The Hancock Tollhouse in Hancock, Maryland, is a significant historical site, reflecting the early 19th-century architecture and the history of toll collection along the National Road. The tollhouse, dating back to around 1820, is one of the few remaining structures of its kind along the old National Road, also known as the Bank Road, which ran from Baltimore to Cumberland.
The National Road was a major transportation route, chartered between Hancock and Cumberland in 1819 and completed in 1822. The tollhouse, built as part of this project, was initially a residence for the toll keeper who operated a gate for collecting fees from different types of vehicles and livestock passing through. The fees collected were a significant source of income at a time when both the Bank and National Road were privately owned.
The tollhouse has undergone several ownership changes over the years. It was bought by Charles Locher in 1946 and later by William and Dottie Dugan. In 2000, the Dugans donated the property to the Town of Hancock with the condition that it remains a historical structure. The Hancock Historical Society now manages the property and controls all activities at the site, with support from the Town of Hancock and funding from various sources, including the France/Merrick Foundation of Rockville, MD.
Architecturally, the tollhouse serves as an example of a structure that combined service and residential use. Unlike modern toll booths, it was designed to be a permanent residence for the toll keeper, combining functional aspects with residential features.
The Hancock Tollhouse is open to visitors a few times a year and by appointment, featuring typical 1800s furnishings, although it is currently closed for renovations. This site offers a unique glimpse into the historical significance of toll collection and transportation in the early 19th century.