The First Endeavor
The initial venture in trout farming was started in 1957, by John T. Quynn and Lee M. Buchanan. Both of them were Frederick engineers employed by the Army Chemical Corps at Ft. Detrick. The men leased the property from the Fountain Rock Lime and Brick Company, Inc. and again renewed their lease in 1960. In the fall of 1961, the operation ceased because the property was thought to be sold to the City of Walkersville as an alternative water source.
While Quynn and Buchanan operated the farm it was considered the 1st and only private commercial trout fishing facility in the state of Maryland. In addition to the trout pond which stocked rainbow, brown, and brook trout, the old quarry pond was stocked with bass and bluegills. Boating and fishing facilities were provided. To provide interest to children, 2 tame deer and some ducks were kept on the property.
A trout fishing facility was pursued again when McKendree Fulks bought the property in 1975, and opened for business on April 3, 1976. The small pond was stocked with rainbow trout. The larger quarry pond was stocked with rainbow trout plus bass and crappie. The rainbow trout would not survive long in the warm-watered quarry pond and needed to be fished out quickly.
Mr. Fulks had a problem with algae in the smaller pond and tried to solve it in various ways. Black netting over the pond to cut down on sunlight, algae eating fish, and chemicals were all tried but to no avail. He installed a cap (vertical sewer pipe) over the spring head and ran underground pipes to various areas, including 16 round fiberglass hatching tanks which he had installed. These tanks were approximately 20 feet in diameter and were located in the wetland area in the west section of the land.
The large cement pipe, approximately 14’ long and 4’ in diameter, was installed over the spring head and tons of fill dirt and conglomerate were brought in and placed around the pipe to support it in its upright position. There is a considerable amount of controversy regarding this cap. Many people feel the base of the pipe will eventually choke up with limestone particles and divert the underground spring water elsewhere.
The property has flooded 3 times (that are known); 1936, 1972, and 1975. When the fish hatcheries were on the property, the trout in the lower pond would be washed into the Monocacy River. The 1-story Nature Center which was built in approximately 1976 - 1980 never flooded, but the lower tenant houses did.