In the early 1800s, the village of Poplar Springs in western Howard County served as a temporary home for travelers headed west. Travelers including Samuel F.B. Morse, one of the inventors of Morse code, were drawn to the town for its lodging, food, general store, post office and blacksmith services for horses and wagons, according to "Howard's Roads to the Past," by Barbara W. Feaga. But some think the cool springs were the town's biggest draw. The spring water was believed to have healing powers, Feaga states. Once the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad arrived in the 1830s, with stations in nearby Woodbine and Watersville, Poplar Springs became even more popular as a summer resort for Baltimore and Washington area vacationers, she states. During the summers of 1842 to 1844, Morse is said to have stayed in Poplar Springs, perfecting his latest invention: the single-wire telegraph.
illustration by Violet Lemay
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