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The town located nearest the source of the Potomac was originally a company town, sponsored by Davis Coal and Coke Company. The coal company had dug several mines in the area by 1913, and had great potential for producing coal. The company built several dozen houses for coal workers. A company store was operated just across the state line in West Virginia; such stores had been banned in Maryland since the late 1860s. By 1918, the town had more than 100 houses and a population of 850. The town's population peaked in the 1920s, but increasing efficiency drove demand for coal down; and the depression of the 1930s led to hard times for the little town. In 1950, the last big mine in Kempton was closed. Slowly after that, the town began to lose other resources--the schools were closed; the miners were laid off. Real estate values in the town tumbled. Every year since 1958, the town celebrates the Annual Kempton Reunion on the First Sunday in July.