Luke, Maryland

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Luke is a town in Allegany County, Maryland, United States located along the Georges Creek Valley. Known originally as West Piedmont,[1] the town is part of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 80 at the 2000 census.[2]

Contents

History

The town of Luke was settled in the early 1770s. Luke is located along the Potomac River basin at the foot of Backbone Mountain and is home to the largest private employer in Allegany County. Among the first settlers to arrive were the Davis brothers, who established a saw mill where the town of Luke now stands. The mill provided cross-ties to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as it pushed its rails westward through the Piedmont area of what is now West Virginia. When the railroad suspended building in the 1880s, the Davis brothers disbanded and sold their property to the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company.

About that same time, William Luke and two of his sons arrived. They assiduously applied themselves to developing the place they had adopted. When the railroad needed a name for the stop it established there, it happily accepted "Luke".

Over the next several decades, Luke prospered with the operation of the paper mill, the influx of other "heavy" industrial concerns, and the establishment of the usual supporting Mom and Pop businesses. Nearby, along the Savage River, there was a gun factory that provided muskets with bayonets for the United States Army at Harpers Ferry.

With Luke's growth came citizens' concerns about educational and social issues. Schooling in private homes and business buildings was relocated to a two-room schoolhouse. Growing enrollment in the first through eighth grades brought about construction of a fine new school that opened in September, 1913. It served the town well for forty-six years, sending well educated students off to high school in Westernport. When the school closed in 1959, the building was converted for use as the town's administrative offices—the City Building.

Luke has changed from a booming industrial town to a small close knit community, and still is home for the NewPage Corporation, successor to the Westvaco Corporation and West Virginia Pulp and Paper Mill. With the population slowing increasing, Luke is on its way back under new leadership. Luke is often remembered as the best community to grow up in. The George's Creek Railroad also is located in Luke with its Fed Ex and UPS shipping store, the only one in the area. Luke is a prime example of what a small Town should be with a thriving democracy and close knit community values.

Geography

Luke is located at 39°28′32″N 79°3′28″W / 39.47556°N 79.05778°W / 39.47556; -79.05778 (39.475619, -79.057915)[3].

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