THE SINGLE most important event in Garrett County's history was the arrival of the B&O Railroad in 1851. Recognizing that, the county named itself after the man who made the wheels turn, John W. Garrett, president of the B&O.

For a while, Garrett County was in the mainstream. In the latter part of the century, the railroads brought politicians (including three presidents), industrialists and intelligentsia from all over the East to the county's fashionable and "salubrious" mountaintop resorts -- until the automobile opened a whole continent to touring.

With the railroad, too, came lumbermen and coal companies who took what the mountains had to give and then vanished.

You can get a peek into Garrett's golden era: In Oakland, at the Garrett County Historical Museum, the restored B&O Railroad station and St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, where Presidents Grant, Harrison and Cleveland worshiped on Sundays during their mountain retreats; and in Mountain Lake Park and Deer Park, where there are large Victorian summer "cottages."

GARRETT COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM -- On Center Street in Oakland near the intersection with Second. 10 to 4 weekdays; 10 to noon Saturday; closed Sunday. Free.

B&O RAILROAD STATION -- On Liberty Street at Second. It continues as a working station.

St. MATTHEW'S CHURCH -- At Liberty and Green streets.