Activities & Attractions
The town of Kitzmiller is home to the Kitzmiller River Walk, a scenic paved walkway which runs parallel to the north branch of the Potomac River (pictured right). Across the street is the Kitzmiller Botanical Garden which features a pond, trail and paved walkways, bridge and stream.
Kitzmiller is also home to Garrett County's Wolf Den Run State Park, a 2,039 acre multi-use park that offers hiking, biking, fishing birdwatching, hunting and ORV (off-road vehicle) riding. The park comprises 3 distinct parcels, including unique rocky bluffs, approximately 3 miles of river access on the Potomac River’s North Branch, two cold water trout streams, Short Run and the park's namesake, Wolf Den Run. Wolf Den Run State Park protects areas of sensitive wetland ecosystems in the Huckleberry Rocks area and protects and provides access to two cold water trout streams; Short Run, and the park’s namesake, Wolf Den Run. The park has an expanding network of trails offering access to the largest collection of ORV trails (pictured left) in Maryland. Motorized use is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (April 1 – October 31), 9 am - 4 p.m. (Nov 1 - Mar 31, closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays). No motorized use is allowed from Nov 3 - Dec 13. Non-motorized use is available from Sunrise to Sunset. Riders can to register to ride at the Wolf Den Run State Park office located in the campground area at 1699 Upperman Road, Oakland, MD 21550 or use the reservations link.
Kitzmiller is the take-out for a thrilling section of whitewater: the Gormania to Kitzmiller Section of the North Branch of the Potomac River. This section is to be attempted by people with the necessary skills, equipment and experience. For information follow this link to American Whitewater.
The town of Kitzmiller offers several facilities for rent by groups or organizations including a large picnic shelter adjacent to the Botanical Garden featuring a playground and a large grill. The Town also hosts their annual Kitzmiller Homecoming every July which features a car show, cornhole tournament, volleyball tournament, horse drawn carriage rides, parade, fireworks, and more family fun activities. The date for 2023 is July 22, 2023.
Settlement in Kitzmiller (formerly Kitzmillerville) predates at least the Civil War. The town sprang up around the woolen mill Ebenezer Kitzmiller built in 1853 with the period between 1900 and the end of World War I seeing the greatest expansion in Kitzmiller, both commercially and in terms of population. The coming of the railroad in the 1880s brought a lumber boom, and coal mining became the town's economic mainstay around the turn of the century. At its peak, Kitzmiller boasted 1,800 people, a movie theater, its own bank, three barber shops, a dentist, two doctors, three groceries, two dry goods stores, a beauty parlor and a pharmacy. There were never any bars, however; a covenant in all deeds banned the manufacture and sale of all alcoholic beverages here.
For years, the rising waters of the Potomac River threatened the town's existence. A flood in March 1924 nearly destroyed Kitzmiller. The town bounded back, however, to mark the installation of an electric light system and the paving of its streets with a parade the following year. To stem the flood threat, the Army Corps of Engineers tore down a block of homes and the movie emporium to widen the river and build levees in 1963.
The majority of commercial buildings in Kitzmiller were once found on both sides of River Street which led by way of an iron bridge to the West Virginia side of the river. Of those that remain, the former Kaufmann and Fisher’s Store is probably the oldest (c. 1900). It is
two-and-one-half stories tall, with German siding and three doors, one of them recessed and framed by shop front windows. The former Kitzmiller Bank is a two-story brick building built in 1912 on the corner of East Main Street and River Street. Much of the
interior remains, including the teller’s grill and the tile floor. There were once nine buildings on the east side of River Street. Only the Kitzmiller Library, a one-story frame building with a false front and plate glass windows, remains from this block of commercial
Today, Kitzmiller remains a town of over 200 residents, the largest one of the former coal mining towns along the upper Potomac.