At the height of the camp meeting era, the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O Railroad served Washington Grove with as many as 20 excursion trains a day. (One Sunday in the summer of 1882 saw camp meeting attendance swell to some 12,000 people.) So, how were the physical needs of the camp-goers met?
West of the Circle, along Broadway (now the north end of Grove Avenue) was a small group of commercial structures, including a store, a market stand, and a hotel (built around 1881). These buildings were clustered within a public park that was sometimes referred to as Hotel Park (encompassing what is today Howard Park and Chapel Park), setting them apart from the residential area.
The August 16, 1893 edition of The Washington Post notes, “At the junction of Grove avenue and Broadway stands the market-house. It is not a very pretentious one, to be sure, consisting of a shed about 20 by 40 feet, with an open space around it, but it is a lively spot on three mornings of the week. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during the summer fifteen or twenty farmers visit the camp with wagonloads of vegetables, fruit, chickens, mutton, beef and general farm produce, which they display in the market.”
Nearby stood the furniture warehouse operated by Washington B. Williams, which was located in the small, triangular park known as Knott Park. Later, this building was repurposed as the Young People’s Hall.
At one point, Washington Grove supported four dining tents on the grounds, exclusive of the hotel, to feed the hundreds of excursionists who attended camp meetings. Other amenities included maintenance and storage buildings and stables. Although the specific locations of these facilities are unknown, they were mostly likely located on the fringes of the residential cluster and/or near the railroad depot.