Finally I think I found an encapsulation of that answer I arrived at a while back. This 30 minute film, all shot by residents of today's Frostburg, captures the spirit of the place and explores what exactly draws and keeps people engaged with it.
You might not want to watch all 30 minutes of it but if you have about 5 minutes check out the beginning of Part II. Betty VanNewkirk stats it well. Here's the link: