A Brief History of Hagerstown's City Farmers Market

Oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in Maryland. Believed to be among the three oldest in the country.

1791 is the date (on banner, etc.) used for the beginning of Market. That was probably just using the same date the town was incorporated. However more recently, records have been found that the original Market in “Elizabeth’s Town” was in existence even before this. More recent records indicate that the Market originally began operating on the town square in August, 1783.

Under new rules in 1792, Market was located in the center of the Public Square under the building that housed the City offices. The building was built so that vendors actually pulled their carts and wagons underneath. Market was started in the morning by the ringing of the Market House bell by the clerk, and anyone trying to purchase before the bell finished ringing was fined 10 shillings.

By the early 1800's Hagerstown had experienced such growth that the small building on the Square was no longer adequate for the Market or City offices. A parcel of land on the same site as the current City Hall was purchased and the new building again housed both Market and City business. Pictures indicate however that this time the building design was different and the Market was actually located in and around a ground floor of the building.

It was previously believed that City Market was not in operation through the Civil War and that there was some sort of Military occupation. More recently, however, receipts have been found that show that vendor rents continued to be collected during the War; so it is apparent that the Market vendors actually shared space with soldiers during the Civil War years.

By the 1920's the City needed the entire building at the intersection of Franklin and Potomac Streets to conduct City business, so a separate Market House was constructed at 25 West Church Street. August was chosen our anniversary date because records indicate the Market began operating in August 1783. It is known that the Church Street facility was dedicated in August,1928. So in 2003, the Market turned 220 and that location turned 80. We look forward to 240 years of operation in 2023.

Now Market has come full circle. Not only is Hagerstown City Farmers Market open each Saturday of the year at its 25 West Church Street permanent address, but it is also on the Downtown Public Square once again. For about 10 years now, Market vendors have been coming to Market in the Square. The outdoor Market season begins with Maymart the Thursday before Mother’s Day and continues each 1st and 3rd Thursday through October closing with HarvestMart.

In June 2022, the Market returned to its roots as an outdoor operation. Now located near Town Square, in University Plaza, 50 West Washington Street. Open Saturday mornings, seasonally from June – October.

Market is family–vendors who came to Market with their parents who were vendors and vendors who came to Market with their parents who were customers.