Thurmont is a historic town that was was founded in 1751 as the Town of Mechanicstown. It is located in the north of Frederick County, only a few minutes from the Pennsylvania border. It has earned the nickname of “Gateway to the Mountains” because it is so close to the Appalachian mountains. Thurmont is close to Catoctin Mountain Park, which contains Camp David, and Cunningham Falls State Park.

If you visit Thurmont, it is hard to imagine that the mountains were almost bare just eighty years ago. From the late 1700s to 1930s, the trees around Thurmont were cut down to be made into charcoal. This charcoal was burned at the Catoctin Furnance to produce pig iron from hematite. During the Great Depression, the land around Catoctin Mountain was made into parks. Today, the only signs of iron production are the Catoctin Furnace and obsidian on trails near the furnace.