NE corner of German and Church Sts (known as “Billmyer’s Corner” for generations). This is one of the oldest buildings in town. A log building occupied the site in 1776; the third story and the brick façade were added after the Civil War. During the Civil War the federal post office was located in the store. When the Confederates controlled the town, the store remained open, but the post office didn’t. Two different banks used the corner room from 1873 to 1940.
SE corner of German and Church Sts. Likely the second house on lot 17, the original front portion was built by Michael Fouke, Sr., about 1795, and sold by the Fouke family in 1815 to Conrad Shindler, who added the rear wing around 1815. For nearly 55 years, this property served as both family home and the location for Shindler’s coppersmithing business. In 1869, 17 years after Shindler’s death, the German Reformed Church bought the home from the Shindler heirs to use as a parsonage. In 1995, actress Mary Tyler Moore, a Shindler descendent, purchased the property and deeded it to the Shepherd College Foundation in honor of her father. It now houses Shepherd University’s George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War.
SW corner of German and Church Sts. It features a grey stone spire that rises high above the town. A Gothic Revival structure of native stone, it was completed in 1859 on the eastern end of the old Parade Grounds, where local militia drilled from the French and Indian War until the Civil War. After the Battle of Antietam, town clergymen, realizing their churches would be swamped with the wounded, agreed that one should remain open as “a house of prayer.” Because Trinity had just been consecrated in 1859, it was chosen. The church remained a dedicated place of worship, always open and providing services acceptable to both Union and Confederate troops and their sympathizers throughout the war. The Episcopal Chapel, on the back part of the lot, dates from 1870.
NW corner of German and Church Sts. Grew from a dwelling built in 1795 by John and Mary Line. John Kearsley, a Revolutionary veteran, long time Presbyterian elder, substantial property owner, and president of the town board of trustees for 9 years, added the larger front portion in 1814. The back portion, with an entrance on Church Street, housed a general store and from 1869 to 1873, Shepherdstown’s first bank. Later the residence of Presbyterian pastors for many years, it is now a privately-owned residence.
east side of N Church St. Contains the graves of several members of the founding families. Nine Revolutionary soldiers also are interred here. Another, William Morgan, Sr., is said to have been buried under the east chancel of the adjacent Mecklenburg Chapel in 1788.
SE corner of Church and High Sts. The “Old English Church” began as a log cabin in 1745. A stone structure called the Mecklenburg Chapel replaced the original building in 1769. Though it has gone through several renovations, the basic structure of 1769 still remains. It is among the earliest surviving church buildings west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town’s founder, Thomas Shepherd, willed the lot upon which the structure stands to the church parish in 1776. After the Revolution, the building fell into neglect with the disestablishment of Anglicanism in Virginia. In about 1815, the church was rebuilt. The first use of the name Trinity Church appears in the records in 1836. A clock given by Rezin D. Shepherd remained in the tower here from 1841 to 1858. After the Civil War, the Old English Church became the first Freedman’s School and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The original steeple blew off in a storm in the 1890s. Today the property is privately owned.
211/213 W German St. Rickard was among the German artisans who settled here in the l8th century. The west side of this two-story brick house provided residential quarters for the family, and the east side housed Rickard’s locksmith shop. In 1795, Rickard crafted the escutcheon that has graced doors of two successive Lutheran churches. Three generations made locks at this location. The screw lock, used as switch locks by railroads, was invented here, and the handcuffs worn by John Brown at his trial in Charles Town (1859) were crafted here.
215 W German St. In 1800 John Baker, a local attorney, purchased this house, adjacent to the Rickard House. He served in Congress and the Virginia legislature as a Federalist. In 1817 he bought the New Street property that would later become the Episcopal Rectory. Elias Baker (no relation) bought the German Street house just before the Civil War and served as federal postmaster 1862- 1867. When his son Newton joined the Confederate Army, the elder Baker refused to speak to him. Newton became a physician after the war and practiced in Martinsburg. There, Newton’s son, Newton Diehl Baker, Jr., was born. He became the Secretary of War in Woodrow Wilson’s cabinet. The Martinsburg Newton D. Baker Veterans Hospital is named for him.
at the intersection of Duke and W German Sts. Has been called through the years somebody’s corner: Byers’, Beltzhoover’s and Weis’s, depending on who lived on the corner at the time. Occasionally during the 20th century it had a stoplight. Negotiating the turn has proved a challenge for large trucks of recent times.