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Joan (Bittner) Fry is a native Sabillasvillian or Sabillasvillite, depending on which side of the tracks you’d like to claim. She has written several books of history that serve as collections of memories about Sabillasville and the surrounding areas. The following is an excerpt from Book 3. It is a reprint of an article by an unknown author that was published October 5, 1962, in the Record Herald called “Where Do You Live? Blue Ridge Summit Covers Knob” about Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas on the “knob.”  To order a book from Ms. Fry, please email or call her 301-241-3295.

Where Do You Live? Blue Ridge Summit Covers Knob

Blue Ridge Summit shows on the map of Pennsylvania as a little town near here, on the Maryland border.  But ask a resident of the area where he lives and—even if his home is in Maryland—he may answer “Blue Ridge Summit.”

He may mean Highfield, Maryland, or one of a dozen satellite communities, which have grown up around the hub of Blue Ridge Summit. Actually, Blue Ridge Summit is a geographic location—a tiny pinprick on the map—but it has become a term used to cover all the mountaintop communities on the knob of the Blue Ridge Mountains shared by Maryland and Pennsylvania.


Grew Around Rail Loop

Blue Ridge Summit grew up around a short Pennsylvania loop of the Western Maryland Railway.  The builders had intended to keep the line in Maryland but were forced north for a few hundred yards because of the terrain.

A half century ago the railway carried thousands of weekend excursionists from Baltimore and Washington to the mountaintop to the now overgrown Pen Mar Park and to elegant watering places such as the Blue Mountain House (burned in 1913), and to Buena Vista Hotel (burned in 1967) and now owned by a Roman Catholic Order.

Smaller summer hotels and imposing private summer estates were set among the hemlocks. But with the motorcar and good roads, Blue Ridge Summit took a back seat as a tourist center.


Grew During War

The mountaintop blossomed with people again during World War II.  They wore khaki and olive green, went abroad at night, and spoke strange languages.

Thousands of soldiers received their Army intelligence training at nearby Fort (then Camp) Ritchie, Maryland. The summer hotels became apartment houses.  Following the war, a nearby mountain was hollowed out to house the “Underground Pentagon/Site R” and Fort Ritchie became a permanent post to serve as the housekeeping headquarters for the Joint Communications Agency and later for the Joint Alternate Command Element.  Everything about the latter agency, except the name, remains classified to this day (1962).


Can Be Confusing

But many folks find it more convenient to rent a post office box at the new post office building at Blue Ridge Summit regardless of where they live.  This can become quite confusing.

In addition, many community institutions ignore the state, county, and township barriers. The Blue Ridge Mountain Volunteer Fire Company gives service equally in both states. It’s located in Washington Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania and receives government support from the township supervisors.

Also in Pennsylvania is the Blue Ridge Summit Free Library.  It is located in a former railway station donated by the Western Maryland Railway and is a member of the Washington County Maryland Free Library System.  Ironically, Franklin countians served by the library pay a half-mill library tax, which goes to support a Franklin County Library, which does not serve the Blue Ridge Summit Free Library.


Twin Water Companies

Some 500 mountaintop residents buy their water from twin, privately owned water companies – Monterey-Blue Ridge Water Supply Company in Pennsylvania and the Blue Ridge Water Company of Washington County in Maryland.

Telephone users appear in the Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania and Highfield, Maryland exchanges. The United Telephone Company of Pennsylvania services both but remits Highfield billings to Maryland’s Chesapeake and Potomac system. Chesapeake and Potomac provides physical plant maintenance on the Maryland side.


Divided Services

The mountaintop is served by four county roads departments and three township roads systems.  On the Maryland side there are two county school systems while in Pennsylvania there are three township school boards.

Most communities, such as Cascade, Cullen, Highfield, Lantz, and Sabillasville in Maryland; Charmian, Fountaindale, Greenstone, Monterey, and Pennersville in Pennsylvania; and Pen Mar in Maryland/Pennsylvania, have their own post offices.

Things get really confusing at taxpaying time. The two Adams County Townships have occupation taxes; the Washington Township School District has a one percent wage tax and Maryland a state wage tax. Property taxes are levied everywhere, and the Pennsylvania taxables pay per capita (residence) taxes.

by Valerie Nusbaum

I think I’ve told you before that Randy and I have had some trouble finding another couple to date.  We’ve tried it with lots of couples over the years, and while all of them have been lovely people, it just hasn’t clicked, mostly because the men couldn’t find anything to talk about.

I had always thought the problem was that Randy didn’t really know any of the people we’d ventured out with. In each case, the other woman was a friend of mine, and we each had gotten the bright idea to include our husbands in an outing, thinking it would be fun. Most of the time, Randy and the other man just looked at each other with strained smiles and found that they had nothing in common. Of course, that’s perfectly understandable.

Then I realized that we’ve actually been dating Cathy and Wayne for years and had not even realized it. I grew up with Cathy. We were in the first grade together,  and we have been friends ever since she cried during an assembly when she was supposed to introduce me as “Citizen of the Month”; I put my arm around her and told her not to worry about it. No big deal. I introduced myself and earned a reputation for being forward. It was Cathy’s fault, but I never blamed her for it.

Wayne was my neighbor when I was growing up, so I’ve known him forever, too. He had flowing black hair with a white streak in it and rode a motorcycle. The two of them getting together was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one.

Randy and I have attended Cathy’s Halloween parties almost every year, and have dressed as everything from an aging rock star and magician to apprentice sorcerers at Hogwart’s Academy. Last year, we were a farmer and a cow. Guess which costume I wore? Nope. I was the bovine. It was HOT in that suit, and Randy wouldn’t leave my udders alone.  And HE won a prize for something or other.

In turn, Cathy and Wayne have always shown up for our picnics and holiday gatherings. Cathy loves Randy’s scavenger hunts. We’ve shared good times and bad times, and these friends of mine have adopted my husband.

So it came as no surprise when Randy mentioned that we hadn’t had dinner with Cayne (that’s celebrity-speak for “Cathy and Wayne”) in a while. As is the case in almost all relationships, the women are responsible for making the social arrangements, so Cathy and I set up an evening, and we agreed to meet at Famous Dave’s in Frederick a few weeks ago.

Randy and I got there a little early, and Cayne was a little late. They live in West Virginia, so we cut them some slack. It boded well for the evening when Wayne showed up wearing a shirt that was almost identical to Randy’s. Both men wore yellow polos, with a dark blue checkerboard line. They looked like Mutt and Jeff. The two of them immediately started giggling like a couple of ten-year-olds who’d seen some lingerie hanging on a clothesline. The hostess wisely seated us in a booth way in the back of the restaurant.

We were all hungry, so we perused the menu as we talked about our days. For some inexplicable reason, the men focused on the word “sauce” and found it hilarious. We were in a barbecue joint, for crying out loud. Everything comes with sauce, and there were six bottles on the table. Cathy and I shook our heads, knowing that we had a long night ahead of us.

We women spent the next two hours discussing our work, our health, recipes, our families, religion, mutual friends, Cathy’s trip to Pasadena to work on a float in the Tournament of Roses parade, pets, and about a hundred other things.

Randy and Wayne told jokes and kept repeating the word “sauce.” They gave our server a hard time, too. I forget what her name was. It was also the name of a town or city, but I don’t remember which one. Wayne asked her if she’d ever been there. She hadn’t. Maybe it was the name of a car, too. Anyway, the men found that hysterical. I should point out, too, that there was no alcohol involved in this outing.

My hubby laughed and giggled all the way home, and poked me several times during the night to remind me of things that Wayne had said. Their bromance scares me a little. Cathy says that Wayne does the same thing to her. I’m sure we’ll see them again before too long. I hope the men coordinate their outfits again. Maybe Cathy and I should do that, too. That would really freak out Cheyenne or Shiloh or Durango or whatever her name was. She probably quit working at Famous Dave’s after our visit. Who could blame her?

Randy and I are trying out a new couple next week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In closing, I want to thank Marty Rippeon for the great new toothbrush and for the nice things she said about my column. Marty, I’m waiting for the season when you and Randy both make it on Survivor!  Just don’t expect me to visit the island. I don’t do bugs or dirt or smelly people.

by Christine Maccabee

“Earth Stars”

Ever since my early twenties, I have been fascinated by flowers of every variety and, thus, began seriously investigating them. At that time, I was also reading literature about the ancient tradition of mandalas as a meditation tool in India. The mandala has a center that symbolizes the source of life, be it Allah, God, the Great Spirit, or whatever one might call it. The center holds everything else together, like the spoke of a wheel, and without it, things would fall apart and there would be chaos. From that center radiates Creation, or life, in all of its amazing diversity and beauty. Similarly, most flowers have this same feature, with centers from which reproduction occurs in the form of seeds. That center of nectar, pollen, and seeds serves the purpose of ongoing sustenance, thus enabling ongoing life for myriad life forms, including, of course, people.

Captivated by this reality, I created mandalas from various parts of flowers, using stamen, pistil, petals, leaves, and bracts, basically dissecting the flowers carefully and pressing the various parts. Each design I made was unique, and many reminded people of snowflakes. If you look at a flower closely, especially those that radiate perfectly symmetrically from the center, then you will understand my fascination. In fact, there are people who seriously meditate on flowers, thus creating more of a sense of balance in their lives. For me, creating mandalas was a waking and a working meditation, keeping me centered and focused as I created each one; I sold hundreds of framed pieces over a period of twenty years. Now I simply grow flowers.

This summer, I had a newcomer to my gardens: the Morning Star Sedge, a native grass that I did not plant, but which was brought here by a bird, no doubt. I discovered it quite by accident, along a pathway down to my main garden, and was astonished when I saw it. It is not a flower at all, but a type of native grass, used ornamentally by some people in their landscaping. The seed head is beautiful, very star-like and perfectly symmetrical. You may be familiar with its graceful but sturdy grasses from which the stems of the seed heads emerge. The seed heads are a lovely green, which turn chocolate brown by late summer. By early autumn, I am sure that the wild birds will be enjoying those seeds, as well as the seeds of the chicory and woodland sunflowers, which I also have here in my gardens as habitat.

As anyone who reads this column knows, I am passionate about preserving habitat for pollinators and birds. Here on my 11+ acreage, I am purposely allowing close to one hundred wild native plants to complete their entire life cycles, from flower to seed. Such diversity of plant life—no matter how tall and gangly or small—sustains the health of a host of animals, insects, and humans, in this, our rainforest. By August, the final show will begin and I look forward to it.

I look forward to witnessing thousands of tiny Aster flower stars, and hearing the profound sound of untold number of wings whirring as the bees fuel up for the coming inevitable cold weather. The essential Golden Rod flowers will also begin blooming (Golden Rod is not a major pollen producer that creates allergies, as some people mistakenly think), and I will watch as the Monarch butterflies feed on them before their long journeys south. Did you know there are, or were, 2,687 species of Aster and 16 species of Golden Rods in America; on my property, I have about 5 species of each.

The beautiful earthly flower stars, besides providing food for a wide variety of pollinators and birds, are a source of inspiration to humans. Also, it is well known that some have important medicinal properties, such as the Coneflower. I will soon gather and dry the flowers and leaves of my Coneflowers, which will be added to teas I make from other herbs I grow. Coneflowers provide Echinacea, which is important as an immune system enhancing herb. The root is the most potent, so here and there, I will pull some out for their roots.

Unfortunately, there is an ongoing war being conducted against Earth’s stars, in the form of herbicides, pesticides, and habitat loss. Next month, I will continue speaking for the wildflowers and the health of our planet, our people, and all our relations.

Meanwhile, I suggest you walk slowly and often in wild places where wild things grow, and don’t forget to look to the stars!

The First Emmitsburgian to fall in WWI

by James Rada, Jr.

The United States entered World War I when Congress declared war against Germany in April 1917. At that point, the fighting in Europe had been going on for nearly three years.

The Weekly Chronicle ran editorials supporting the U.S.’s involvement, and also began running articles that summarized the war events of the week.

The June 8, 1917, Chronicle ran a front-page display of the first area residents to join. Francis Elder, Joseph Felix, Joseph Adelsberger, Benjamin Topper, George Wagerman, Louis Stoner, Clarence Myers, Charles Sharrer, Carroll McCleaf, and Earl Weikert enlisted in Company A, First Regiment of the Maryland National Guard. Frank Bouey, Quinn Topper, and William Bowling enlisted in the army, and Simon Klosky enlisted in the Aviation Corp.

To get the Emmitsburg men to the departure point, the Frederick County Exemption Board arranged for rail cars of the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway to convey all of the men from Frederick City to Thurmont to meet the Western Maryland Railroad train to Baltimore and eventually to Fort Meade.

“There was no fuss and feathers, there were no public ‘sad farewells’ – at least on the part of Emmitsburgians – when these boys started on the first lap of their journey. They received their orders and, like the soldiers they are, obeyed them without a murmur, without a word of criticism. We feel assured that all of Frederick County’s assignment will be up to the standard; we know that the squad from here will give a good account of itself; for the personnel of that squad ranks A1. Each man in it has a clear conception of the responsibility that rests upon him, each man is much in earnest – determined to do his full share. These selectmen – that’s the name, and an honorable one – and also those from Emmitsburg who heretofore volunteered their services to their government, will not be forgotten by those who they have left behind,” the Chronicle reported.

The Emmitsburg doughboys went off to train and fight. Pvt. Francis X. Elder had been in France since June and had fought in several engagements since then.

Pvt. Elder wrote to his family and kept them up-to-date on what was happening with him. In October 1918, even as World War I was winding down, his company once again prepared for battle; he wrote to his mother:

Dearest Mama,

    As I am about to enter the big fight for Democracy it is my desire now, whilst I have the opportunity to pencil you a few lines briefly, and bid you, Papa and all, a sincere farewell and may our dear and most precious God always protect you in this life, and knowing this, I will die cheerfully for a good cause, if it to be His holy will, otherwise it will be the happiest moment of my life when I can once more kiss those motherly lips. If the worst happens to me, take the news, courageously be brave!, as I am going to try and be. If I come through O.K. I will write at once and let you know.

    Hoping for the best and trusting I will see you all on earth, or that we will meet in Heaven. I am your most affectionate and loving son.


The American Expeditionary Force, commanded by Gen. John J. Pershing engaged in the largest and bloodiest battle of the war. Germans and Americans fought along the Western Front from September 26 to the end of the war on November 11.

Even as Elder had written his mother, he had been engaged in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. During this battle, 28,000 Germans and 26,277 Americans would die.

Elder fell on October 11.

Not knowing this, his family continued to wait for word from their son and praying that he was safe. It wasn’t until November 18, a week after the war ended, that the Elders learned Francis had not survived.

A Western Union telegram arrived that read: “Deeply regret to inform you that Private Francis X. Elder Infantry is officially reported as killed in action October Eleventh.” He had been buried in the Cousevoye Woods by Father McLaughlin, who was his company chaplain.

He had been the first man from Emmitsburg to enlist in the War to End All Wars, and he was the first man from the town to die in the war.

Sons of AMVETS Squadron 7 “Golden Son Awards”

by Jim Houck, Jr.

Friday, July 14, 2017, 6:00 p.m., AMVETS Post 7, Thurmont, was the date, time, and place set to hold the annual “Golden Son Awards” program. I, being the public relations officer for I don’t remember how many years now, was there to take photos of the event and to record in our historical archives. I would like to tell you that I was all primed and ready to go since the beginning of the week, but that would be a lie. The truth of the matter is, I had forgotten. It’s a good thing I have a friend by the name of Dick Fleagle to remind me of the important events.  Dick called me on Wednesday and asked if I was going to be there to take photos, and I said yes, just like I knew what he was talking about. Then I blew it, I went and asked him what time it was to start. If that wasn’t bad enough, I even asked where it was being held. Dick told me the time and place, and then I suppose it dawned on him: If I didn’t know the time and place, I probably didn’t have a clue what is was for. Dick refreshed my memory as to why I was going to take photos. I thanked him and told him that Joan (my wife) and I would be there.

The “Golden Son Awards” is the way Sons of AMVETS (SOA) Squadron 7 shows a person how much we appreciate him for all he does for everyone at AMVETS Post 7. The award can be presented to anyone that is deemed worthy and is not only confined to SOA members.

Joan and I arrived at Post 7 at 5:00 p.m. and joined the folks already there setting up for the event. Everything was ready and in place by starting time at 6:00 p.m. Mark Zienda, Squadron 7 Commander for 2017-2018, took the podium and called things to order. Commander Zienda explained that, first, the Golden Son Awards would be presented; second, Squadron 7’s scholarship awards would be handed out; third, there would be two drawings held for meat packs, one for $500 and one for $250. He also asked everyone to stay after for some food and refreshments. Mark asked Joe Forrest, Squadron 7 Immediate Past Commander, to present the awards, as Joe was commander when nominations and those elected to receive were selected. Joe called Willy Plumer as the first recipient of the award. Willy was awarded posthumously, as he had passed on and his wife, Becky, came forward to accept the beautiful plaque. Willy fried the catfish for a lot of fish fries. The second award went to Becky Plumer, and was well deserved for all the time and effort she put into helping the Sons at their events (Becky keeps all of our volunteers well tuned with her rum cake; it is the best). Joe called Joyce Fleagle to receive the third award, and she really deserved the recognition for all the help she gives to everyone. The fourth award went to a person that keeps all the gears of AMVETS Squadron 7 well oiled and up and running and is very deserving of the recognition: none other than our own 1st Vice Dick Fleagle. Thanks to all of the recipients for all you have done and continue to do, such terrific service.

The next part of the program was presenting SOA Squadron 7 scholarship awards. This year, two $500 scholarships were awarded. Joe announced the first winner as Allyson Smith and the second winner of the scholarship award was Ryan Lookingbill.

The final part of the program was the drawing for a choice of a meat package or cash. The value of the awards were $500 for first prize and $250 for second prize. Allyson Smith drew the first prize winner’s name as Chad Helwig from Hanover, Pennsylvania. Ryan Lookingbill drew the second prize winner’s name as Richard L. Fleagle from Alabama.

Congratulations to all the winners!

God Bless the United States of America, God Bless the American Veteran, and God Bless You.

Pictured from left are Joyce Fleagle, Savannah Masser, Joyce and Dick’s great-granddaughter; Dick Fleagle; and Becky Plumer.

Pictured from left are Joe Forrest and Allyson Smith.

Pictured from left are Joe Forrest and Ryan Lookingbill.

Photos by Jim Houck, Jr.

by Buck Reed

It is not enough to call a plate of barbequed ribs “que.” It is no longer hip to call appetizers simply “Hors D’oeuvres” it is now “Tapas,” “Meze,” or “Antipasto,” and sometimes, two of these terms at the same time, but never all three. Menus are no longer written by chefs; they are “curated” by “culinary artisans” and, sometimes, under certain mysterious circumstances, they are even “carefully curated.” And dishes are now “deconstructed.” If a classic dish gets a different sauce or an ingredient is swapped out, it is “reimagined.” Let’s face it, the foodies are here, and they are bringing their own language with them.

So, what exactly is a foodie? At first thought, one might believe a foodie is someone who loves food and wishes to eat it. As opposed to most people who actually hate food and would never eat it. Or perhaps it is simply a person who, in attempt to elevate their lives by artificially looking down on others, describes every dish they have either made or had made for them with fancy terms, such as clean—as if the food everyone else was eating was somehow tainted with dirt or grime. I personally believe foodie is a marketing term created by an ad man to sell more abalone, saffron, and capers. Well played Mr. Draper, well played, indeed.

The first concept you want to grasp when speaking like a foodie is an absolute, minimal grasp of a foreign language. No, you do not have to speak French or Spanish fluently, but you do need to be able to trade out a few American ingredient terms for their distant counterparts. Eggplant is now aubergine, Mussels are now moules, and French fries are now called frites. You get extra points if you can say these terms with an exotic inflection, and you can somehow add an accent mark as you say them. Do not make the rookie mistake of speaking your entire sentence with a French accent, just over enunciate the actual words you are expressing and actually try to make your face look like you are from a foreign land as you say the words. If you want to practice, try using a German accent when you say sauerkraut. Note: do not do this with Asian ingredients as this could make you sound racist.

Although it may well be a marketing scam, being a foodie place does not by requirement automatically make your food more expensive, but it does seem to work out that way. For instance, new independent restaurants and some franchised joints are now marketing themselves as “neighborhood places,” which is an easy mark to hit, as they are in the neighborhood and they are an actual place. Does that mean that they are not going to seat you if you are not from the locality? And calling your restaurant New American, Pan-Asian, or Bistro doesn’t really define you, but doesn’t really increase the menu price either. And deconstructing your daily specials just means you are arranging the ingredients on the plate so the customer can put them together themselves. That has got to cut down on labor cost.

Whether it was the yuppies, the hippies, or the Food Channel that came up with the term, foodies are here, and like a tick on a St. Bernard, they are not going to be easy to root out. And although I am fairly certain they will not be making the food taste any better, they may actually be helping us develop new ways to express our appreciation for the food we are eating.

Did you like this article? Have any questions or have an idea for a future article? Please feel free to contact me at

Update: Susan Torborg

Have you ever fallen for the hype of a weight loss plan and then you buy it and it does nothing for you? Your money blown for no results! For some, this happens time and time again. We’re left wondering if there are any TRUE and affordable options to help navigate us to a healthier weight and lifestyle.

Susan Torborg, of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, hates seeing the waste of people’s money on diets that have no results or diets that have some results but later fail when we try to do it on our own and gain the weight back. She has made it her life’s passion to help people achieve long-term healthier weight and healthier lifestyles. She lives right in our local area. Can you believe her R3 Plan is FREE? Any of us can access it and follow the simple directions as outlined. We can even join with others who follow the R3 Plan in our local area.

With a degree in exercise science in 1993, Susan has been a personal trainer in health clubs, resorts, spas, and in people’s homes. She even marketed a workout CD in the 1990s with some success. Susan joined our Catoctin Banner Resolution Contest with the hope to share her R3 Plan with many others by the end of the year.

The number of followers of the R3 Weight Loss Plan grows everyday. It is a food plan, a food lifestyle, not a diet. On Facebook, 2,292 people were followers on the R3 weight loss page the day we spoke. The three Rs stand for reset, reintroduce, and real life. In the first two weeks, R3 will help break your sugar cravings with a reset; in the second two weeks you’ll learn how to reintroduce healthy sugars and carbs; in the third two weeks you’ll learn to use healthy food options in everyday real life.

Susan said, “I brought it [R3] onto Facebook and started teaching people how to eat. If you just follow R3, and use some of the tools you may need, you’ll have success.”

Since taking R3 on Facebook, it has taken off. Every week the number of followers grows by at least 100 people. Susan loves teaching, inspiring and helping people persevere, because “the journey is hard,” she explained. She’s on a mission to teach people freedom. She added, “It gives me joy.”

Free is great, but what about money? How does Susan make money from a free plan? She does admit that it’s business. By educating people about the best quality brand of nutritional foods,  supplements and vitamins, Susan makes enough money to pay for what she needs. But, there are R3 followers who already have their own tools in place, Susan offers her expertise even though she doesn’t financially gain from them.

She said, “I’m still helping people, so that’s okay. My focus isn’t only the income. R3 continues to grow. I want to help as many people as I can. I’m inspired by stories in the weight loss group. I don’t care if they bought product.”

From the growth of R3, Susan can’t keep up with the demand by herself, so she brought on R3 coaches who also share a passion to help others get healthy. She’s added three new coaches in the past two months. She is looking for more R3 coaches. You work from home using the Internet, you, too, can help people all over the country.

You can find the R3 Plan on Facebook. Request to join the closed group, “R3 Weight Loss Plan” and Susan will add you. You can download and print the plan for free and find it in the first pinned post. You can also find it on her website,

This photo is from an annual convention that took place in the beginning of May where marketing execs met for a training. The people pictured have been using the R3 Plan to help grow their business. It doesn’t financially benefit Susan (pictured front center), but it helps others to build her brand. “People may question WHY I share the plan so freely, it’s because the feeling in my heart is indescribable, it’s a JOY that no money could ever buy!   I LOVED this moment.”

by Theresa Dardanell

Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum

I’ve visited the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum twice this year because once was just not enough. There is so much to discover, not only about the equipment, apparatus, and artifacts, but more importantly, about the people who have dedicated their lives to protecting the residents of Frederick County.

Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum President James Deater and Secretary Joy Deater gave me a tour of the museum, which is located in Emmitsburg at 300B South Seton Avenue, in a building that was previously occupied by the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company. Their knowledge of history is impressive and their enthusiasm is apparent.

The history of all twenty-six fire companies in Frederick County is on display. Some of the equipment is on loan to the museum. One example is the 1893 Hand-Drawn Hose Reel, a name which accurately describes its function. The fire hose was wrapped around the reel, which was pulled by hand by firefighters.  The separate pumper carrying water was also pulled by hand to the fire.  A 1939 Pumper, on loan from the United Steam Fire Engine Company No. 3, is also on display along with several other pumpers and hose reels.

Many of the artifacts have been donated for permanent display by firefighter families, fire and rescue companies, as well as the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Association and Maryland State Firemen’s Association. There are uniforms, helmets, firefighting gear, and equipment. One room holds early radio communications equipment and pictures. Hanging on a wall is a life net that was used to catch people who jumped from buildings to escape fires.  Display cabinets contain newspaper clippings, photographs, and other historical objects. The Frederick County Fallen Firefighters and Rescue Personnel Memorial Wall, sponsored by Stauffer Funeral Homes PA, is a tribute to the twenty-three firefighters who died in the line of duty in Frederick County.

The building is also home to the National Fire Heritage Center, an organization committed to preserving the history of the American Fire Protection Services.  The Heritage Center houses a collection of books, documents, and other historical items. Together with the museum, they are currently hosting the traveling exhibit of the National Smokejumper Association.  On display is a fully outfitted smokejumper mannequin, along with firefighting tools and information panels. Later this summer, a new display will take its place.

The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays, from 12:00-4:00 p.m., April through October. However, tours are available by appointment at any time. Individuals and groups are always welcome. To arrange a special tour for a group, contact Jim Deater at 301-639-1290 or by e-mail at Put the museum on your list of places to visit this summer.

Jim and Joy Deater are shown seated in front of the 1893 Hand Drawn Hose Reel, which is on loan from the Independent Hose Company #1. In the background is the Frederick County Fallen Firefighters and Rescue Personnel Memorial Wall.

by Anita DiGregory

Summer Family Fun

Well, summer is finally upon us.  If your kids are anything like mine, they may already be climbing the walls (literally), looking for things to do with their newly acquired free time. Although many kids look forward to summer break all year, parents may feel the added stress of becoming a quasi-activities director in order to keep their kids from overloading on video games, screen time, and too much TV.  Fortunately, our area offers many affordable activities for kids and families. Here are just a few fun festivities offered locally.


Participate in a summer reading program. Just because it is summer, doesn’t mean learning needs to stop. Fun, educational, and often free, these programs generally offer an assortment of prizes to entice young readers to challenge themselves. The Frederick County Library System offers parents the opportunity to sign up their children at the library or online ( and then earn points for reading and completing different activities ({“issue_id”:”409260”,”view”:”articleBrowser”,”article_id”:”2787840”}). Barnes & Noble also offers a program (, in which children can download a reading journal, read eight books, and return the completed journal to receive one of the free redeemable books listed on the back of the form.


Attend a storytime. Help transport your children to another place and time by fostering their imagination and encouraging them to read. The Frederick County Library System offers different options for storytime, crafts, and activities at their local branches ( Barnes & Noble hosts storytime with stories, activities, and crafts on Wednesdays and Saturdays ( Dancing Bear in downtown Frederick also has storytime for little ones (


Attend a workshop. Several stores in the community offer fun kid workshops. Home Depot ( offers a hands-on class once a month for children and parents to build fun projects together. Joann Fabrics (, A.C. Moore (, and Michael’s ( also offer classes for kids.


Shoot for the stars. The Earth and Space Science Lab (ESSL)provides a truly unique experience. A part of the community since 1962, the ESSL promotes all four earth sciences with a planetarium, observatory, arboretum, and critter cove (


Get creative. The Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center hosts free workshops for kids (


Go bowling. Children registered in the kids bowl free program can receive two free games a day for the entire summer. Check the website for details (


Check out some of the offerings around town. Frederick County Parks and Recreation offers several classes and special day activities for kids (  Fun-filled family events are hosted year-round in Frederick (

Theresa Dardanell

Thurmont High School alumni, along with spouses and guests, gathered together on June 3, 2017, at the Lewistown Fire Hall for their annual banquet. Over 220 people enjoyed a delicious turkey and fried shrimp dinner, served by the Lewistown Volunteer Fire Company. Alumni Association President Don Dougherty (class of 1969) began with a welcome and the Pledge to the Flag. Addison Eyler, eighth-grade student at Thurmont Middle School, sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” and, during dinner, performed the song “Good Morning Baltimore” from the musical Hairspray.

Former Thurmont High School teachers, Donna Fisher, Mary Fisher, Dominic Massett, Gail Slezak, and John Zink, were introduced. They thanked the members of the association for the invitation and for the chance to meet with their former students.

Viola Noffsinger (class of 1958) presented the secretary’s report, and Becky Linton (class of 1958) gave the treasurer’s report. Noffsinger, Linton, and Dougherty will continue in their current positions as officers for the upcoming year.

Matt Wiley (class of 1967), member of the Community Foundation Board of Trustees, provided information about the foundation and the scholarship fund. The 2017 scholarship recipients are Alexi Baumgardner, Athena Fream, Courtney Orndorff, and Meagan Mongold. Relatives of Thurmont High School alumni are eligible to apply for this scholarship.

Special anniversary classes were recognized. Members of the graduating classes in the years 1942, 1947, 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, and 1972 were introduced. One speaker for each group shared details about their class motto, class colors, and class flower. The 1962 women alumni, led by Judy (Coleman) Knott, sang the pep song “We are the Thurmont Girls” to rousing applause.

Prizes were awarded in several categories: Blanche Long Keilholtz (class of 1940), the oldest graduate, received a beautiful basket of flowers. Joanna Tschiffely (class of 1968) traveled 1900 miles from Fort Collins, Colorado. Susan Long Wireman (class of 1972) was the youngest person in attendance. Wireman and Tschiffely received gift certificates. Gift baskets, created by Carol (Gearhart) Long, with items donated by local businesses, were auctioned to raise money for the scholarship fund.

The first Thurmont High School graduation was held in 1916. The school was replaced in 1969 by Catoctin High School. Alumni celebrated the 100th anniversary of Thurmont High School last year. The next banquet will be held on Saturday, June 2, 2018. Anniversary years ending in 3 and 8 will be recognized.

Ninety-four-year-old Blanche Long Keilholtz, the oldest graduate in attendance, along with Gene Long, Gloria Long Green, Harold Long, and Raymond Long.

The Board of Trustees of Mount St. Mary’s University announced the permanent appointment of Timothy Trainor, Ph.D., as president of the university. Trainor, who has been serving in an interim capacity over the past year, was the unanimous selection of both the Board of Trustees and the cross-campus Selection Committee.

“Since his appointment last summer, Tim and his wife, Donna, have become true members of our Mount family,” said Board Chair Mary D. Kane, C’84, in announcing the appointment at this weekend’s Alumni Reunion. “Tim has harnessed the energy of all of those who love the Mount to build remarkable forward momentum for the university. He has helped to improve trust, build community, and enhance communication across the campus. On behalf of the board, I’m thrilled to make Tim’s appointment permanent and pledge that he will have the board’s continued support as we work together to chart a course for the Mount.”

“The permanent appointment of President Trainor is great news for Mount St. Mary’s and builds upon the momentum that began with his arrival last year,” said Archbishop William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, who is also a university board member and chancellor of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. “In his time serving in an interim capacity, President Trainor’s leadership has brought a renewed energy and collaboration within the entire Mount community that has positioned the university on a course for growth and success.”

“From the moment we first visited campus, Donna and I could feel the warmth and strength of this community,” said Trainor. “The Mount is a special place and having had the opportunity to work closely with colleagues over the last year, I know the university’s future is bright. Together, we’ve tackled challenges and worked hard to have the kind of community, rich in Catholic values, that enables our students to develop into the next leaders of our society. It’s an honor to receive this vote of confidence from the university and the board, and to know that our work together will continue.”

During Trainor’s tenure as interim president, he has focused the community on keeping students at the center of everything the Mount does and on a list of shared priorities, while developing a new strategic plan. He has also overseen improvements in enrollment, which are poised to be among the largest in Mount history, with the incoming freshman class expected to top 500 students (a 24 percent increase over last year). In addition, the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate is likely to be the highest in years at greater than 80 percent. Trainor has also launched a capital campaign, Forward! Together As One, with a goal to raise $30 million.

Academic achievements this past year include three new academic programs, new academic leadership, an articulation agreement with Frederick Community College, the three student Fulbright award winners, and securing a $1 million donation to create the Palmieri Center for Entrepreneurship and hiring its new director. Outside the classroom, Trainor approved efforts to elevate the women’s rugby program to a varsity-level sport, the return of varsity men’s soccer, and expansion of rosters for several existing Division I teams.

Prior to joining the Mount in August 2016, Trainor served a thirty-three-year-career in the Army, retiring as a Brigadier General, with his final six years as dean of the Academic Board at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. In this role, he was the chief academic officer, leading more than 800 faculty and staff across 13 departments and 23 centers that provide a core curriculum and 40 different majors in engineering, basic sciences, math, humanities and social sciences to 4,400 students. U.S. News & World Report ranks West Point as one of the top 25 National Liberal Arts Colleges in the nation.

As chief academic officer, he was also responsible for governance and planning in regard to faculty, curriculum, accreditation, master planning, athletics, and class committees. He has published extensively on innovative leadership, systems engineering, operations research, and decision-making. He also has broad experience in strategic planning, outreach to alumni, and involvement with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education as an evaluation team chair. He also played a role in supporting the recent successful West Point capital campaign.

Prior to his appointment as dean of the Academic Board, Trainor spent four years a professor and head of the Department of Systems Engineering and three years as director of the Engineering Management Program, both at West Point.

Trainor earned his doctorate in industrial engineering from North Carolina State University, an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and a B.S. from the United States Military Academy. He and his wife, Colonel (Retired) Donna Brazil, are the parents of three children: Cory, Daniel, and Zachary.

by Lisa C. Cantwell

Dear Reader: This is a column to help you determine the history and value of your heirlooms, attic finds, flea market purchases, or antique items. Please send a picture and description of your piece, such as how you acquired it and any details about its history, to I’ll research any item, whether it’s a piece of furniture, a painting, a tool, a doll, a figurine, or an article of clothing.  An approximate value will be determined to inform you if it’s a “Trinket or Treasure.” Please submit all pictures and questions by the preceding 15th of the month for possible publication in the next monthly issue of The Catoctin Banner. All inquiries will be answered; however, only those selected for publication will include approximate value assessments. Furthermore, not all submissions may be published in the Banner due to space considerations.  Please include your name or initials and where you reside. Thank you and happy treasure hunting!

“While cleaning out my in-laws home after their death, we found two of these heavy ashtrays stored away. They are beautifully embossed designs around the edges, with places for holding cigarettes or cigars. The center resembles a town with unusual hats or helmets, long dresses, and an old barrel. Once cleaned up would be an unusual addition to anyone’s collection.”

— Libby Craver, Creagerstown, MD

Unfortunately, in the United States, these mid-century brass or metal ashtrays are only worth about $10.00 a piece, and that’s on the high-end. Rust and corrosion on the surface only depreciates its appearance and any value. If marketed overseas, in the Middle East, Orient, and Europe, where smoking is prevalent, your ashtrays might be of some value. A similar one is selling on a popular vintage sales site for $85.00, shipped from Israel. Consider your cigar-worthy ashtray a trinket in this country and, perhaps, a treasure elsewhere.

My friend, Ruth Lightfoot of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, shared two interesting objects from yesteryear with me recently. The first is a couple of darning eggs.

She inherited these treasures from her grandmother, who worked at Corning Glass Works in Corning, New York. Darning eggs are also known as darning balls or mushrooms. They were once common objects, used to stretch a torn sock, sweater, or glove, for ease when mending. Early darning eggs were made from gourds or cowrie shells, but by the 19th century, these interesting objects were artfully composed of colored glass, pottery, ivory, silver, or wood.

Ruth’s grandmother’s darning eggs are hand-blown, delicate and decorative, with colorful swirled glass. This pair is small, measuring no more than five inches in length. They date from the late 19th century. The Corning Glass Works have been in business for over 160 years. The museum has a collection of darning eggs, dating from earliest years of operation to about 1930. Highly collectible, these once utilitarian tools run the gamut in prices.  Plain wooden darning balls can bring as little as four dollars to hundreds of dollars for older, more elaborate designs. These Corning glass darning eggs can still be found. They average about $50.00 a piece in the current market.


The other piece Ruth shared with me is a very small, white vase or bowl, given to her by her son, who received it from his friend’s mother, who identified it as two hundred years old.

Often, treasures come to us with incomplete stories and Ruth wondered its history and value. This beauty is not as old as claimed, but still dates over one hundred years. It’s an opalescent glass bowl or vase, manufactured by the Jefferson glass company of Steubenville, Ohio between 1900 and 1907.  A similar one in green was produced as part of their novelty glass division.  Jefferson made affordable, quality glass that was marketed as competitive with the finest glassware of Europe. Although I didn’t uncover the name of this pattern, the green example was selling for about $45.00.  Jefferson glass is plentiful on vintage and antique bidding sites. Still, I appreciate this pretty example of white opalescent glass from the beginning of the 20th century.

The 61st annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held at Catoctin High School, located at 14745 Sabillasville Road in Thurmont, on September 8-10, 2017.

Entry of exhibits will take place on Thursday evening, September 7, from 6:00-9:00 p.m., and on Friday, September 8, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., in the new gymnasium and in the agriculture department area.

Judging will begin at 12:30 p.m.  Commercial exhibits may be entered on Friday, September 8, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The show will open to the public at 6:00 p.m.

On Friday night, the 2017-2018 Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador will be announced. In addition, this year’s program will honor the 50th anniversary of St. John’s Christian Preschool and the 50th anniversary of WTHU Radio. The baked goods auction will begin immediately following the program (approximately 8:00 p.m.); the grand champion cake, pie, and bread will be sold at 9:00 p.m.

On Saturday, September 9, the show opens at 9:00 a.m. Activities include a Market Goat, Beef, Sheep and Swine Fitting & Showing contest, from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., at the Ag Center at the school.

The Pet Show will be held at 10:30 a.m., outside the front of the school. Categories include: cat with prettiest eyes; cat with longest whiskers; cutest cat; best-trained pet; dog with wiggliest tail; prettiest dog (25 pounds and under); prettiest dog (26 pounds and over); best costumed pet; pet with most spots; largest pet (by height); most unusual pet; smallest pet. A petting zoo, farm animals display, face painting, and pony rides will be held from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. At 4:00 p.m., there will be a martial arts program in the old gymnasium.

The Thurmont Grange will serve its Roasted Turkey and Country Ham Buffet dinner in the school cafeteria on Saturday night, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. Entertainment will be performed in the auditorium by the Catoctin Mountain Boys, from 6:00-7:00 p.m.; from 7:00-9:00 p.m. will be the Taylor Brown “Elvis Show.” There will be no admission charged for the entertainment.

The 43rd annual Catoctin FFA Alumni Beef, Sheep & Swine sale will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Ag Center area on Saturday night.  There will be approximately 8 goats, 9 steers, 22 hogs, and 10 lambs for sale by 4-H and FFA members.  Buyers are welcome to come to support these individuals and their livestock projects

Activities begin on Sunday, September 10, at 9:00 a.m., with the Goat Show, followed by the Dairy Show and Decorated Animal Contest. The decorated animal contest will begin at noon.

The petting zoo, farm animals display, face painting, and pony rides will be held 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

At 12:00 p.m., the Catoctin FFA Alumni Chicken Bar-B-Que will be held in the cafeteria. At 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., there will be a martial arts program in the old gymnasium.

The 38th annual Robert Kaas Horseshoe Pitching Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m, and the Log Sawing Contest will be held at 1:00 p.m., under the tent in the ag shop area. Another new and fun feature is a Peddle Tractor Contest for kids, which will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the Ag Center area. Prizes will be awarded.

The Catoctin Mountain Boys Band will perform in the auditorium from 12:30-1:30 p.m., and the Taylor Brown “Elvis Show” will be performed from 1:30-3:00 p.m. There will be no admission charge for the entertainment.

Exhibits must be removed on Sunday, September 10, from 3:00-6:00 p.m. Please note the new deadline to pick up items.

The Community Show booklets can be found in local Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and surrounding area businesses in late July or early August. New residents of the community are urged to enter and be a part of the Community Show, the largest in the State of Maryland.

There are changes to the photography department in the junior, youth, and adult categories this year, and other minor additions and deletions will be made in some of the departments.  Departments include: Fresh Fruits, Fresh Vegetables, Home Products Display, Canned Fruits, Canned Vegetables, Jellies & Preserves, Pickles, Meats, Baked Products, Sewing & Needlework, Flowers and Plants, Arts, Paintings & Drawings, Crafts, Photography, Corn, Small Grains and Seeds, Eggs, Nuts, Poultry & Livestock, Dairy, Goats, Hay, Junior Department and Youth Department. There is no entry fee.

Please visit the website for updated information at  www.thurmontemmitsburg or pick up a booklet when available in late July, early August. Entry tags will also be available for exhibitors to complete and bring with their entries at the Thurmont Library, Eyler’s Flea Market, Thurmont Feed Store, and the Thurmont Economic Development Office, located in Thurmont and at E Plus Copy Center & Promotions and Zurgable Hardware in Emmitsburg.

The Community Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin FFA Alumni, the Maryland State Grange, and the Maryland State Agricultural Fair Board.

Memory Lapse

by Valerie Nusbaum

I woke up this morning with the day’s agenda already in my head.  My plan was to get in at least two miles on the treadmill, do some ironing, clean out the cabinets in my office, then clean myself up and meet Randy at his parents’ house at 2:30 p.m. It might not sound like much of an agenda, but these things were in addition to all of my other regular chores. Please keep that in mind.  Also, I’m a lot slower than I used to be.

It was 6:15 a.m., and I went downstairs to pour a bowl of cereal and make a cup of tea. I had already checked the weather for today and the coming week, checked my email, done a bit of fiddling with my Etsy shop, and taken a look at a new painting I’d posted on Facebook.

I was struggling to remember the name of the beautiful little city Randy and I had visited in Michigan last summer. The name just wouldn’t come to me, even though I could see details of our trip clearly in my mind.  This happens to me a lot. My friend, Joanie, calls it “losing her nouns.” Evidently it happens to a lot of us.

While my tea was heating, I noticed an offensive odor in the kitchen. I remembered that I had put some asparagus in the trash the night before. I changed the trash bag, wiped the trash can and lid with a bleach wipe, and sprayed some air freshener in the kitchen. I checked on the tomato plants growing on my windowsill and reminded myself to water them later. Darn it! I still couldn’t remember the name of the Michigan city, but I finally did remember that the Christmas shop there was called Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland.

After breakfast, I cleaned up the kitchen, called my mom, and gave up on the crossword puzzle I’d been working on while eating. Someone told me that doing crossword puzzles helps to strengthen our brains. I can’t remember who said that. Mom asked me if I had any taco chips, and if I would bring them with me to lunch tomorrow. Lest I forget, I got out the bag and set it on the counter.

It was 7:45 a.m. I still didn’t remember the name of the city, but I kept trying as I tended to some laundry, made the bed, and put on my exercise clothes and shoes. After a little work on my column, I did a mile on the treadmill. Sometimes, exercise helps me to clear my head but I still couldn’t remember the name of the city. It felt like cheating as I sat down at the computer and looked it up. Frankenmuth!  The city in Michigan is called FRANKENMUTH, people! If you happen to see me at the grocery store, please remind me of that. It will eventually stick in my mind. A while back, I went through the same thing with actress Rosario Dawson.  I couldn’t remember her name to save my life. Now I don’t remember why I wanted to know it.

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Live with Kelly & Ryan on television, and I swear I just heard Kelly Ripa say that she can’t remember anything. Ryan Seacrest also said that his parents are friends with a couple whose names are Jack and Suzanne. Randy used to work for a couple named Jack and Suzanne. Oddly enough, they were originally from Michigan. I wonder if they came from Frankenmuth?

I ironed five items and wondered why the seams never line up on shirts and pants.

Then, I remembered that I needed to wrap some gifts to take to Mom’s luncheon tomorrow, and buy some crescent rolls for my cheese puffs. I knew there was something else I’d promised to take along, but I didn’t remember what. Meanwhile, Ryan was telling a story about him not recognizing some members of a band. I thought to myself, “Wait until you’re a little older, Seacrest.  It gets worse.”

Seriously, how often do you walk into a room and not remember what you went there for? I’m very easily distracted, too, so even if I do remember why I’m there, chances are I’ll see three other things I need to do and forget my glass of water.  I’ll do the three things and walk out of the room feeling good that I’ve knocked some chores off my list, and then I’ll wonder why I’m thirsty.

Whenever I leave the house, I do a mental checklist. I find that if I say something out loud, I tend to remember doing or seeing it, so I go through the house and say, “Curling iron unplugged, stove turned off, thermostat set, toilet not running, and door locked.”

Then I go back in the house and get my sunglasses, which I’ve forgotten. My neighbors all think I talk to myself and they tend to stay away.

Well, my friends, it’s back to the treadmill for me now. Then, I’ll clean out the cabinets, wrap the gifts, finish my chores, and head out. I hope Randy remembers to meet me. He forgets things sometimes, too.