The first major commercial coal mining operation opened in Bloomington as far back as 1876. Coal slowly replaced lumber as the county’s primary commodity for shipment and coal mining towns were created. Many of the older milling towns would become coal towns such as Kitzmiller. “Coal was a dominant economic force, powering the nation’s growing industrial base through the early 1900s.” In particular, Kitzmiller, and the neighboring rural village of Shallmar, epitomized the rise and fall of the lumber and coal industries in Garrett County. The great flood of 1924 ruined the town as the Potomac River “washed out” the valley. The flood destroyed the coal mining industry and remnants of its destruction are still evident today. Many local landmarks, including the old Maryland Theater, were razed as part of Maryland’s early “flood-control construction efforts.”
However, the old Kitzmiller historic “Post Office” still stands on higher ground as a testament to the town’s prosperous past.
*Excerpt from the 2011 Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area Management Plan