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Olney Landmarks

Read all about the Town of Olney Below

Enjoy the Prints and Holiday Ornaments in the
GALLERY LANDMARKS COLLECTION

Title: The Olney Drug Store

The Olney Drug Store

OLNEY DRUGS, known also as "Doc Berlin's", stood on the northwest corner of Georgia and Route 108 until its destruction to make way for the intersection in 1978. Photographs circa 1900 show it labeled with a sign reading "Mrs. Hoyle´s Boarding House." It later housed a general store and sundry shop for women. Generations of people born and raised in Olney socialized at the soda fountain and lunch counter in this favorite gathering spot.
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Olney, Maryland

Olney no longer resembles the sleepy rural crossroads village of the 1700s, originally known as Mechanicsville. In those days, farming was the primary occupation of the villagers, and roads were carved through the countryside for farmers to haul produce to market by horse-drawn wagon. The villages surrounding Olney prospered by comparison.
Today the town thrives. It is a bedroom community to both Washington DC and Baltimore by virtue of its location with almost 9,000 households. It is exactly 18 miles north of the United States Capitol Building, and about one hour driving time by auto from both cities. Olney is not incorporated.

Olney History, Heritage, Memories, and Local Landmarks

The Olney Historic Landmark Print Collection

Open edition prints by Barbara Hails feature historic landmark buildings of Olney, some still gracing the town, and others just a gentle memory. The 5" x 8" images are available either in black and white or color and come in presentation mats with an outside dimension of 9" x 12", framed, or loose.

Murphy's Tin Smith Shop

MURPHY's TIN SMITH SHOP opened for business in 1885 at the southwest corner of Georgia Avenue and Olney-Laytonsville Road. The tin smith was an essential part of the community, being responsible for the installation and maintenance of the tin roofs of the buildings in the town and countryside. In 1978, the rambling structure was taken down to make for way for the widening of the intersection.
Murphy's Tin Smith Shop
Title: Murphy's Tin Smith Shop

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Title:  The Olney Food Store & Freezer Plant

The Olney Food Store & Freezer Plant

THE OLNEY FOOD STORE & FREEZER PLANT stood on the southeast corner of Georgia Avenue and Olney-Sandy Spring Road. It was operated by Mr. Hawkins as a District Grocery Store from 1934 until 1978.

In the early 1900s until 1912, the building was Olney Grange No. 7 where farmers met on the second Tuesday afternoon of the month to share agricultural ideas, hear lectures, and plan cooperative buying. Home to dances and meetings, it was a social and political hub of Olney Life. In the drawing, it is pictured on a typical sultry summer afternoon.
Title: The Olney Food Store & Freezer Plant
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The Olney House

OLNEY HOUSE (originally known as "Little Olney") was the area home for the Farquhar Family in which Granville Farquhar was born and raised, built circa 1800. The town of Olney takes its name from this historic structure. Drawn in dappled sunshine from an unusual vantage point, Olney House appears as it has been known and loved for almost two centuries.
Title:  The Olney House
Title: The Olney House
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Title:  The Olney Inn Barn

The Olney Inn Barn

THE OLNEY INN BARN-When Granville Farquhar married in 1875, he moved south of Olney House to the farmhouse he built and named Mt. Olney on Georgia Avenue. The building was constructed of timbers from the surrounding forest over 150 years ago. It was used as a storehouse for the produce of the original Quaker community. It used mortise and tenon construction with 12" solid oak timbers. The handsome floors on the lowest stable level were set with cobblestones.

In 1926, the main house was purchased by Clara May Downey, becoming the famous Olney Inn. The barn building adjacent to it (pictured here) later became an antiques and gift shop. The Inn burned due to arson in 1978, but the barn remained until razed make way for construction of the Sandy Spring Bank Building at that location in 1984.
Title: The Olney Inn Barn
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Title: The Olney Mill Title: The Olney Mill
Title: The Olney Mill I Title: The Olney Mill I II

The Olney Mill

OLNEY MILL is a recent stone mill replica marking the entrance to the community of Olney Mill on Olney-Laytonsville Road. The structure is a favorite attraction for children. Traditionally, it is a gathering place at Christmastime for Carols and a neighborhood tree lighting.
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Title:  St. John's Episcopal Church

St. John's Episcopal Church

SAINT JOHN´S EPISCOPAL CHURCH was founded in Olney in 1842 and in 1910 rolled on logs to its present site near Olney-Laytonsville Road. The drawing catches it in early spring surrounded by Cherry blossoms.
Title: St. John's Episcopal Church
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Title:  The Olney Ale House Title:  The Olney Ale House
Title: The Olney Ale House I Title: The Olney Ale House II with Beer Garden

The Olney Ale House

Originally known as the Corner Cupboard when operated by the Richard Thomas Family, the OLNEY ALE HOUSE stands at 2000 Olney-Sandy Spring Road at the junction with Dr. Bird Road. It was named for the two hardwood maple cupboards that were made of trees from Tridelphia. They flank the prominent stone fireplace in the main room. Starting in 1926 as a single room building, over the years it expanded to include extra wings and a second story.

The Ale House was operated for several decades by Anita Virkas, who made it famous for hearty home baked herb breads, beef, and vegetarian stews. In recent years, owner John Roach added a canopied beer garden for country air dining. Its popularity for excellent food in a relaxed atmosphere remains undiminished.
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Title:  The Olney Theatre I Title:  The Olney Theatre II
Title: The Olney Theatre I Title: The Olney Theatre II

The Olney Theatre

OLNEY THEATRE opened in 1942. It featured national stars like Tallulah Bankhead and Gloria Swanson, and was designated the State Theater of Maryland. Today, the newly renovated, world class Olney Theatre presents top form professional live performances to enthusiastic audiences. Many new productions debut in Olney before heading for Broadway in New York.
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Finneyfrock's Blacksmith Shop

FINNEYFROCK'S Blacksmithy with its forge was built in 1885, and though it was replaced in 1978 by a brick building, the business continued to be operated by the Finneyfrock family in the same location on Georgia Avenue until 2004.
Title:  Finneyfrock's Blacksmith Shop
Title: Finneyfrock's Blacksmith Shop

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Time Line
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Martins Dairy
& Silo Inn

Olney, Maryland
Martins Dairy & Silo Inn - 2008 Olney Ornament
Click HERE to See the Complete Annual Olney Holiday Ornament Collection

Olney's 2008 Annual Holiday Ornament features MARTINS DAIRY, a favorite historic landmark, that also eventually served as the site of the SILO INN. Generations of children from Washington, Silver Spring, Rockville, and Olney have fond memories of delicious ice cream served fresh and ice cold at the Dairy. The ornament is the 15th in a series available through Hails Art Gallery at 18319 Georgia Ave. in Olney.


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Olney Theatre
Actors´s Residence

Olney, Maryland
Olney Theatre Actors´s Residence - 2007 Olney Ornament

The 14th Annual Design in the Olney Series shows Olney Theatre Actors´ Residence, a graceful, historic building dating from 1900. Her elegance is captured on the 2007 Annual Olney Holiday Ornament.

Originally the Davis home, in 1941, the house was "surrounded by commodious porches" and became a restaurant serving Theatre patrons. Then in 1946, it was converted to the Actors' Residence where it housed celebrities too numerous to list, including Helen Hayes, Basil Rathbone, Jose Ferrer, and Burl Ives. Today, the building still serves the community as part of the renovated Olney Theatre complex, the Official State Summer Theater of Maryland.


Company 40
Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department

Olney, Maryland
SSVFD - 2006 Olney Ornament
The 13th Annual Design in the Olney Series shows Santa Claus waving from a fire truck in front of Company 40 of Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department, located on 16911 Georgia Avenue. Every holiday season, Santa cruises through Olney neighborhoods ho-ho-ho-ing and ringing the fire bell. The bright, cheerful image on the 2006 Olney Ornament immortalizes this memory for generations of youngsters who have enjoyed his visits.

Murphy's Tin Shop

On the crossroads southwest corner in the heart of Olney
Murphy's Tin Shop - 2005 Olney Ornament
The 12th Annual Design in the Olney Series features Murphy´s Tin Shop, formerly located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Sandy Spring-Laytonsville Road. Mr. Murphy, the Smith, performed an important service to the community, making the tin roofs that graced local buildings. You may see many in the area that remain in service today. The 2005 Olney Ornament captures the Tin Shop made lovely in snow.
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The Morris House
Also known as The Berry-Mackall House

Olney, Maryland
Morris House - 2004 Olney Ornament
The Morris House is likely the loveliest existing historic landmark remaining in Olney. Originally called the Berry-Mackall House, sources say it dates from 1853.
The Morris family is said to be the fourth owner of the picturesque house, located at 17017 Georgia Avenue near the fire station. It is particularly breathtaking in winter after a snowfall, when sparkling with lights and decked out in greens for the holiday season. It has been known as the Morris House since 1943.
Early owner Mr. Robert McGill Mackall, a Confederate, was a member of Beauregard's Rifles and Mosby's Raiders during the Civil War. On June 28, 1863, Gen. J.E.B. Stuart passed in front of the house through Olney (known then as Mechanicsville) on his way to Gettysburg after "liberating" horses and 125 provisioned wagons in Rockville. Tradition has it that Confederate soldiers under General Jubal Early stayed in the home, possibly during a retreat from an attack on Washington in July 1864.
The following is directly quoted from a HISTORY OF THE BERRY/MACKALL HOUSE, a distributed typewritten flyer (authorship unknown, not dated, no copyright notice)

This four bay by four bay, two and a half story house faces northwest on Georgia Avenue in Olney, Maryland. The original log house faced northeast and was one and a half stories high; it was built about 1846. The northwest section was built about 1893 and faces northwest. The house has white clapboarding. There is a porch on the northwest elevation that wraps around to the southwest and northeast elevations. It has a shed roof supported by seven wooden columns. The house has six-over-six double-hung windows flanked by gray, wooden louvered shutters. The gable roof has red raised seam metal covering.

This charming mid-19th century farm house stands on land owned by the Berry family from the late 1700's until 1868. Richard Berry left 989 acres to his children in 1807. Deborah D. Berry (Burgess) and Elisha. Elisha's son and namesake is believed to have built the house between and 1857. He increased his holdings until 1869 when he sold the house and 115 acres to Robert M.(McGill) Mackall and Robert T. McGill. Mackall, a farmer and merchant remained in the Berry House for 30 years. After several intermediary owners the Berry-Mackall house was purchased by Mr. David G. and Katherine Morris in 1943.

This house stands on land which came into the Berry family in the late 1700's which consisted of only 67 acres known as "Pig Park", and an additional 282 acres known as "Shepherd's Hard Fortune'' which was purchased from Thomas Owen. Over the years Berry added more land to his holdings until he had a total of 989 acres in 1807. At his death in 1819 he left "Pig Park", to his daughter Deborah D. Berry (Burgess). His son Elisha, was to get "Shepherd's Hard Fortune" and part of "Charles and Benjamin." Because of an equity suit charging Elisha Berry with misadministration of the will, Elisha's property came into the hands of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank of Georgetown. Eventually Deborah purchased 250 acres of the property from the bank. When she died in 1852, her property, totaling 364 acres, was divided between her four nephews, children of Elisha Berry.

The house Mrs. Burgess had lived in went to one nephew, William R. Berry, and the 91 acres of land on which the present house stands went to another nephew, Elisha Berry. Elisha is believed to have built the house between 1853 and 1857. He increased his holdings with additional plots purchased from his brothers until 1868 when he sold the house and 114 3/4 acres to Robert M.(McGill) Mackall and Robert T. McGill for $11,253.

Mr. Mackall, who had been a member of Mosby's Confederate Raiders during the Civil War, was a farmer and merchant. He remained in the Berry House nearly 30 years, selling to trustees for George F. Cook in 1896. After several intermediary owners, the Berry-Mackall house was purchased by Mr. David G. and Katherine Morris in 1943. (Katherine Morris died in 1992 at the age of 96.) Mrs. Mary Morris still lives in the unusual, two story, clapboard house.
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About The Olney Ornament Collection

1994 marked the debut of the First Annual Olney Holiday Ornament in a new collection featuring landmarks of the town. Every year a different historic site is featured. The ornament comes gift boxed. It is available for purchase in person at Hails Art Gallery in Olney, or online by clicking the BARBARA HAILS Online Store button at the top of the page.

The Complete Collection of
Historic Olney Landmark Holiday Ornaments


To Order Online, click the BARBARA HAILS Online Store button at the top of any page.
To Order by Phone, call toll-free 800-451-6411.
Purchase in Person at Hails Art Gallery.
2013 Olney Welcome - An 2012 Hails Gallery - Clark Farmhouse
2013 Olney Welcome 2012 Hails Gallery
2011 Oakley Cabin 2010 Sandy Spring Bank 2009 Olney Theatre Center
2011 Oakley Cabin 2010 Sandy Spring Bank 2009 Olney Theatre Center
2008 Martins Dairy 2007 Actors' Residence 2006 Sandy Spring Fire Dept.
2008 Martins Dairy 2007 Actors' Residence 2006 Sandy Spring Fire Dept.
2005 Murphy's Tin Shop 2004 Morris House 2003 Olney Food Store
2005 Murphy's Tin Shop 2004 Morris House 2003 Olney Food Store
2002 Montgomery General Hospital 2001 Finneyfrock's Blacksmith Shop 2000 Olney Post Office
2002 Montgomery General Hospital 2001 Finneyfrock's Blacksmith Shop 2000 Olney Post Office
1999 Olney Drug Store 1998 Olney Inn 1997 Olney House
1999 Olney Drug Store 1998 Olney Inn 1997 Olney House
1996 Olney Theatre 1995 Olney Ale House 1994 Olney Mill
1996 Olney Theatre 1995 Olney Ale House 1994 Olney Mill



Further historic information may be obtained from:
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