Fountain Rock Lime Kilns - Atlas Obscura

Fountain Rock Lime Kilns

Walkersville, Maryland

A well-preserved quarry and six of eight continuous burning pot kilns used to make burnt lime and crushed stone are highlights of the self-guided walking tour in Fountain Rock Park. 

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Between 1872 and 1955, the lime kilns located in Fountain Rock Park were part of a bustling limestone quarry industry in and around Frederick, Maryland.

Frederick County was home to a rich limestone fault that runs underneath a significant portion of county land, and the Fountain Rock Lime Company was one of many such entities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

During World War II, with labor in short supply, German and Italian POWs were brought by bus to Fountain Rock Park to operate the kilns and quarry. As the industry began to evolve in the 1950s, the kilns were retired and the land was sold and used for other purposes, including watercress and trout farming.

In 1987, Park Naturalist Alice Nemitsas presented an idea to the Frederick County park commissioners to create a park at Fountain Rock to preserve all of the great natural resources and historical artifacts still extant on the land. The proposal was approved, and Fountain Rock Park was cleaned up, with the lands around the kilns being cleared, with pathways and interpretive signage installed to provide context for visitors about the history of the park and the local industries that once flourished there.

A building that had been used by an owner of a trout fishing business on the property was converted into a nature center, and a path and deck were built to provide access to the quarry. A playground, picnic pavilion, and parking lot were also added to round out the park.

The turtle sculpture in the playground is a teaser for the many and varied turtles that can be seen swimming in the stone quarry.

Know Before You Go

The park is open from sunrise until sunset. The kilns can also be seen while riding on the Walkersville Southern Railroad.

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September 22, 2023

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