What’s In a Name? by Laurie Verge

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Ever wonder where road names come from?  Floral Park Road got its name from a small restaurant named that.  Around the 1930s or before, Floral Park Tea Room was in business where Floral Park now meets Brandywine Road.

What about Danville Road?  Its original name was Dansville because it went to a small village and a store run by a Mr. Dans.  The store sat where Accokeek Road, Danville Road, and Springfield Road all come together.  Nearby McKendree Road, of course, got its name from the small Methodist church of that name.  The graveyard of the church still exists, but the church was demolished many years ago.

This website shows a photo of the water lily pond that lies adjacent to Brandywine Road, a short distance from the Brandywine VFD.  Those plants were started there by one of the first environmentalists in the area.  Mrs. Etta Babcock, whose family lived on Floral Park Road, loved flora and fauna and took advantage of the marshy pond on Brandywine Road to spread some water lily plants.

Near the pond is Tower Road.  Does anyone remember the fire tower that used to stand where this road intersects with Brandywine Road?  Forest fires were a real danger in our area for years.

What about Moore’s Road?  It’s named after the prominent Moore family whose descendants still reside in the area.  Meadows Farm outlet sits on part of the property.  During the Korean War, a fighter jet crashed on the property now encompassed by Meadows Farm.

Dyson Road has only become Dyson Road in recent memory.  It was originally named Gwynn Park Road because it ran to the 1857 brick manor house of that name.  Shortly after the Civil War, Joseph Eli Huntt of T.B. took ownership of the Gwynn Park farm; and it eventually was given to one of his daughters, who married a Dyson – hence the name change.  A cousin of that Dyson family was the one who ran the first Dyson’s Store in T.B. (which no longer exists).  The current store bearing that name was built in the 1950s.

Brandywine Road’s first name was New Cut Road when it was constructed in 1850 as the first direct north-south route out of Washington into the lower counties of Southern Maryland (which were then the economic base of the state).  It later became known as the T.B. Road – or Tee Bee Road on some maps.  This designation was known to have been used as a secret sign and countersign during the Civil War.  The road was also the stage route that ran from D.C. to Leonardtown and back six days a week – three days down and the alternating three days back.  By the 1920s, the road was paved and became Maryland Route 5 until the new dual-lane highway was put through in the 1950s.

As you travel from T.B. to McKendree Cemetery via Accokeek Road, you will pass a ca. 1960 subdivision named Pleasant Springs.  The name originated with an early plantation on the land owned by Andrew Jackson Gwynn.  It is believed that the home was burned by a slave during the Civil War – paid to do so by Union officers because the home was being used as a safe house for Confederate spies and couriers, and Mr. Gwynn was away fighting for the Confederacy.

Almost directly across from Pleasant Springs was the plantation of a Martin family.  It became much better known during the 1920s and 30s, however, as a wonderful dairy farm run by the family of John Deere heiress, Mrs. William Butterworth, as a country retreat.  They restored the old home, dredged out a natural lake area, and surrounded the lake with Japanese cherry trees to rival those around the Tidal Basin.  Today, there is very little left of what was a beautiful farm until the 1950s, when Washington Gas bought it – first to store gas underground (which didn’t work) and then to build Brandywood Estates there (another failed project).

The building that we now know as Three Roads Liquors was known as Duley’s Bar until the 1970s.  It stood on the site of an early livery stable across from the T.B. Hotel, which played a role in Civil War history and the Lincoln conspiracy.  A small trailer behind Duley’s Bar became the site of a 1950s murder in T.B.

What is now the New York Deli was built in 1867 as a general store.  Its first name was The People’s Store, and it was in business under just two families until the 1950s.  It has had a number of uses after that.  The small house that now contains a dining area for the Deli was started in the 1870s as a casket shop.

And finally, one should know that Missouri Avenue, which connects to Brandywine Road in front of the Brandywine Elementary School, was designated as one of many roads that were planned for the railroad metropolis of Brandywine City when the railroad came through in the 1870s.  As we know now, that metropolis never came to be.

Sent to

by Laurie Verge
Director, Surratt House Museum
Department of Parks & Recreation
The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission
9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton, MD 20735

on September 12, 2014