Tolson’s Chapel On New Geocaching Trail!

Tolson’s Chapel will be one of many interesting historic sites included on the new Washington County GeoTrail.  Here’s the press release from our friends at the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau:

New Washington County GeoTrail to be Launched September 14th; New Trail Consists of 35 Geocaches Throughout County

(Hagerstown, MD) — The Maryland Geocaching Society and The Hagerstown Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) are pleased to announce the launching of the Washington County GeoTrail (WCG). The Trail consists of thirty-five (35) geocaches placed at points of interest all over Washington County.

WCG geocaches can be discovered in National, State, County and Town parks as well as at Museums, Wineries, Historical sites and places of natural beauty. A trackable geocoin will be awarded to the first 500 geocachers who complete the WCG. The Washington County GeoTrail Passport and log book is available online at (Geocachers can click on the passport log book directly at:

Everyone, geocacher or not, is invited to join organizers on Saturday, September 14, 2013 (9:00 am – 3:00 pm) at the West Pavilion in Hagerstown City Park for the launch of this exciting Geocaching adventure.

“Geocaching,” pronounced “geo-cashing,” is a free, interactive outdoor treasure hunt. Participating players seek to locate hidden containers, called “caches” using their smart phone or Global Positioning System (GPS).

Founded in the fall of 2002, the Maryland Geocaching Society (MGS) was among the very first to organize around the adventure and passion of geocaching. Over the years, the Society has welcomed over 3700 members to its website and an array of ever-increasing state-wide activities. These activities include meet-and-greet events and meetings, working closely with state and local agencies to promote geocaching as an earth-friendly pursuit, promote “Cache In Trash Out” programs to assist in the maintenance of parks and trail systems, and promotion of geocaching as an exciting and adventurous outdoor recreation for the whole family.

Since 2002 the Society has fostered fruitful on-going relationships with an imposing array of park, forest, preserve, waterways and trust officials; built bridges to historic, geographic, cultural and public relations interests; and pioneered the Geotrail concept. In recent years, the Society has partnered with the Maryland Municipal League (MML), the Chesapeake Conservancy, Chesapeake Bay Gateways and the National Park Service to create Geotrails that showcase the Old Line State and the Greater Chesapeake Bay region. The two MML trails showcased both well-known and no-so-well-known towns and hamlets from Oakland to Ocean City to North East and southern Maryland. Based on broad strokes in Maryland’s history, both the Star-Spangled Banner and Captain John Smith GeoTours led thousands of geocachers to sites all over the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. For more information, see:

The new Washington County GeoTrail includes caches in many parks, museums, historical sites, and other places, where visitors have the opportunity to explore the many hidden treasures of Maryland. The new trail is sponsored by the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We welcome visitors to come and really see Washington County, from the farthest points west past Sideling Hill and east to South Mountain, and from the Mason-Dixon Line to the Potomac River – this new trail is a wonderful way for geocachers to explore our county,” said Tom Riford, the President and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

According to Dwight Wingert, a Washington County geo-caching enthusiast, “If people are looking for a fun and an interactive way to explore our unique local geography and history, then come and enjoy the journey on the Washington County GeoTrail!”

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing, and expanding the local visitor industry. For more information about Hagerstown-Washington County, see Washington County, Maryland was the first, of 31 counties in the United States, to be named after George Washington. Hagerstown-Washington County is home to five national parks, eight state parks, and over thirty county and city parks. Geocaching has been welcomed in Washington County for several years, and the county has been nicknamed “ground zero” for geocaching enthusiasts.

Coins will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis (mailed from the CVB). One coin per geocaching account. All geocaches are registered on Basic registration membership is free.

Chapel Open July 7th for Sharpsburg 250th

Come visit Tolson’s Chapel, Sunday, July 7th, from 2-4 pm, during the celebration of the Town of Sharpsburg’s 250th anniversary.  Sharpsburg was founded in 1763 by Joseph Chapline, who platted the town into 1/2 acre lots.  From the earliest years, African Americans, both enslaved and free, were a part of Sharpsburg town fabric, laboring on nearby farms, in town homes and businesses.  Tolson’s Chapel was erected in 1866 on the west half of Lot 104, at that time owned by Samuel Craig, a free African American and among the first trustees of the Sharpsburg Colored Methodist Episcopal Church.

Cemetery Preservation Report posted!

Funded by the State of Maryland’s African American Heritage Preservation Fund, the Friends of Tolson’s Chapel contracted the Chicora Foundation to prepare a preservation plan for the cemetery, provide a stone-by-stone condition assessment, and a map of the cemetery including Ground Penetrating Radar to locate unmarked graves.  Check the Cemetery page to access a full copy of this very thorough report.

Watch for our Donor Party Open House announcement coming soon!

Save the date!

The Friends of Tolson’s Chapel and the Antietam National Battlefield are collaborating on a symposium to be held on Antietam National Battlefield April 28, 2012.  The event, entitled “The Dignity of Freedom: Pathways through the Civil War and Beyond”, will be part of the 2012 observance of the 150th anniversary year of the Battle of Antietam.  The series of speakers will begin with a view of African-American slavery and emancipation from a national perspective and the border state experience, highlight the significance of the Antietam battle and the Emancipation Proclamation, USCT participation in the Civil War.  Symposium attendees will finish out the day at Tolson’s Chapel with a presentation putting a human face to it all with the Civil War and Reconstruction-era experiences of the African-American congregation of Tolson’s Chapel in Sharpsburg.

This program is made possible by a grant from the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, a certified heritage area of the Maryland Heritage Area Authority; with additional funds from the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Western Maryland Interpretive Association.