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Page 12             August 2018                                      The Catoctin Banner Newspaper                                      Published by

           Community news

            Thurmont the Focus of Morning-
            Long Television Event                                                                               McAfee Falls Myster y

               James Rada, Jr.                                                              …or solved?         Becomes A Bit Clearer

                                                          Photo Courtesy of
                                                                                          The reason for the name            Falls State Park. The official name
                                                                                       “Cunningham” being chosen as the      is now McAfee Falls, honoring
                                                                                       name of the Catoctin Area’s local     an old Frederick County family
                                                                                       waterfalls, located west of Thurmont   which settled in the area in 1790.
                                                                                       on Route 77, has become slightly      As a logical follow-up the Forests
                                                                                       clearer recently when following a     and Parks Commission is now
                                                                                       reference from a May 2018 issue       considering renaming the park
                                                                                       of The Frederick News-Post to an      Hunting Creek State Park.”
                                                                                       article from 1968.                       There are several theories about
                                                                                          Historically, the falls had been   how the name Cunningham came
                                                                                       called Herman’s Falls (or Harmon’s    to be the modern name of the
                                                                                       Falls) and McAfee Falls after various   Falls, but none are backed by a
                                                                                       land owners, and even Hunting         substantial amount of fact. Today,
                                                                                       Creek Falls after the stream that     on the internet, it is stated that the
                                                                                       supplies water through the Falls.     falls “was apparently named after
                                                                                          Many locals still refer to the     a photographer from Pen Mar Park
                                                                                       waterfalls as McAfee Falls, honoring   who frequently photographed the
                                                                                       the family who owned the falls at     falls.” Research shows that there is
                                                                                       the time the federal government took   no evidence of a photographer of Pen
                                                                                       ownership of the land in 1935 as part   Mar Park or Cunningham Falls by
            Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird poses with FOX 5 Good Day DC’s Annie Yu and Maureen Umeh at the   of Former President Franklin Delano   the name of Cunningham.
                             filming in Thurmont on the morning of July 13, 2018.      Roosevelt’s New Deal, which sought       In a previous edition of The
                                                                                       to use the land for recreational use   Catoctin Banner, a grandson of the
               Thurmont got its day before the      Hosts Tucker Barnes, Maureen       and provide much-needed jobs in       Falls’ owner at the time of federal
            camera as Good Day DC on FOX          Umeh, and Annie Yu set up their      response to the Great Depression.     acquisition, Reuben McAfee, Rob
            5 in Washington, D.C., spent the      central location at the open field next   The McAfees were early settlers   McAfee of Foxville informed us that
            morning of July 13, 2018, filming     to PNC Bank on East Main Street.     from Bute, Scotland, in the mid-      a local woman believed there was a
            in town. The hosts and crew of the      Some of the other locations        1770s. The name had been changed      Cunningham family who lived near
            television show traveled to Thurmont   and people featured were:           to Cunningham Falls after the         the falls.
            and broadcasted from various          Mechanicstown Park; Gateway          transition of ownership of the land      Most recently, the Frederick
            locations around the town from        Brass Ensemble, directed by Morris   from the federal government to the    News-Post’s “50 Years Ago”
            6:00-11:00 a.m.                       Blake;   Linda Elower, ESP dance     State of Maryland. There is no clarity   reference led us to that May 23,
               “Our whole purpose in              director; Timeless Trends; Eyler     as to how the name Cunningham         1968, article in the News-Post titled,
            participating was to expose           Family Stables; Cunningham Falls     stuck since there have been obvious   “Cunningham Park Falls Renamed
            Thurmont and north county to          State Park; Thurmont Police Chief    efforts and intent on record to keep   ‘McAfee Falls.’” In this article,
            millions of viewers,” said Vickie     Greg Eyler; Mayor John Kinnaird;     the name McAfee Falls.                written by Jim Gilford, the name
            Grinder, economic development         Josh Bollinger, Bollinger’s Family      A May 23, 2018, Frederick          Cunningham is referenced to, “honor
            manager for Thurmont.                 Restaurant; Tony Testa, Rocky’s      News-Post’s “Yesterday” post from     a Department of Interior employee.”
               To be considered for one of the    Pizza; Cindy Grimes, J&B Real        “50 Years Ago” references that,          Researchers still have yet to
            “zip trips,” Grinder had to submit    Estate; Thurmont Little League       “A mistake of more than 30 years      uncover the truth behind the mystery,
            a portfolio of information about      coaches and players; and Sam Feng,   standing (as of May 23, 1968) was     but regardless, thousands of visitors
            Thurmont to FOX 5 last year. It       owner of Simply Asia.                righted recently when Maryland’s      enjoy the falls every year, which is the
            included a list of events, history of   Kinnaird was quizzed on            Commission on Forests and Parks       state of Maryland’s largest cascading
            the town, places to visit, and much   Thurmont trivia, although he was     renamed the falls in Cunningham       waterfall, standing at 78 feet.
            more.                                 given the questions and answers
               “It was a lot, but as a town, we   ahead of time.
            had all these great things to show      “I think I would have scored 100
            them,” explained Grinder.             percent even without the answers,”
               The announcement of the 15 trips   stated Kinnaird.
            was made in May. One location           The eventual hope of Grinder
            is visited each Friday during the     and Kinnaird is that people will see
            summer. Grinder said that to the      the segments about Thurmont and
            best of her knowledge, Thurmont is    decide to visit. The afternoon of
            the smallest town that the crew has   the broadcast, Grinder heard that
            visited. “Thurmont shined just as     someone had seen the show and
            much, if not more than those larger   visited Eyler Family Stables Flea
            places.”                              Market, which was included in a list
               Zip Trips showcase local           of the five stops that visitors need to
            restaurants, schools, and businesses.   make while in Thurmont. Grinder
            They interview members of the         also said that during the weekend
            community who come out to watch       after the broadcast she received five
            the broadcast and host lots of        emails requesting more information
            activities.                           about the town.
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