Lake Effect: Revisting the Genius Mountain Maryland Visit of Albert Einstein — From Allegany Magazine’s January 2022 edition

Allegany Magazine

Many people consider Albert Einstein the smartest man who ever lived. Yet when this man who knew almost everything needed to unwind one warm season during the war, the vacation spot he smartly chose was in the Mountains of Maryland — Deep Creek Lake to be more specific.

Einstein vacationed for two weeks in September 1946 at the lake. He was seeking a place where he could find escape from the unwanted media that wrote about how his theories had led to the creation of the atomic bomb. That giant brain needed a rest. Even people who are considered the smartest of all time get criticized, as it turns out.

And John Steiding – a resident of Midland here in Allegany County invited Einstein to take a vacation at the lake. Steiding was a chemist at the Celanese plant at the time and came to know Einstein through a co-worker’s wife, who was sculpting the great man’s bust.

“Einstein, who wasn’t very tall, found it uncomfortable to pose for the artwork since his feet would not touch the floor. Steiding, being a handyman, made a footstool for Einstein,” according to Francis Tam in an article called “Einstein in Western Maryland.”

Besides being able to relax out of the national spotlight for a while, Einstein was also able to have Dr. Frank Wilson examine him for an aneurysm of the aorta of the abdomen. And this news also could be kept from the prying public eyes – and a news media at the time that was looking for any reason at all to be critical of the man.

Einstein stayed at Dr. Wilson’s lake cottage, named the “Mar-Jo-Lodge” for two weeks. “He took daily walks along the lake, frequently stopping to chat with strangers who had no idea who he was. He was sometimes seen fishing and also bird-watching with binoculars. He never skipped a meal but was a light eater. He drank a lot of water and lemonade; his favorite vegetable was fresh corn-on-the-cob from Garrett County,” Tam wrote.

In particular, Einstein loved sailing, either with friends or alone.

“During one of his many hours spent on the lake with Steiding, Einstein remarked that ‘here you can get nearer to God,’” reported the Cumberland News.

Born in 1879, Einstein was a German theoretical physicist, widely credited to be one of the greatest physicists of all time. He is best known for developing the theory of relativity, but he also made important contributions to the development of the theory of quantum mechanics. Relativity and quantum mechanics are together the two pillars of modern physics. “E = mc2” — which arises from his relativity theory, has been dubbed “the world’s most famous equation.” Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.” a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory.

As word began to get out that the great Albert Einstein was vacationiong at Maryland’s “Best Kept Secret,” people began to look for him – hoping to run into the man, chat, take a photo or get an autograph. On these days, when he knew he was being sought after as a celebrity, Einstein sought solace on the water.

“People would realize that he wasn’t around, go searching for him, and find him in Harry Muma’s little sailboat, ‘single-handing,’ on the Turkey Neck inlet,” according to the Garrett County Historical Society’s “Deep Creek Lake, Past and Present.”

During a visit, Steiding’s brother Fred asked Einstein to explain his famous theory of relativity in layman’s terms.

“Put it this way,” reportedly said Einstein, “If you sit on a park bench with your sweetheart, an hour seems like a minute. If you sit on a hot stove by mistake, a minute seems like an hour.”

Einstein later said that his vacation at Deep Creek Lake was “one of the most restful and zestful vacations.”

When the vacation ended, Einstein showed himself to be a generous guest, giving Blair Thompson, who had attended him during the vacation, a $50 gratuity, which would equate to more than $1,000 today.

Following the vacation, he was back to work. In October of that year, he wrote that the United Nations should “form a world government that maintained peace under the threat of nuclear devastation,” according to Ze’ev Rosenkranz in “The Einstein Scrapbook.” Einstein also published his papers on his unified field theory in the 1950s.

On April 17 1955, Albert Einstein experienced internal bleeding caused by the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm – the same one that caused him seek refuge in Garrett County nine years before. The condition had also been reinforced surgically by Dr. Rudolph Nissen in 1948. Einstein took the draft of a speech he was preparing for a television appearance commemorating the state of Israel’s seventh anniversary with him to the hospital, but he did not live to complete it.

Einstein refused surgery, saying, “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share; it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.” And so he did. Einstein died in Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center on April 18, 1955 at the age of 76.

To the world, Einstein’s vacation at Deep Creek Lake remained a secret until a reporter with the Cumberland News interviewed Robbie Steiding – the son of John Stieding – and published the story of the visit in 1979.

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Jay Ferguson

Who I Am My name is Jay Ferguson, and I am a lifelong resident of the Deep Creek Lake area. I am also co-owner of the real estate side of Taylor Made. I have been in the real estate business for 21+ years now and I LOVE what I do! I have to say, my career really took off when I co-founded the real estate side of Taylor Made in 2014. Its been an amazing experience, building a real estate company from the ground up and achieving so much so quickly! In August 2016, we purchased Long & Foster Real Estate Deep Creek, where I had started my career in 2000. In 2018, we on-boarded virtually every agent from Coldwell Banker Deep Creek Realty as they closed up shop and the real estate family grew even more! We now have over 40 sales agents and have expanded to West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well. Taylor Made is the #1 vacation rental company at Deep Creek with over 475 vacation rental homes, and over one hundred thousand yearly visitors. Its amazing what we have accomplished using the principles of honesty, teamwork and customer service! Personally, my wife Jessica and I enjoy traveling and especially spending time in the outdoors, hiking and exploring the many diverse areas that Garrett County is naturally blessed with. We have raised two wonderful children here, Kayleah (22) and Noah (13). In the summer, we love spending time on the water with friends & family and enjoying the lake life! We are both active in our church, our community & local school activities, and we fill our schedule with plenty of volunteer efforts. I currently serve on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity. I am proud to say that I was named Deep Creek Time’s Favorite ‘Community Champion’ in 2019. I was also named Garrett County Realtor of the Year in 2018-19, as well. I really enjoy promoting my hometown. I am very proud of the resort area that has developed over my lifetime and look forward to growing the area even more! Deep Creek Lake has been described as ‘The Lake Tahoe of the east', and I think that speaks volumes about the potential to own property here! Deep Creek Lake isn't really a town or city by itself; it's comprised of three towns: Oakland, Swanton & McHenry, Maryland. I am very passionate about my hometown and am impressed with how many people know about it as we travel around the country. Deep Creek Lake is an amazing place to visit and even better place to live! During the pandemic in 2020, our market exploded and more and more people left their primary residence in the city to live here permanently. With distance learning in schools and tele-commuting becoming the ‘norm’, many more people were drawn to the area to ‘live where they love to play’. Why You Want Me Working for You: In addition to being an owner, I am consistently one of the top-producing agents in the entire area and the Associate Broker of record for Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales. I have 21+ years of experience and I am a problem solver. There aren’t many situations that I have not encountered and I have a strategy for almost every scenario that you may encounter. I have extensively trained in all areas of real estate & emerging technologies, and also have trained as an appraiser, as well as served as a full-time Broker. I have a strong knowledge of the industry, as well as many trusted local contacts & affiliations that allow me to perform at a very high level and deliver results. I have a great deal of respect for my peers in this industry and have strong working relationships that I would love to put to work for you. Call me to discuss your situation - I know I can be of great service to you & others you care about! Honesty. Integrity. Results.