The collection documents the history of the Cozy Inn and Restaurant in Thurmont, Maryland.
Scope and Contents:
Collection documents the management, day-to-day operations, activities, and history of the Cozy Inn business. Materials include registration records; accounting papers and other business records; correspondence, including some fan mail; internal employee newsletters; the restaurant's menus for ordinary days, and for special occasions and holidays; take-out and catering menus; recipes; placemats; handbooks for employees; internal memos and instructions about hiring procedures, employee comportment and protocol; and advertising and promotional materials. It is evident that the Cozy Inn's owners were aware of its historical significance and they saved advertising brochures from various time periods, newspaper clippings and magazine advertisements, certificates, honors and awards, photograph albums, a scrapbook, and voluminous amounts of clippings. The photographs contained in the collection are extremely rich, documenting both the physical changes in the hotel and restaurant over the years, entertainment activities, and several celebrity guests who stayed there. The collection is arranged into five series: Series 1, Administrative Files, 1885-2014, undated; Series 2, Menus, 1943-2015, undated; Series 3, Printed Advertisements and Ephemera, 1932-2014, undated; Series 4, Magazine Articles and Newspaper Clippings, 1935-2013, undated; and Series 5, Photographic Materials, 1920-2009, undated.
The collection is arranged into five series.
Series 1, Administrative Files, 1885-2014, undated
Series 2, Menus, 1943-2015, undated
Series 3, Printed Advertisements and Ephemera, 1932-2014, undated
Series 4, Magazine Articles and Newspaper Clippings, 1935-2013, undated
Series 5, Photographic Materials, 1920-2009, undated
Biographical / Historical:
The Cozy Inn was an eighty five year old business when it closed in 2014. Located on a major highway near Gettysburg and the Catoctin Mountains, Wilbur Freeze started what was then called Camp Cozy in 1929, with just three cabins, later adding a gas station to attract tourists, and in the 1930s, he added in a small lunch counter, and eventually a full service restaurant. It is an excellent example of a 20th century business that started small and grew large, increasing the services offered over time. The Inn grew both in size and popularity, and the Freezes added entertainment attractions in order to increase business, including festivals and special offerings for various holidays. Some of the attractions were eccentric, such as hot air balloons and live animal shows.
In 1942, the presidential retreat Camp David (then known as Shangri-La) was established just six miles away. This led to the Cozy Inn becoming the headquarters for Secret Service agents, reporters and photographers during events that occurred at Camp David. Sometimes foreign dignitaries stayed there. State and local politicians such as members of the Senate, governors of states, cabinet members, and Presidents' family members, also were guests.
The Freezes were fond of boasting that they were the oldest family-run restaurant in the state. They also capitalized on their proximity to Camp David, using the fact in their advertising and naming the Inn's rooms after presidents. In 2005, they started a small Museum on the history of the Inn, its famous guests, and its connection to Camp David. They also sold souvenirs that related to that connection. They regularly hosted weddings and other events and were famous for their lavish holiday decorations. At Christmas they set up gingerbread houses, multiple Christmas trees, a miniature railroad village, etc. The Cozy Inn's restaurant cultivated a large number of repeat, loyal customers with its family atmosphere and comfort food. Some of its dishes became locally famous, like its clam chowder.
Collection donated by Gerald G. Freeze, 2015
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.