoe and boat the river.
- Kunzang Palyul Choling, a Center for Meditation & Learning in the Tebetan Buddhist Tradition: 18400 River Road. The temple itself is a site to behold, both inside and out. Visitors are always warmly welcomed. In addition to the temple and the surrounding grounds, they have extensive gardens and shrines running throughout the woods on the other side of River Road. Trails can be seen from the roadside that lead to the many hidden treasures there.
- Meadowlark Inn: Built as a house in the mid 1800s by Samuel Cator. In the 1960s this became a restaurant, and is now very popular with the local fox-hunting crowd.
- Town Hall: Built in 1908 as a bank. Was deeded to the town and turn into town hall in 1967.
- Poolesville Elementary School: 19565 Fisher Avenue. Built in 1960. Head Start through Grade Five.
- John Poole Middle School: 17014 Tom Fox Avenue. Built in 1997. Grades six through eight.
- Poolesville High School: 17501 Willard Road. Built in 1906 and continually expanded over the years. Grades nine through twelve.
- Jerusalem Baptist Church: Jerusalem Road.
- Poolesville Baptist Church: West Willard Road and Wootton Ave.
- Our Lady of the Presentation Catholic: 17230 Tom Fox Ave.
- St. Peter's Episcopal: 20100 Fisher Ave. Built in 1846 by Franklin Viers, and is the oldest church in Poolesville.
- Kunzang Palyul Choling, a Center for Meditation & Learning in the Tebetan Buddhist Tradition: 18400 River Road.
- Elijah United Methodist Church: 18401 Beallsville Road.
- Memorial United Methodist Church: 17821 Elgin Road. The first church was built in 1826, which is now the thrift store. The church in its current location was originally built in 1893 and rebuilt in 1916. This church's congregation split during the Civil War over southern versus northern sympathies.
- Quaker Worship Group of Seneca Valley: Kerr Fellowship Hall, White Ground Road.
- Poolesville Presbyterian Church: 17800 Elgin Road. Built in 1847. During the Civil War, this church was used as a hospital in the Battle of Ball's Bluff. In December 1862, union soldiers worshipping here were captured.
On a more personal note...
I love Poolesville. As out of the way and boring as it seemed as a teenager, these attributes now seem to be alluring. I miss living in a small community, and having the smell of fresh, almost overripe, peaches blowing in from the orchards.
- Homestead Farm: Owned by the Allnut family, this large farm on the outskirts of town has produce for the picking during almost all of the warm days of the year. In spring, there are strawberries, into summer there are sour cherries, blackberries, veggies, peaches and nectarines, raspberries and apples. In fall, there is a corn maze, hayrides, and pumpkin patches.
- Halmos Park: Bodmer Avenue from Hoskinson Road to Hughes Road. 15 Acres. Tennis and basketball courts, baseball and softball fields, soccer and football fields, concession stand, picnic tables, grills and bathrooms.
- L.M. Stevens Park: Off Seneca Chase Park Road. 7.5 Acres. Soccer and baseball fields, basketball court, playground, concession stand, picnic tables, and tot lot.
- Collier Circle Park: Between Collier and Dowden Circles, next to Dry Seneca Creek. 4 Acres. Open space and a stocked fishing pond.
- Campbell Park: south corner of Wootton and Fisher Avenues. 2 Acres. Picnic Pavilion, volleyball court and horse shoe pits.
- County Swimming Pool: On the north side of Fisher Avenue heading west from the Town Center. Lap pool, recreation pool, kiddy pool, bathhouse.
- Poolesville Golf Course & Golf Shop: 16601 W. Willard Road.
- Isaak Walton League: 20601 Izaak Walton Way (off West Willard Road). Picnic areas, trap and skeet ranges, rifle, pistol, and archery ranges, and a stocked fishing area.
Since my mother moved to Pennsylvania a few years back, I have no more ties to Poolesville. I still go, making use of any plausible excuse, including a desire for a fresh peach milkshake, seeing a yardsale advertisement, or as a way to get to Virginia using the ferry. Everytime I pass through I drive by the houses in which I've lived and the schools and churches I've attended. Every year in October I try to get to Poolesville Day, which is a celebration held in the town commons with food, arts and crafts, and a parade.
Schools and churches: http://www.poolesville.com
Census Information: http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/mdmanual/37mun/poolesville/html/p.html
Recreation Information: http://ci.poolesville.md.us/parks.htm
A note about the jousting tournament (and movie) mentioned in the writeup below: this tournament has taken place for each of the last 125 summers, in Barnesville on the grounds of St. Mary's Catholic church. Barnesville is a ten minute drive through some of the most rural parts of the county.