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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

Annandale Road

Lydia Olsen
Class of 2016

(11/2013) My alarm goes off from my windowsill sounding the start of a new day. With heavy arms, I roll over to turn it off. Pulling up the curtains, I look through my window beside my bed. I can see for miles. The sun behind the mountains is beginning to create a golden light that bounces off the mountains, trees, and buildings in the most captivating way. The colors in the sky create a masterpiece, a masterpiece that could have only been painted by the hand of God. Surely no beauty can be matched.

I hop out of bed half asleep and go through the routine that has become second nature. With the weather becoming chillier every day, I have to dress accordingly. Once I am covered with layers, I sit down on the floor and put on my shoes, making sure to pull the laces tight. Within minutes I am headed down the four flights of stairs and out the front door. The cold air hits me quickly and I shiver in response. After a few stretches, I walk briskly until I am propelled into a run. My feet carry me across the sidewalks until I reach the edge of campus. I stop to check for cars before stepping off of University Way and onto Annandale Road.

The street seems to greet my feet as soon as they touch like the welcoming of an old friend. The chickens and roosters from the cage to the right call, "Good morning!" out to me as I travel past them. Houses with rooms illuminated contain the mysteries of someone elseís morning routine. The birds sing from the trees as I run past. The branches above me are in different stages of the season. Some are holding onto their colorful leaves for just a little longer while others are already bare. These branches intertwine with each other, making it impossible to know where one tree begins and another ends.

My feet carry me on and I travel farther and farther down the street. The sounds of nature are occasionally interrupted as people rush out of their homes and close their front doors behind them. With their travel mugs in one hand and their briefcases in the other, they enter their cars and head off day after day. We nod to each other or wave with familiarity and a smile and then we both continue on.

It wasnít until I looked into it that I realized that Annandale Road was actually named after a family that was very influential in the Emmitsburg community. I had been running down it daily without any contemplation. The information is worth knowing and has given me a greater appreciation of Annandale and Emmitsburg. Here is a brief history and summary of what I learned.

Robert Annan was born in 1742 in Scotland. He migrated to New York in 1761. In 1764, he married Margaret Cochran. William Cochran, Margaretís father, had bought land that is currently west of Track Road and north of Fairfield, Pennsylvania. Samuel Emmit had purchased the smaller eastern part of this area. Later on, William Emmit and Robert Annan both tried to create towns. Emmitís new town was named Emmitsburg while Robertís town was named Annandale. Robert tried to sell some of the lots in Annandale but he was unable to compete with Emmitís success, and he eventually gave up on trying to turn his land into a town. However, the area still maintains the name and the generations that were created.

In 1831, Robert Lewis Annan was born to Dr. Annan and Elizabeth (Motter) Annan. He grew up to be a doctor and after graduation, he came back to Emmitsburg to practice medicine for the reminder of his life. He helped organize the Emmitsburg Water Company and served the Emmitsburg community for fifty-two years. He focused on the welfare of the community and was viewed as wise because of his education. He was married twice and lived in a house in the center of Emmitsburg, adjoining his brother Isaac Annanís house.

Isaac Annan was born in 1833. Isaac went to public school in Emmitsburg and later worked as a clerk in a local dry goods store. After a few years, he became the owner of the same store and was a successful businessman. He renamed the store I. S. Annan & Company. Isaac helped to organize the Annan and Homer Bank in 1882 as the president of the company. He also worked with Robert in organizing the Emmitsburg Water Company, where he worked to provide the community with clean water. During his lifetime, Isaac was extremely well known throughout Emmitsburg. He married Julia Landers. Their first child together was named Edgar L. Annan.

Edgar Annan was born in 1865. He was also a prominent businessman. Edgar was educated in New Windsor, Maryland before giving up his studies. He then began working at Horner & Company in Emmitsburg. He became a cashier and was highly regarded among the Emmitsburg population. He was married in 1884 to Pauline McNair and they had five children.

The history seems to speak for itself and tell the story of a community developing and becoming the beautiful, history-rich town it is today. Annandale Road isnít just a paved path that winds across the hills. It brings you to or from destinations and becomes a part of your travels. As the tires of your car, the wheels on your bike, or the soles of your shoes touch the pavement, what is it that they are connecting with? Is it simply a two-sided road divided by a double yellow line? Maybe on the surface that is all it can be. Or maybe it can be and is more than that. We could choose to see it as a path that makes connections. It connects us to other roads that can take us in different directions and lead us to different things. It is a path that can make personal connections. We can use it as a way to connect to the past and to the Annan family, showing appreciation for all that they did for the Emmitsburg community. We can use it as a way to reach out to our neighbors and even to each other.

Too often I think that we all tend to see Mount St. Maryís as separate from Emmitsburg or Emmitsburg separate from Mount St. Maryís. By doing this, we miss out on the valuable connections that we could make with each other. Annandale may be just a road, but it acts as a bridge. It is a bridge between the community on campus and the Emmitsburg community as a whole. As we turn down the road and come to that fork, too often we choose a direction as if we were choosing a side. If we stay to the right and continue onto Annandale then we turn our backs onto the Mount St. Maryís campus. If we turn left and enter the campus, arenít our backs then turned on Annandale and in a sense on Emmitsburg? It canít be seen like this for we are one community. Together, we make up the Emmitsburg community as a wholeónot as separate parts. We are stronger together; our histories reveal it and our futures rely on it. Annandale unites us.

Read other articles by Lydia Olsen