Middlebrook Road is a thoroughfare that just about everyone in Germantown has traveled. Did you ever wonder where the name comes from and what it means?
Middlebrook was an actual town on Frederick Road (Route 355) that predates Germantown by about 50 years and people in Germantown had to go there to get their mail for many years.
In fact, Middlebrook Road did not appear until the early 20th century, and only went from Germantown Road to Frederick Road, and it was about a half mile north of the actual town of Middlebrook.
The Dawn of Middlebrook
The story of Middlebrook begins in the 1790s, with Abraham Faw.
Faw built a gristmill on Seneca Creek at Frederick Road. By 1795, the mill had four pairs of grinding stones and was doing brisk business grinding wheat into flour and corn into meal for the local farmers. Faw also built a saw mill nearby. The mills used the flow of creek water for power.
James McCubbin Lingan purchased the mills in 1797. On the high ground to the north of the mills, a town emerged with a tavern, blacksmith shop and store. Lingan named the town Middlebrook after a Revolutionary War battle in which he took part.
The mills were sold to Col. John Tayloe in 1827. Germantown was in its early days, forming at the crossroads of Germantown and Clopper Roads in the 1840s. People travelled present-day Waring Station Road to Middlebrook Mills to collect their mail until Germantown got its own post office in 1873.
Welcome to Middlebrook. Population: 30
An account written in 1880 describes Middlebrook as having a population of 30, with land going for $10 to $20 an acre and producing wheat, corn, oats, hay, potatoes and tobacco. The miller at that time was Leonard Buxton. The postmaster and owner of the general store was George Clements, blacksmith Peter Smith, carpenters William Easton and Thomas Trail.
Besides the businesses, George Clements, A.B. Ritenour, William Buxton and E.G. Ward had houses along the east side of the road, and James Rabbitt owned three houses on the west side of the road.
Farther off on the west side were the farms of James Gloyd and of William Ricketts, and on the east side was the farm of Johnson Benson. The Ricketts and Gloyd families had family burial plots that are still in existence in the woods.
Today the space formerly occupied by Middlebrook boasts a gas station, Captain Mori’s Seafood Restaurant (formerly the Middlebrook Inn), several residences, and the last trailer park in Montgomery County. Down by Seneca Creek at the parking area for hikers on Seneca Greenway Trail there is a historic marker for Middlebrook Mills.