U.S. 40’s history can be traced back several centuries. Several well established Native American footpaths followed similar alignments to U.S. 40. U.S. Route 40 in Frederick is part of the National Historic Road which was built between 1811 and 1834 to reach the western settlements. It was the first federally funded road in U.S. history. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson believed that a trans-Appalachian road was necessary for unifying the young country. The State of Maryland established a network of turnpikes for long-distance travel. Three of these would later serve as part of U.S. 40: the Baltimore and Havre de Grace Turnpike, the Baltimore and Frederick Turnpike, and Bank Road.
At one time, U.S. 40 ran 3,157 miles from Atlantic City to San Francisco, traversing the midsection of the United States. When the Interstate Highway system came along, many western sections of U.S. 40 were decommissioned. Today, U.S. 40’s official western terminus is at Silver Creek Junction, Utah, about 50 miles east of Salt Lake City.
The first sign of development along this corridor was the construction of Linden Hills (1930’s). Then in 1950 the State Police Barracks moved to Route 40 and Baughmans Lane. Then in the 1960’s the Barbara Fritchie Restaurant (1960) was constructed; with the Holiday Inn (1963), and the Red Horse Hotel and Restaurant (1968) were located and constructed at the intersection of Route 40 and Baughmans Lane and Linden Avenue. With the completion of US 15 in the late 1950’s, these two hotels were poised to take advantage of this strategic location. In 1967 the Board of Aldermen approved the annexation of 2,498 acres that expanded the municipal boundaries to include the areas from Butterfly Lane to the south, Old Camp Road to the west, Shookstown Road to the north and U.S. 15 to the east. This area still defines Golden Mile to this day.
During the mid-1970’s, the two mile section of U.S. 40 considered the Golden Mile, underwent significant growth and development transforming from a once sleepy two lane State Highway to an important economic engine and a major commuter route within The City of Frederick.
The real economic boom occurred in the early 1970’s. The following shopping destinations opened for business:
1972 – Frederick Towne Mall
1972 – Frederick Shoppers World shopping center
1973 – Movie Theatres on Baughman’s Lane
Since the 1970’s, the Golden Mile has continued to grow despite the ebb and flow of the economy and remains a busy commercial area. The Golden Mile makes up over 50% of the commercial land within The City of Frederick. Therefore, it is important to the City and Golden Mile residents & businesses to ensure that this area is an active and successful shopping destination. Commerce on the Golden Mile is varied, it’s opportunities are endless, and should reflect the international flavor of the current residents and business.
The Golden Mile Small Area Plan is an ambitious vision for the future of this important economic engine in The City of Frederick. This vision and hope for the future must be rooted in reality so that the public will embrace the Plan and work to bring it to fruition. Improvement and change will not appear overnight; it will be incremental; more obvious in larger projects but less visable with small improvements.
To that end, the Golden Mile Alliance was formed. This group, made up of property owners, business owners and residents, strives to provide direction and guidance for the implementation of the Golden Mile Small Area Plan. Furthermore, this group will be able to seek additional funding opportunities for improvements and events as well as provide a valuable link to the community as a whole.
The design and redevelopment of the Golden Mile is framed and organized by the following principles: Walkable, Connected, Vibrant, Safe, Complete, Attractive, and Sustainable. These seven principles embody the core values for redevelopment of the Golden Mile and will direct development review of future projects, both public and private.
The Golden Mile Small Area Plan talks about the Golden Mile having a “sense of place” but what does that mean? The National Trust for Historic Preservation says: “those things that add up to a feeling that a community is a special place, distinct from anywhere else.” Well known geographer J.B. Jackson adds: “it is place, permanent position in both the social and topographical sense, that gives us our identity.” It is vitally important for the Golden Mile to achieve a sense of place in order to remain sustainable.
Tying the adjacent residential community to the Golden Mile is another key component of establishing a sense of place. Imagine a network of walking trails and bike paths that will allow you to take in a free concert or enjoy public art without having to drive your car. Or driving a car to one part of the Golden Mile to eat dinner and then wanting to stroll the Golden Mile past architecturally interesting buildings, and window shop on the way to find desert. That is the feeling the Golden Mile Small Area Plan is trying to create with respect to a sense of place.
Explore the Golden Mile Small Area Plan HERE.