The Triadelphia Bell – Ashton-Sandy Spring, Maryland - Atlas Obscura

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The Triadelphia Bell

This bell is one of the last remnants of the lost city of Triadelphia. 


The city of Triadelphia was founded in 1809 by three brothers-in-law who were married to the Brooke sisters (daughters of Robert Brooke, founder of Brooksville).

From its inception until its dire demise by a deluge, Triadelphia grew to become an industrial powerhouse rivaling nearby Rockville in size. Powered by the mighty Patuxent River, cotton, grist, saw, and plaster mills churned out all types of products.

In 1868, a flood destroyed almost all of the mills in Triadelphia along with many homes. Only the grist mill remained. Efforts were made to rebuild the mills, but in 1889, the same deluge that caused the Johnstown Flood wiped out all that remained. Ultimately, the decision was made not to rebuild Triadelphia. The final death blow came with the completion of Brighton Dam in 1943 which resulted in the last existing portion of the town being submerged underwater.

Aside from the bell, the only other known element of Triadelphia that is still extant is a graveyard on a hill overlooking the former town.

As for the bell, it was originally used to call mill workers to perform their daily duties. After being acquired by Sherwood High School principal Alice Farquhar in 1902, the bell was used for 50 years to call students to the school.

In 1954, the bell was dedicated as a gift from that year’s graduating class to the future classes. The stone structure that houses the bell was adorned with a memorial plaque after the passing of David A. Brigham in 2003. Brigham, an esteemed local humanitarian was Sherwood’s Class President in 1961.

Know Before You Go

The Triadelphia Bell is suspended in a bell tower that was built using stones from a factory building in Triadelphia. These were from the same haul that was used to build the stone fireplace at the nearby Olney Ale House.

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