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.

Western Maryland Scenic 1309 receives FRA approval

From Trains.com

RIDGELEY, W.Va. — The Federal Railroad Administration Thursday approved Western Maryland Scenic Railroad 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 for service, officials of the Cumberland, Md.-based tourist railroad tell Trains News Wire. The last Baldwin built for domestic service in 1949 immediately becomes the world’s largest operating Mallet on a 17-mile mountain railroad that was once the Western Maryland main line, including iconic Helmstetter’s Curve.

The locomotive will immediately begin its testing and break in period, leading up to its operation on Polar Express trains next month and regular service and special events next winter and spring. The former Chesapeake & Ohio engine only operated in regular service for six years before retirement and was displayed at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore for years before Western Maryland Scenic bought and moved it in 2014. The engine and three cars were running this morning.

The $3.5 million restoration of the large articulated was a monumental task for a tourist railroad of modest means and working in a former Western Maryland car shop. Workers last December pushed to get the engine to the point where it could move on its own for the first time in 64 years and debuted it on Dec. 31. Since then, the shop crew has been chasing down thousands of final details, rebuilding the stoker, and acquiring parts that were difficult to come by during the Covid-19 pandemic. The railroad, which had not run since the 2019 season, also worked to reopen during 2021, which made No. 1309’s restoration a close but still second priority.

The Mallet, which uses its steam twice, was the fabled Baldwin Locomotive Works’ last domestic product in 1949 and is thus a major landmark in U.S. steam locomotive manufacturing.

Crews from railway preservation came from across the U.S. to assist in the final weeks of reassembly, a painstaking and difficult process for a locomotive that received little maintenance in its working life, spent years on display in a humid environment, and was disassembled by a different restoration crew. Its restoration was slowed earlier by an employee’s theft of parts, significant funding challenges, and the immensity and complexity of such a large locomotive.

steam locomotive outside depot
Western Maryland Scenic 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 begins test runs today following FRA approval of the locomotive after an extensive 7-year, $3.5 million restoration. Here it is outside Cumberland Depot. (Walter Scriptunas II photos)
When it begins regular operations, No. 1309 will be the only articulated rod engine in action in the eastern U.S., and the largest steam power in the East. Union Pacific’s Big Boy operates on UP tracks and is a simple articulated, meaning it feeds high-pressure steam to all four cylinders.

No. 1309 will be operated on 17 miles of the former Western Maryland Railway main line from Cumberland, Md., via famous Helmstetter’s Curve, to Frostburg, Md.

Stalled for funding at the end of 2019, the project was at a standstill. In February 2020, Trains Magazine launched the “Steam the Last Baldwin” campaign to raise money to restart the project. Readers responded with more than $275,000 in donations, and the John Emery Rail Heritage Trust made a special mid-year grant of $50,000 to keep work moving forward. The engine was set on its drivers in June 2020, and final reassembly began.

You can read about the final restoration efforts in our special edition, “Steaming the Last Baldwin,” and a companion DVD. Both are available online at the Kalmbach Hobby Store.

62nd-annual Garrett County Agriculture Fair kicks off

The 62nd annual Garrett County Agriculture Fair kicks off with events running for an entire week.

The event will include many competitions, ranging from the judging of farm animals to canned goods, photography and 4-H and school projects.

All exhibit barns will be open to the public beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, the carnvial rides will be open from 1-11 p.m. and various contests/competitions will be held throughout the day. Tuesday will be Senior Citizens Day, with free admission granted for those ages 60 and older. Seniors may ride midway attractions free from 1-5 p.m. The day’s schedule will also include a pet show, a 4-H robotics challenge, and a Barrell Ba$h.

for the rest of the weeks schedule and info click here

330 Red Run Heights Rd. Price Drop

3BR, 2BA home in a spectacular location near lake, state parks & town. Over-sized lot with mature trees and level yard. Plenty of privacy and views of the surrounding mountains. Huge loft area and open living space, eat-in kitchen + island, outbuilding/garage, wrap-around driveway and an impressive workshop in basement. Loads of storage + closet space. Multiple heat sources. Front & rear decking.

for more information click here

Celtic Festival to celebrate 30 Years in Garrett County

FRIENDSVILLE — On the green riverside of Friendsville Community Park, the Garrett County Celtic Festival will once again take place, celebrating for the 30th year the history and traditions of Scots, Irish and Welsh ancestry of the mountaintop.

The event will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 2.

For more Information click here.

Photo by Elizabeth Williams

New Listing 111 Cherry Heights Ln.

Well-maintained 5BR Tennessee log home with multiple views of Deep Creek Lake! Custom home offers a spacious kitchen with ample counter space, several open living areas, exposed beams, large bedrooms and attached garage stall for storage of tools, toys, gear. Impressive exterior decking and covered porch area. 5 minutes to Wisp, dock rentals & other popular lake activities.. Furnishings included!

For more Information click here

Arts at a Glance

 

Thursday, April 12

• Risa Binder Concert, Frostburg State University’s CES series, FSU Performing Arts Center, 8:15 p.m. For more information, including ticket prices, persons should visit ces.frostburg.edu or call the Lane University Center Box Office at 301-687-3137.

Saturday, April 21• Garrett County Public Schools Student Arts Fair 2018, CARC of Garrett College, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. All are invited to join students and educators from Garrett County Public Schools in a celebration of the arts. Exhibits of both visual and performing arts by all local students will be on display until 2 p.m.; the Garrett County Arts Council will host its make-and-take craft room with are teachers, with fabric totes from Samantha Funding the Arts will be available for coloring; and live performances will take place every half hour. This is a free event.

For more activities click here.

 

New Listing 279 Cherry Lane Road

Perfect lake area getaway! Only a few miles to Deep Creek Lake, Wisp Ski Resort or the Youghiogheny River for whitewater rafting, this cozy 2 bedroom 2 bathroom home is ideal! Situated on one wooded acre with exterior decking and a fenced in yard, you will love spending time outdoors. Very well maintained.

For more information click here.

 

Lions clubs to host casino night at GCF scholarship benefit

McHENRY — The eighth-annual spring scholarship benefit, hosted by the Garrett College Foundation, will be held April 27 at The Lodge at Wisp Resort in McHenry.

Final preparations are being made, including an exciting Casino Night, hosted by the Deep Creek Lake and Oakland Lions Clubs, as part of this year’s benefit theme, “Boots and Bling.”

“The Deep Creek and Oakland Lions Clubs are happy to partner with the Garrett College Foundation to raise funds for the students. Garrett College is an important part of the community that we serve,” Deep Creek Lions Club President Ken Bush said. “We look forward to a fun evening for a great cause.”

For more information click here.

Picture credit-www.garrettcollege.edu