Wayne County is known for many things: jazz music, cruise control, the Overbeck sisters, and tin. I could go on. All of this innovation came from people that lived in our communities across the county. And before we had full-fledged neighborhoods and subdivisions, our communities were centered around a Main Street.
It was where people did their grocery shopping.
It was where the stagecoaches dropped off and picked up passengers.
Where moms bought their kids school supplies for the new school year.
And it was where people did their most important business transactions.
Then the times changed. Progress happened and many of things that happened on the Main Streets moved to different parts of the communities.
Grocery stores became their own buildings.
Malls and superstores took the shopping.
Restaurants and hotels closed up.
The Main Streets suffered. Our communities also suffered. Collectively, we began to forget the important role the Main Streets had in creating community, a sense of place, a sense of pride, and more importantly, history. But Forward Wayne County’s Main Street Coalition, as well as other key stakeholders, are striving to make Main Streets a place you want to be again.
Fortunately, for our communities and residents, the local historians didn’t forget. They are the keepers of history and the ones that know the importance of the buildings on the Main Streets. Forward Wayne County, the Main Street Coalition, and the Richmond-Wayne County Convention & Tourism Bureau were lucky enough to work with them on a fun and creative tourism trail with them. It’s called Mystery on Main and highlights some neat buildings across the county.
We could have listened to these historians for hours as they shared the history of the buildings; the architecture; and what important things happened in the buildings on Main Streets. To be honest, we still might do that.
Back to this tourism trail. Mystery on Main will take participants on an adventure across four Main Streets in Cambridge City, Centerville, Hagerstown, and Richmond. Those looking to complete the trail will visit five buildings in each community (20 total) in order to crack the case. Brochures can be picked up at the Tourism Bureau or one of the public libraries in Cambridge City, Centerville, Hagerstown, or Richmond.
From there, participants will travel across Wayne County to each of the locations in the brochures. At each building, a sign with a QR code will be displayed in a window, doorway, or on a yard sign. Scanning these QR codes will direct individuals to a web page that contains a historical account of the building, as well as the answer needed to solve the Mystery on Main.
Who can do this trail? Anyone with a cell phone. It’s as simple as opening your camera to scan the QR code. There is no cost. Once you have cracked the case, take your answer back to the Tourism bureau for a small prize.
Make it a family affair. Take a friend. Bring your spouse. Make this your first date. Gather a church group. Create an educational opportunity for students. Bring the dog or the cat (if it will walk on leash). Heck, bring them both.
This trail can be done in a day or over the course of a few days. While you are in each community, check out the shops, grab a bite to eat, and see all the fun things Wayne County has to offer.
Joe Smith, historian for Hagerstown said it best. “Communities are the backbone of our Nation. Whether it be communities in large cities or communities in small towns, communities give us a sense of belonging. The Mystery on Main tour is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to learn from the past stories of buildings and people.”
Go get a brochure and happy sleuthing!