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Nancy Gearhart Rice, Thurmont

A way to take one’s mind off the troubled times we now live in is to relive the past with memories. I have called Thurmont my home since the 1950s, so there’s no doubt I’ve seen many changes. 

I went to Thurmont High School and learned along with students in grades 1-12, all in the same building. No bad memories stand out from my school years. I took schoolwork seriously and always aimed for good grades.

After high school, in 1962, I was hired by the town clerk, Mr. Guy Frushour, for the position of secretary in the Thurmont Town Office.  Although my job title was “secretary,” I wore many hats.

The town’s office building was fairly new, about five years old at that time and became my workplace for the next 25 years. I joined Pauline Firor and Annabelle Taylor in the front office. The public works department was headed by Bill Rice, superintendent, and the following workers: Joe Fraley, Dalton Perry, Harry Sharer, Paul Sweeney, Charles Willhide, Raymond Knott, Manuel Willard, Charles Yingling, Paul Shaffer, Johnny Robinson, Ellsworth Poole, and Kermit Riffle.

Mr. Frushour was a very frugal person, but he was easy to get along with and delighted in telling us stories of his life. He loved talking about his college years at Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg. He walked from Graceham to the college every day. Sometimes, he was fortunate enough to get a ride. He proudly told us how many footsteps it took to get there. He didn’t have a driver’s license or a car and walked to and from work each day. I would sometimes offer to drive him home, but he usually worked past quitting time.

The electricity and water bills were all computed and written by hand, without the use of adding machines. We had a good supply of scrap paper on which to do the computations. Annabelle would take cards that she had prepared ahead with the customer’s name, account number, and the previous month’s meter reading, and she would transfer the present reading from the meter books to get the month’s kilowatt hour (kWh) usage. Pauline and I would check her subtraction and prepare the customer’s bill. We used pre-calculated rate cards to get the kWh cost, then we computed the sales tax and wrote in the amount due using ink pens. We had to make two copies of the bill (not carbon copies): one for the office and one for the customer. I would then take Pauline’s stack of bills and check all her figures; likewise, she would check mine. 

When a customer’s electric or water bills were past due, one could expect a knock on his/her door by Mr. Frushour. He would walk to their home or catch a ride on a town vehicle and attempt to collect the payment or set up a payment plan. The delinquency rate was very low. The town office hours were 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. until noon on Saturdays. 

Each week, usually Wednesday, the parking meter money was collected by someone on the police force. After a meter maid was hired, she did that job.  The coins would be dumped on a large table in our office, and two of us would separate the coins and wrap them by hand, except for the pennies.  These were wrapped using a hand-crank coin-wrapping machine. 

The office was a very comfortable place to work. No freebies were offered. We paid ten cents for a cup of coffee, and a soda machine provided nickel cokes. On Christmas Eve, the employees would be treated to a Christmas lunch. It was held in the stock room on a makeshift table of plywood, and we would get to go home a couple hours early. The office had one adding machine (hand-crank, not electric) that was shared by the three of us. We had manual typewriters, and the office functioned well with one telephone. I was responsible for accounts payable and payroll. Every check was hand written.

I was also secretary to Thurmont Police Chief Clarence Hagelin. On occasion, he would call me in at night to type the statement of persons detained or to type emergency paperwork. There was no copy machine; carbon paper was used. We did whatever it took to get things done.

I was the recording secretary for the board of commissioners for about 20 years. No tape recorder was used. I took notes in shorthand at all meetings and then typed the minutes, which were put into binders having pre-numbered pages.   

In 1964, I was part of the very first committee formed to initiate planning and zoning in Thurmont. Public hearings were held in the auditorium of the Thurmont High School. A few meetings became a rather noisy scene. The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission was then formed, and I was appointed executive secretary. I processed the very first zoning permits for the citizens of Thurmont. I believe the charge was $3.00.

Mr. Frushour became ill in 1966, and his position was filled by Glenn Nikirk. Mr. Nikirk was also zoning administrator. During his time, the office became more modernized. He was instrumental in getting the first grants for the town. In 1978, Mr. Nikirk resigned to take a position with the City of Frederick. Mayor C. Ray Weddle asked me to accept the position of zoning administrator, which I did and served in that capacity for nearly 10 years.

During these years, I also became the unofficial town office historian and answered inquiries from many seeking information about their ancestors.  Here’s one such letter, sent from Putnam, CT. in 1964.

Addressed To: “Either Town Manager, Selectman, Mayor or whoever is in charge of Thurmont, Maryland.”

“To whom it may concern; In 1928 I was shown by a person, a little white cottage at a corner in Thurmont, Md. on the road to Baltimore. Now, I am told there never was a house there. I never took a drop in my life. I’m 84, so there is something or someone cockeyed. Enclosed is a stamped, self-addressed envelope for an answer. My defunct wife was born there in 1897, April 2nd.”

After exchanging a couple letters with the sender to gather more information, we determined the location of the house in question.

Thurmont was a small town back then and much less populated. We knew every resident and most everything about them. The majority of the residents came in person to pay utility bills, usually by cash. 

I am proud to have known and worked under Mayors Donald L. Lewis, Roy W. Lookingbill, C. Ray Weddle, and James F. Black, and I feel fortunate to have watched our town grow over the past 70-plus years.

I can still remember:

The Zimmerman ladies, wearing long dresses and standing on their side porch (later removed) at the stone house on the corner of West Main Street and Altamont Avenue.

Buck Lewis walking from his gas station to direct traffic at the square when the fire alarm sounded.

Ice cream sundaes from Domingue’s and Donald Lewis’ soda fountains.

Buying clothing and shoes at Shappy’s on the Square.

The canning factory in operation.

The State Theatre.

Donald and Freida Lewis’ card and gift shop and Toy Land.

The Thurmont train station in operation.

Both the Dixie Diner and Davy’s Diner on Water Street.

And that is how some things used to be. I am hoping this stirs the minds of the few residents of Thurmont who can remember these times.

The Western Maryland Train Station, taken looking west from Boundary Avenue across the main line. At the left can be seen one of the water towers used to water the engines as they stopped in Thurmont.

Photo of the Dixie Diner, taken in 1939. The Dixie Diner was built in the late 1930s using an old H&FRR car by Mary and Leonard Fogle. After several years, the Dixie was enlarged by adding a second trolley car to the far end. It was operated by several individuals over the years, including Mary Fogle, Bill Houck, Audie and Audrey Moore, and Myrtle and Jim Steele.  The restaurant sat on Water Street at the Frederick Road intersection between the Fogle’s house and garage. The Center of Life Chiropractic Center sits in this general vicinity today.

This photograph (above) of Christmas lights at the Square in Thurmont dates from the early 1960s. All the businesses were all lit up, with the most prominent being Donald and Freda Lewis’s Corner Store.

The Lewis’s purchased this business in 1952 from the Wisotzkey Brothers. The store featured an amazing soda fountain bar along the far wall, a great selection of candies, cards, gifts, magazines, and of course, Toy Land upstairs. Lewis’s was located on the Square at the intersection of East Main Street and Water Street.

The next storefront down East Main Street also belonged to the Lewis’s and housed the Lewis Sporting Good Store. Donald was an avid fisherman and was always willing to offer advice about equipment or the best spots to fish. One of the most interesting features of the building was the corner door seen here; the Thurmont Bank building across the street also featured a corner door. Donald and Freda were very involved in the town (Donald was a Thurmont Mayor and Frederick County Commissioner) and loved by everyone. Freda died in 2004 and Donald in 2018.

On the second floor of the Wisotzkey store on the square was Toy Land! This was the place to go to see toys of all kinds, including bikes, doll houses, games, sleds, drums, baby buggies, swing sets, child-sized chairs, dart boards, and lots of other wonderful toys. Donald Lewis kept Toy Land open for many years as well. Pictured (from left): Unknown lady, Mary Mae Wisotzkey, Donnie Marshall, Roy Wisotzkey, Elizabeth Wisotzkey, and Doris Fitzgerald.

Buck Lewis at his Sinclair Gas and Service Station. After Buck closed the station, the building served as an ice cream parlor and a seafood/sandwich shop.

Thurmont Mayor James Black signing a document in the meeting room at the old town offices, located at 10 Frederick Road.

Lisa C. Cantwell

Seven female combat Veterans enjoyed a four-day getaway recently at Heroes Ridge, a 275-acre retreat complex located atop Raven Rock Mountain near Fairfield, Pennsylvania. Activities included ATV riding on the wooded trails, horseback riding, roping, swimming, painting, yoga, karaoke, dancing around the firepit and a carriage ride tour of the Gettysburg battlefield.  The ladies also enjoyed getting their nails groomed during a special “Spa Day” themed luncheon.

“Females are often the forgotten Veterans,” said Cindy McGrew, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Operation Second Chance (OSC) that manages the gated retreat camp.  Leah, one of the attendees from Kansas City and a Navy veteran agreed, “We, as a society, have to begin thinking that Veterans might be women, too.” She relayed the license plate frame on her car reads “U.S. Navy Retired” and that people often remark, “Please thank your husband for his service.” “I told them, ‘It’s ME’! That people who serve are both men AND women.” 

According to the VA website, more than two million women Veterans reside in the U.S. In 2021, the U.S. Department of Defense recorded that women made up 17 percent of the active-duty force and 21 percent comprised the National Guard/Reserve population. The VA states that women are the fastest growing group in the Veteran population. 

The gathering at Heroes Ridge offered these minority service members a safe and fun environment in which to share their experiences with one another, thereby supporting each one’s journey of healing and recovery. Leah shared, “Being here has been so important to my recovery, I just don’t feel like I fit in unless I’m with other female vets.”  Accompanied by her service dog, “Garet,” she also shared that she was celebrating her 46th birthday, “My injuries had me in a coma for four weeks. I was told I’d never live past 40 and that I’d never walk again. Well, here I am!” All of the women at the retreat presented her with a round of happy birthday wishes and personal tributes. She shared that her favorite experience during the weekend was around the campfire, as the ladies sang and danced in train formation when they found out it was her birthday.  She also loved swimming in the pool with her dog. Leah has known Cindy McGrew for six years and noted, “Everything Cindy does in her life is for veterans, and that’s what Heroes Ridge is all about.” 

Theresa, an Army Veteran from Southern Maryland, said this was her second trip to Heroes Ridge. McGrew met her at Walter Reed Hospital over 12 years ago. “She couldn’t walk or talk. She’s come such a long way! Her road to recovery has been a difficult one,” McGrew said.

At dinner, Theresa shared her story of overcoming serious injuries with her comrades. She gave Cindy McGrew much praise saying, “She saved my life!” McGrew quickly responded, “Oh no! I didn’t do that. God did!” Theresa has recently been hired by McGrew as an intern with OSC.

“What I love about this particular retreat is that it caters to women exclusively. We can just enjoy some fun in a non-competitive atmosphere,” Theresa observed. “To be able to connect with other women vets and experience new things, share stories, learn what works and what doesn’t is invaluable. It’s reassuring just knowing there are others that understand.” Recognizing the need for female Veterans to connect, she began a group for this underserved population that meets monthly in her community. Her favorite activity at the retreat was horseback riding, noting that experience was much better the second time around.

She said, “It was so calming, and I felt empowered. Riding gave me a sense of accomplishment.”  She recently completed a research course at Harvard and hopes to apply her knowledge toward a future study on women in military service. 

In addition to fully funded retreats at Heroes Ridge, the highly rated non-profit has other getaway locations for Veterans nationwide in Texas, Florida, Colorado, Montana, and South Dakota, to name a few. To date, OSC has provided over $16 million to assist our nation’s heroes and their families in the form of mortgage and rent payments, airline and Amtrack tickets, lodging, essential living expense items, and recreation and entertainment fees.

For more information on retreats for Veterans and their families at Heroes Ridge at Raven Rock and about Operation Second Chance (OSC), please visit the website at

Cover Photo Lead-In: Leah gives “Cactus” a pat during riding and roping activities at Heroes Ridge.

Note: All Veterans requested that their first name only be used.

Sara and Kimberly enjoy the thrills of ATV riding during Heroes Ridge Women Veterans Retreat.

Pool playtime with the service dogs at Heroes Ridge Women Veterans Retreat.

Chris, a combat Veteran, mounted on “Pepsi” at Heroes Ridge. She’s being led by CEO and founder, Cindy McGrew.

How the Breakup of a Continent Helped Prevent the Breakup of a Country

Richard D. L. Fulton

The Battle of Gettysburg, which resulted in an important stalemate between Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Union General George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac on July 1 through July 3, 1863, prevented the advance of the Confederate Army through Pennsylvania.

Had the Army of Northern Virginia defeated the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, the Confederates could have advanced onto a number of  Pennsylvania and Maryland cities, and even Washington, D.C.

Essentially, much of the outcome of the battle was settled some 175 million years ago, and further forged by tens of millions of years of weathering, which further sculpted the primordial Gettysburg landscape into the killing fields of 1863.

The real battle, as such, began during the Jurassic Period, as the North American continent was ripped apart—in geologic slow motion—of its African counterpart during a geologic phenomenon known as continental drift.  It was during this cataclysmic event that also gave birth to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Jurassic Period was the central period of time some refer to as being the Age of the Dinosaurs, but the Jurassic Period was also marked as having been a period of cataclysmic geological events—massive earthquakes and the building up of massive magma chambers, comprised of molten rock and minerals—beneath the earth. 

As the North American plate and the African plate drifted further apart, the fire and fury of geological rage was tempered as the distance between the two departed continents drifted further apart. Massive earthquakes petered out, and magma chambers that remained concealed beneath the surface hardened into a rock type known as diabase.

Much of the region at the time that the magma chambers had formed was covered with thick beds of red shale and sandstone that had been laid down as mud during the previous period (Late Triassic). The magma chambers penetrated the lower shale and sandstone layers of the Late Triassic but did not pierce completely through them to reach the surface. If the magma had broken through, they would have developed into surficial volcanoes. 

Thus trapped, the magma slowly hardened into diabase, a rock type more weathering resistant than either the overlying shale or sandstone. As a result, over millions of years, the beds of shale and sandstone were weathered down, exposing the more resistant diabase.

The end result was that the hills and ridges of Gettysburg were formed by the tough diabase, and the ground level and lower elevations remained in the hands of the Late Triassic rocks (dubbed the Triassic basins).

So how did this impact the Battle of Gettysburg?

In the 19th Century (and before), most battles were fought for the main purpose of seizing the high ground (in the case of Gettysburg, the diabase hills and ridges). Not only did the high ground offer an advantage of observing enemy troop movements, but also afforded more defensive positions than if the armies had tried to defend themselves on lower ground (the shale valleys and flatter areas of Gettysburg).

During the Battle of Gettysburg, typical “high ground” features that were composed of diabase included the Devil’s Den, Big and Little Round Tops, Cemetery Ridge (which included the “High Water Mark” of Pickett’s Charge), Cemetery Hill, Seminary Ridge, Culps Hill, etcetera.

Much of the three-day battle pivoted on the effort to retain or capture these key positions. In fact, the epic climax of the battle was when the Confederate Army tried to drive the Union defenders off the Cemetery Ridge by marching three-quarters of a mile across a Triassic basin to assault the diabase ridge defended by the Union forces.

The Confederate forces had attempted the previous day to strike at the flanks of Cemetery Ridge, Culp’s Hill, and Little Round Top—both diabase and both attacked from Triassic basin formations—and both failed.

The 175-million-year-old magma chambers—created by the break up of a continent—proved resistant to time, and resistant to capture in 1863, and prevented that battle from being the one that might have assured the breakup of the country.

Courtesy of the Gettysburg NPS

View of the Triassic basin from the diabase hill known as Little Round Top.

“The Angle,” the farthermost point at which the Confederates penetrated the diabase ridge called Cemetery.

by James Rada, Jr.


Approved Bids

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently approved a bid for a new water department truck to replace a 2007 utility bed truck. Three bids were received, and the mayor and commissioners accepted the $72,504 bid from Crouse Ford in Taneytown for a new truck.

The mayor and commissioners also approved a bid for sludge line valve replacements and a water line installation at the wastewater treatment plant for $87,855. Mid-Atlantic Utilities of Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, will do the work.

Annual Donations Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently made their annual donations to local organizations in town that provide much-needed services to residents. Guardian Hose Company received $30,000. The Thurmont Community Ambulance Company received $30,000. The Thurmont Food Bank received $6,000, and the Thurmont Ministerium received $3,000.

Ordinance Changes Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved changes to the town ordinance to restrict the type of animals that are allowed within the town limits. The changes made to the “Animals” chapter will allow the code enforcement officer the ability to issue citations and take other actions to correct a problem in town of people having what many people would consider livestock in their backyards. In recent months, some people with an abundance of animals in their yards have caused problems for their neighbors that include smells, mosquitos, noise, and rats. The changes made to the “Parks” chapter will prohibit horses and ponies from town parks and trails unless they have a permit issued by the town.


Upcoming Election

The 2023 Emmitsburg Town Election will be held on Tuesday, September 26, at 22 East Main Street. The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The office of mayor and one commissioner seat are open for this election. Currently, commissioners Tim O’Donnell and Frank Davis have filed to run for mayor. Former commissioner Glenn Blanchard has filed to run for commissioner.

New Zoning Designation Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to add an Economic Development Flex District (Floating Zone) for sites that are larger than 25 acres in the B-2, ORI, I-P, and C-R districts.

Appointments Made

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners re-appointed Wayne and Sandy Slaughter to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. Wayne’s term runs from September 8, 2023, to September 8, 2025. Sandy’s term runs from September 7, 2023, to September 7, 2025.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners appointed election judges for the town election in September. Sharon Hane will serve as chief judge. Tammy May and Lynn Orndorff will serve as judges. Charlotte Mazaleski will serve as the greeter/alternate judge.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

The school year has started, and we all need to be extra careful while driving on our local and county roads and state highways. First and foremost, we must be aware of the kids crossing our streets. There are crosswalks at all intersections in Thurmont, although they may not be marked. State law requires you to stop at any marked street crossing if people are in the crosswalk or stepping into the crosswalk. This rule should also apply to every intersection if children are crossing or entering the crossing area. As often as kids are told to look both ways before crossing, we all know they sometimes do not. Please keep in mind that kids will also cross streets at any point and can walk out from between parked cars. Be aware of speed zones near schools and slow down to the speed limit posted for traffic during school hours. We also need to be aware of kids getting on and off school buses. You are required to stop for all school buses headed in either direction when the red lights are flashing. School buses will flash their yellow lights as a warning that they are preparing to stop. Be sure to stop with plenty of room between you and the bus. The only exception is if you are traveling in the opposite direction on a multi-lane highway with the lanes separated by a barrier, grass, or paved median. Please keep an eye out for our children and make sure they get to and from school safely.

The 67th Annual Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show is being held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 8, 9, and 10. Be sure to come up and enjoy a weekend of great entertainment, agricultural displays, delicious food, amazing displays of art, photography, baking, canning, sewing, knitting, flower arranging, and other crafts. The show starts Friday evening, with the opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. followed by the baked goods auction at 7:30 p.m. All three days will feature agriculture displays of livestock and equipment. Saturday starts with the Beef, Sheep, and Swine Show and the Market Goat Fitting and Show. Come and see how much effort the young ladies and gentlemen of the FFA invest in their Ag displays. 

The Town of Thurmont will be holding an election to fill two Board of Commissioner seats on Tuesday, October 31. There are some important dates to keep in mind leading up to the election. The Nominating Convention will be held on September 26; this is when candidates will be nominated and begin their campaign. The last day you can register to vote is on October 3. If you are already registered for state and national elections, you are registered locally as well. You can register to vote at the Thurmont Town Office during regular business hours. Absentee Ballots will be available starting on October 18. Contact the Thurmont Town Office for Absentee Ballots. The last day to apply for an Absentee Ballot is October 24.

Colorfest is fast approaching and now is the time to get permits and secure a spot if you are setting up to sell items that weekend. This year, Colorfest will be held on Saturday, October 14, and Sunday, October 15.  As usual, there will be lots of activity going on the entire week leading up to Colorfest. Preparations will be getting underway for security, sanitation, and transportation, and vendors will be setting up. Thurmont is widely known for all of the yard sales that pop up Wednesday through Friday. So, be aware of cars stopping to visit yard sales throughout the week. There will be no parking signs posted on select roadways, and we ask that you honor those signs during the times noted.

The town is working to organize the upcoming construction project on North Church Street. This will entail the replacement of water and wastewater mains on North Church from the railway bridge to out past Sheetz. Residents and businesses on North Church Street have received notification about the project and what they should expect as the work progresses. During the majority of the construction, one lane of North Church will be open, with flaggers guiding traffic through the work area. The contractors will be notified regarding the times when school buses and vehicles will be coming from CHS, and they will attempt to accommodate the traffic patterns whenever possible. I encourage you to find alternate routes to your destinations during this construction. All businesses will be open during the construction of the North Church Street improvements. Once the infrastructure work is completed, the entire roadway will be repaved. This project will get underway in late October and should continue for six months.

As always, I can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 301-606-9458 for any comments, questions, or concerns.


Mayor Don Briggs

As I write this, one of my last two monthly mayor articles in The Catoctin Banner, I want to thank the residents, businesses, and the town staff for the honor to work with you over my four terms—12 years—it has been my humble honor. The two-fold measure of the office is to serve and govern. Sometimes, we were at odds with the governing piece, but at the foundation of every discussion was always our town charter and town code.

Together, we have done a lot. We did “take back” the square, re-did it, as it is the “foyer” of all our homes. We filled the sidewalk gaps, so now the town is connected from Tract Road to Emmit Gardens, Northgate, FEMA, and Silo Hill. We now have basically a new pool and changing rooms, a dog park, a redone bandstand, all-accessible children’s playground, and paved gaps to the walking path in Community Park. Through begging and cajoling, we got Ryan Homes back to finish the remainder of Brookfield after they swore they’d never come back here after being rudely dismissed some 15 years ago. Being recognized by the state as a Sustainable Community, the initial step to becoming a Main Street town and the thousands of dollars in grants to downtown building owners that equates to over $1 million in improvements. The three corners of the downtown square buildings benefit from that program. Finally, the Mount is coming downtown with programs and classes. Our solar field provides 94 percent of the town’s energy accounts. Adding energy saving LED street lighting, electric charging stations, and a town electric car. The thousands of trees we planted. To wit: we have the town recognized as one of the top 10 most beautiful small towns in Maryland. We did all of this together.

August started out with still trying to assist in any way the sponsors of a new Catholic High School to find a home in Emmitsburg. They have the students, Maryland Educational approved time-tested G.K. Chesterton-shaped curriculum, and the teachers. Miraculously, it has been accomplished. Fall classes will first be held at St. Anthony’s and then come into Emmitsburg around the first of the year. Congratulations to the sponsors, the Crook family.

August for me started out with attending a presentation by members of the Frederick County Economic Development Office to a group of town businesspeople over a light breakfast at the Carriage House Inn. The topic was Emmitsburg progressing on being a Maryland Main Street affiliate to full participation in the program and many additional opportunities. It was an excellent presentation, adding to the groundwork that has been done to improve the setting of our wonderful town.

That same night, Lib and I attended the Emmitsburg’s Annual National Night Out tribute held in the Community Park; we had the honor of serving, along with the town staff, pizza donated by Tuscany’s Pizzeria, along with hamburgers and cheeseburgers donated by McDonald’s, water, popsicles, school bags, and more. The weather cooperated with a cooler, less humid evening to befittingly honor our guests, the Sheriff’s deputies, and members of the Vigilant Hose Company. An ice cream truck, local churches, vendors, and children amusements, all lent to a wonderful evening.

 On August 8, the County Historic Preservation Commission approved the expansion of the Emmitsburg National Register Historic District to include West Lincoln Avenue, Emmitsburg’s historic black neighborhood. Ever since writing 20 years ago a thesis paper on black education opportunities in Northern Frederick County, I have pursued including West Lincoln Avenue in the Emmitsburg National Registry of Historic Places. West Lincoln Avenue is a history-rich African American homestead area that was not included in the original district. Thank you to Joy Shaffer with the County Executive Office and Elizabeth Comer of the Catoctin Furnace Society for pushing and pulling through.

 In honor of our sister City Lutsk in Ukraine, a Ukrainian needlework exhibit was held in the Emmitsburg Library in August, honoring the Ukrainian Day of Independence. On August 19, the second annual jointly-sponsored town and Mount event welcomed the new freshmen class at the Mount with an array of music, swimming, food, and vendors. August 22 featured a ribbon-cutting for the Mount Seminary Blessed Stanley Rother House of Formation in a wing of the Basilica building. All of this in a quiet town. September 22 will be the Blessing and Dedication of the Seton Shrine Visitors Center and Museum. Don’t forget the 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show on September 8-10 at Catoctin High School.

 Best wishes from Lib and me for a Happy Labor Day holiday! Don’t forget to vote in the town mayoral and commissioner election on Tuesday, September 22, at the deputy station on East Main Street. They are all really good people who love Emmitsburg.


Burgess Heath Barnes

Greetings and welcome back to school to all the students, teachers, and staff. My wish is that this is a safe and productive school year for you all.

As all residents should have seen on their last water bills, we are in the process of changing out the water meters. This will allow us to begin taking electronic payments; however, we cannot move forward until all meters are updated. It does require the tech to enter your home, as stated on the water bills. Please be sure to set up your appointment with them. The sooner we get them all changed out in town, the sooner we can move forward with the system that many of you have asked for regarding electronic payments for your water bills.

I am happy to announce that groundbreaking for the new bathrooms on the east side of the park will begin to take place soon. Electricity to the east side of the park has begun as well and will hopefully be completed and run to the stage before the Woodsboro Days festival that is scheduled for October 22. If you are a vendor and would like to participate, please reach out to me.

The latest town hall update is that I signed several documents for the county permits, and we should have the process to start the bidding to build the town hall out by mid-September. This is very exciting, as a groundbreaking will take place shortly after that. With a mild winter, we should be able to be in the building by mid-spring.

The construction of the new skate park should begin in early September. The excitement around it is very high. It will be built between the concession stand and tennis courts. I am very excited to see these projects happening.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at [email protected] or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

German POW Falls for Orrtanna Girl

Richard D. L. Fulton

Based on ‘Nazis’ in Gettysburg: World War II Comes to a Civil War Battlefield by Richard D. L. Fulton, pending publication

Over the course of World War II, three POW camps (they were called PW camps then) were constructed on the Gettysburg National Battlefield Park, one initially on Emmitsburg Road (which held some 400 prisoners) and then two on West Confederate Avenue (with a combined population of 800 prisoners).

The reason the German prisoners were here was to compensate for the loss of young men who had been involved in the local agricultural and canning enterprises and who were drafted or enlisted in the military to help fight the war.

As for escaping, under international law, POW escape cannot be regarded as a crime. When caught they were simply returned to their compound. If it involved a group, they would be split up and sent to different compounds. Escapees could be charged if they committed a crime or crimes during their escape (for example, stealing a vehicle).

German POW Hans Herman Harloff, age 20, a member of German General Rommel’s Afrika Corps, had fallen in love with Pearl Crease of Orrtanna, who worked at the cannery where he was employed. While the cannery was not specified in ensuing reports, Crease’s 2007 obituary stated she “had worked for many years at Krouse Foods in Orrtanna.” Prisoners were not permitted to communicate with civilian co-workers, but Harloff and Crease managed to stay in touch through smuggling letters to one another.

Harloff, along with fellow prisoner Bernard Wagner, 24, a probable prisoner taken during the Normandy invasion, escaped January 4, 1946, from the POW compound that had been located on West Confederate Avenue at the site of a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp. The escapees had found an unguarded corner of the camp and slipped out from between strands of barbed wire.

When recaptured on January 7 near Zora, a little community outside of Carroll County Township, by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, Pennsylvania State Police, and military personnel, the duo reportedly told authorities they had escaped because they just wanted to see America, but Crease’s letters discovered among Harloff’s personal effects told a different story.

Much of the rest of the story comes from the subsequent March 4 testimony of FBI Agent Maurice Carroll that had been given on March 4, leading to arrest warrants being issued, and FBI Agent H.B. Fletcher on the March 11 hearing (before the federal grand jury in Scranton).

As the story unfolded, it was a much bigger case than an otherwise perfectly legal POW escape attempt. The Crease family was implicated in aiding and abetting the escape. 

According to the FBI agents’ testimonies, Harloff and Wagner made their way to the Crease’s home, arriving there around 2:00 a.m., where the family provided the escapees with food, water, and rendered other assistance, directing the escaped prisoners to a vacant house where they could hide.

The family continued to provide the escapees with food and subsequently transported them to an unused barn on the property of Clayton Philips of Emmitsburg, where they were discovered after authorities received a “tip.” The duo was discovered hiding in a straw stack.

The agents testified that letters from Crease to Harloff found among his belongings led investigators to the Crease household and the subsequent arrest of Pearl Crease and her parents, Byron J. and Lovell Herring, with each member being released on $1,000 bail each, pending a trial.

On May 7, the three pled guilty to harboring a German prisoner of war. The parents were each given probationary sentences of a year and a day, and Pearl was given a probationary sentence of two years.

Normally, the charges would have been very severe. But note the date of the offense: January 1946. The war was already over. The Germans were technically no longer prisoners of war and were merely biding their time awaiting repatriation (being returned to their homelands).

The judge stated that, given that the war was over and the “good reputation borne by the Crease family” that “imprisonment would serve no good purpose.”

West Confederate Avenue (McMillan Woods) CCC camp before being converted to a POW camp.

Photo Courtesy of Gettysburg National Park Service

The Day the South Won

Richard D. L. Fulton

Based on The Last to Fall: The 1922 March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg by Richard D. L. Fulton and James Rada, Jr.

We have all been taught that the South “lost” the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, fought when the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, under General Robert E. Lee, collided with the Union Army of the Potomac, under General George Meade.

While one could argue ad infinitum the validity of declaring the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg a Confederate defeat, Confederate forces did, in fact, defeat the Union forces and win the Battle of Gettysburg on that hallowed ground—only 59 years too late.

The year was 1922, four years after the end of the First World War, when more than 5,000 Marines—including the entire Fifth and Sixth Corps—along with their artillery, antiaircraft guns, M1919 tanks, dive and torpedo bombers, scout planes, and observation balloons descended upon Gettysburg—following their week-long, more than 80-mile trek from Quantico, Virginia, to the historic Civil War battlefield of 1863—for their annual summer maneuvers.

The troops left Quantico on June 19, arriving in Gettysburg on June 26. Some of the supplies and equipage were flown in or sent by railroad. It was said that it took the column more than a half hour to pass any given point along the line of the march.

The planned activities were two-fold: to train the troops and to hold public reenactments to promote the Marine Corps in the eyes of the public. The Marines held their public reenactments (specifically reenacting Pickett’s Charge, the game-changer that, on July 3, 1863, concluded the Battle of Gettysburg) on July 1, 3, and 4. The July 1 and July 3 reenactments were held in Civil War fashion, in conformity with the actual charge that occurred.

But the July 4 reenactment was another thing, altogether, because that day’s version of Picket’s Charge would be fought with all of the fire and fury and equipage of a World War I battle. 

“On July 4, the Marines will fight the Battle of Gettysburg as they think it ought to have been fought… with tanks, airplanes, observation balloons and machine guns. They don’t need any rehearsal for this. They learned a good deal about it in France.” The (Baltimore) Sun, June 28, 1922.

Prior to the July 4 battle, the Marines announced that Colonel Frederick L. Bradman would be portraying Confederate General Robert E. Lee, while Major H.B. Pratt would portray Confederate General James Longstreet, and Confederate General George Picket was portrayed by Colonel James K. Tracey.  Apparently, no one was assigned to represent the Union command.

Among the multitude of civilians that had arrived to see the battle was Colonel E.B. Cope, superintendent of the Gettysburg National Military Park, who had actually been attached to Union General Meade’s headquarters at Gettysburg during the July 3, 1863, charge. A number of Veterans of the war were also present to view the reenactment.

The Marines divided up their numbers to create the Union and Confederate forces needed to fight that battle. 

Preparing for battle, the Confederate Marines were able to use their current uniforms by modifying how such was worn, including refiguring the slouch and floppy hats to the appropriate style. Beets were boiled to be used as blood during the battle.

The battle opened on July 4, with an artillery fire and the lofting of a Confederate observation balloon, which immediately triggered a dogfight between Union and Confederate bi-wing aircraft, the highlight of which was the shooting down of the observation balloon, which fell, burning the ground. The pilot threw out a dummy and, shortly after, parachuted himself out of the burning assemblage. The burning balloon landed somewhere on the west side of Seminary Ridge.

Around 10:30 a.m., smoke candles were lit ahead of the massed Confederate infantry to simulate the fog of war that would have been generated by all the mystery and artillery fire of July 3, 1863. Then came the Confederate advance, but unlike the deployment of Southern troops during the actual charge, in which the troops would have advanced in long shoulder-to-shoulder lines, they advanced in Squads and platoons as they would have done in battle in 1922.

The Marines advanced onto Emmitsburg Road, where they deployed machine gun crews and their weapons units, supported by squads of infantry. The (Baltimore) Sun wrote on July 5, “The audience heard only the thunder of artillery and the tat-tat-tat of machine gun and the crack of rifles… while the visible infantry appeared and disappeared within the voluminous amount of smoke.”

As the Marines prepared to advance on what today is referred to as the High Water Mark (which marks the furthest Confederate troops advanced on the July 3, 1863, charge), Confederate dive bombers strafed the Union troops posted behind the stone wall that further denotes the High Water Mark.

Then came the tanks, which The (Baltimore) Sun described as seeming, “Like lazy animals, already gorged with battle and bored with the slaughter, they wobbled through the oat fields, converging on the Codori House, and at a few hundred yards began spitting flame and smoke from their one-pounders.”

Union troops were offering serious resistance in the Codori House and outbuildings, so the Marines ordered up two tanks to take them out. Another two tanks were deployed on the left flank of the Confederate advance. One of the tanks rolled up to the Codori House and fired a smoke round into the house through a window and the Union resistance ceased.

The rifles used in the battle fired blanks, but blanks had not been developed at the time for machine guns, so the machine guns were firing live rounds. Berms had been created a short distance around the Codori Farm, into which the machine gunners directed their fire. The tank more than likely only fired smoke rounds, as well as their machine guns. Every so many Confederate Marines carried shotguns with smoke shells that they would fire into the ground as they progressed to simulate artillery shell impacts.

The Union troops had also created several mock pillboxes between Emmitsburg Road and the High Water Mark, in which they placed their machine guns—probably firing also into the temporary berms—and these were soon silenced by the tanks.

The battle was also monitored by judges, delegating points for gains made or losses taken. When the Confederate Marines cleared all of the Union resistance from Emmitsburg up to the High Water Mark, the battle was called off, and the Confederate Marines were judged to have been the victors. The South had just effectively won the Battle of Gettysburg.

The (Baltimore) Sun wrote, July 5, 1922, “Cemetery Ridge fell today, the blazing hills and knolls that hurled back the Confederate Army’s massed attacks in 1863 were silenced this morning by the United States Marines. Attacking like Indians among the wheat shocks and through the stubble and oat fields, while big guns pounded to pulp and machine guns peppered to death the fortresses that had held the old Union Army safe 59 years ago.”

The Marines left Gettysburg on July 6 and marched back to Quantico. They would not engage a Civil War enemy again until their summer maneuvers in 1923, when they advanced on the New Market Battlefield in Virginia, only this time as Union troops!

  Source: Last to Fall, Fulton/Rada

Three of four “Confederate” tanks await the battle.

Source: Last to Fall, Fulton/Rada

“Confederate” Marine setting up machine guns on Emmitsburg Road.

Source: Last to Fall, Fulton/Rada

“Confederate” Marine platoons assault the Codori House.

by Helen Xia, CHS Student Writer

The title says it all: Is celebrating birthdays becoming less popular?

I was particularly curious about this topic this month because it’s my birthday month! I’m far from alone—did you know that August is the most common birthday month? On the flip side, February is the month with the least births in the United States. If you do the math, you’ll find that nine months back from August lands you around December—a very festive time of the year, indeed.

Ironically, holidays are some of the least common birthdays, including December 25, January 1, October 31, and July 4. Can you guess what the most common birthday is in the United States? It’s an obscure trivia question, so I’ll give you a hint: It’s in September… It’s September 9!

I feel that birthdays become increasingly less relevant as time goes on. When I was younger, I’d receive presents and celebrate with numbered candles. Now, other than having an excuse to eat an entire cake, my birthday is like any other typical day. It’s a little sad, but it’s true. However, is that the case with the general population?

After looking into it a bit, I’ve discovered that how I feel isn’t out of the ordinary. According to YouGov, around 47 percent of Americans feel neutral about their special day, and only 48 percent of people feel happy on their birthdays. Fortunately, 48 percent of people like or love their birthdays, and only 11 percent of people dislike or hate them. Other than happiness, leading sentiments were excitement, indifference, and calmness.

It seems that the attitude toward birthdays is more positive than negative, overall, though there is a very strong group that is simply unconcerned about turning a year older.

Don’t let me deter you from loving birthdays, though! Nine in ten Americans say it’s important to celebrate birthdays, and about 85 perecent of them feel special when their loved ones put a lot of energy into celebrating their day. With that being said, you may be wondering: How exactly do people choose to celebrate their birthdays?

From the same YouGov poll referenced earlier, the organization concluded that the most common American tradition is thanking God for being alive; specifically, 54 percent of the respondents did this nearly every year. Following this is spending time with family, opening presents and cards, and having a special meal or eating cake.

Speaking of cake, can you guess Americans’ least and most favorite birthday cakes? There’s one winner for most favorite, and it’s not a close call: It’s chocolate cake. This is followed by ice cream cake and cheesecake, which is a statistic I didn’t expect. On the other hand, the most disliked cakes are funfetti and carrot cake. I didn’t expect that, either.

There’s still a question I haven’t answered: Why? Why do people like or dislike birthdays? I thought this would be an interesting interview question, so I asked people—both teenagers and adults—to get some insight into this query. What exactly does a birthday stand for to people?

Most of the teenagers I received responses from didn’t feel passionate about their birthdays. “Nothing,” a teenager replied, “usually, it’s just cake.” Similarly, another said, “It’s boring, honestly. I don’t think much about it until it comes up.”

Among the neutral statements were a few saddening ones. “I feel nothing, to be honest,” a teenager commented. “I don’t like celebrating my birthday. It’s just one day closer to death, and it’s [one] day closer to losing the people you love.”

Moving on to the adults: The trend of neutrality continued in the replies from them, as well. “It’s nothing special,” a young adult explained, “It’s just another day.” Another shrugged, “Nothing, I don’t celebrate ‘cause I don’t care. It’s [not] important.”

Thankfully, I did receive some positive remarks this time!

“I feel like birthdays are a happy celebration meant to show appreciation toward the person being celebrated,” an adult elaborated. “Maybe it’s a bit morbid, but [I feel] glad this person was able to live another year with me. I really love celebrating birthdays and keeping notes on things I know people like, so I can get them something related.”

Another answered, “[I] can’t wait [for my birthday.] I like it; it’s exciting! [I] just went out with my friends for a few drinks.”

On that note of birthday tradition, somebody added, “I don’t really celebrate my birthdays, but I chill with my friends.”

The final respondent gave a thoughtful message to everyone: “[Birthdays give] another chance to grow and mature, explore, and learn from mistakes, and you only get so many of those chances in life.”

All of the responses considered, it’s evident that this “special” day isn’t special for everyone, which is understandable. While I struggle sometimes to feel happy about getting a year older, I do think it’s ultimately a day to feel grateful and proud of yourself for making it this far. It wasn’t easy to do so, I’m sure!

In a few weeks, I’ll be seventeen. Regardless of how old I feel, one fact is settling in now: I have a long road ahead of me. I’m almost a legal adult now, which is crazy!

Does anybody have advice on how to handle adulthood? I’m going to need it.

“My birthday cake for my sixteenth birthday! It was a sweet sixteen, indeed.”

Photo by Helen Xia

The 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held at Catoctin High School, 14745 Sabillasville Road in Thurmont, on September 8, 9 and 10, 2023.

The entry of exhibits will take place on Thursday evening, September 7, from 5:30-8:30 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 on Friday, September 8, at 5:30 p.m., and the opening program will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the 45th Annual Community Organization Flag Ceremony. Patriotic music will be performed by the Catoctin High School Band, and the 2023-2024 Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador will be announced. Admission is free, and a silver offering will be received to benefit the Sabillasville Environmental School. Parking is free, provided courtesy of the Thurmont Scout Troop 270. Visitors are encouraged to sign up for door prizes, which will be drawn over the weekend. No animals are allowed inside the school (except service animals).

The Baked Goods Auction will begin immediately following the program (at approximately 7:30 p.m., and the grand champion and reserve champion cake, pie, and bread and junior and youth department champions will be sold at 8:00 p.m.

On Saturday, September 9, the show will be held from 9:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. Activities include a Market Goat, Beef, Sheep and Swine Fitting & Show, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Ag Center at the school. The Thurmont Guardian Hose Company No. 10 and the Emmitsburg Vigilant Hose Company 6 will be conducting fire safety demonstrations, 9:30-10:30 a.m. in front of the school, before the Pet Show.

The Pet Show will be held at 10:30 a.m. outside the front of the school. The petting zoo, farm animals, sow and litter of piglets, pony rides, and face painting will also be held on Saturday and Sunday near the Ag Center area. The Elower-Sicilia Productions dance show will be held in the auditorium at 1:00 p.m., and the Thurmont Academy of Self Defense will provide a martial arts demonstration in the auxiliary gym at 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Mountain Gate Restaurant will cater and serve a roast turkey and baked ham buffet in the school cafeteria, from 3:00-6:30 p.m. on Saturday night, benefitting the Thurmont Grange No. 409. The Gospel Ridge Bluegrass Band will perform in the school auditorium at 6:30 p.m. There will be no admission charge for the entertainment.

The 49th Annual Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters Beef, Sheep & Swine and Market Goat Sale will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Ag Center area on Saturday night, with approximately 50 animals being sold. Buyers are welcome to support the local FFA and 4-H youth with their animal projects.

Activities begin on Sunday, September 10, at 9:00 a.m. with the Goat Show, followed by the Dairy Show.

In the Ag Center area, there will be a petting zoo, sow and litter of piglets, pony rides, and face painting. The Decorated Animal Contest will begin at 11:00 a.m. in the Ag Center area, and prize money will be awarded.

Beginning at 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., Mountain Gate Restaurant will cater and serve a fried chicken and pulled pork BBQ buffet dinner in the school cafeteria, which will benefit the Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters.

A pedal tractor contest for kids will be held on Sunday afternoon at noon in the Ag Center, and the Log Sawing Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m. under the show tent in the Ag Center area, with categories consisting of women’s team, men’s team, men and women’s team, and a children’s division. Prize money will be awarded to winners in each division.

The 42nd Annual Robert Kaas Horseshoe Pitching Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m. on the softball field, and prize money will be awarded.

Elvis Tribute Artist Taylor Brown will perform in the school auditorium on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. There is no admission charge.

Exhibits must be removed on Sunday, September 10, between 3:00-5:30 p.m. Please note the new deadline to pick up items.

Other food vendors at the Community Show throughout the weekend include Creager’s Country Catering, which will be located in the Ag Center area; Glamour View Creamery, which will be located in front of the school; and the Catoctin FFA Chapter.

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

Exhibit 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

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

Pomme Agaçante

So, it’s August. Already. And how do I know? Simple: store displays of school supplies. Now, before I continue, I’d like to alert kiddos in middle school and younger not to read this. Why? I don’t want to stress you out about school! Try to enjoy your summer! Okay, cool. Read on and enjoy, teens and adults.

Thanks to big office supply and grocery stores, kids across the nation are forced to face the cold hard reality that another summer of blissful freedom and fun shall soon draw to an end. Though to be fair, these kiddos are exposed to this idea in July. It’s hard for kids to be innocent and happy when the weight of school “drawing near” is dragging down those little sandaled feet.

But, have no fear! These stores are here to prepare one physically—not mentally because how else would they market so much if they didn’t pry on the fear and insecurity a child and parent feel—with a barrage of folders, binders, endless sheets of looseleaf paper that may never see use, pencils that invariably get lost, and emotional support plushies.

It’s true one must research the market to find the best place to find these goods. And with online shopping and many other suppliers, it’s hard to choose. There are selections of office supply stores and grocery superstores, as well as local stores.

So, which one to go to? Well, as a hardened veteran of school shopping, I can give you the inside scoop.

In terms of a multitude of school supplies to choose from, office supply stores have you covered with top-of-the-line backpacks, folders/notebooks with slick designs, endless pens and pencils for that pesky teacher who wants ridiculously specific writing utensils, and an amazing selection of art supplies. If you want peace of mind as you shop, this is the place for you. Office supply stores emanate a purposeful professional vibe with plenty of space, except for the long line for one cashier open. Yet, if you’re looking to save money…good luck with that one.

The grocery superstores are a tried-and-true supplier of many school products, but these stores have some downfalls.

Good luck with the selection. Scarcity and surplus aren’t just terms kids will learn in biology. Nope, it’s a concept they can learn early, often at the risk of a temper tantrum.

Sure there are four sections of supplies, but they’re close together. Parents have to not only navigate a crowd only armed with a big shopping cart, a reluctant but picky child or two, a wallet that may cry, a scavenger (school supply) list, and waning patience, but must do so amongst kindred spirits with the same objective. Sure, that could result in looks of understanding and helpful collaboration. But we all know the grocery superstore ideology: find something and get out because life’s too short.

What does a grocery superstore have over an office supply store?

Price. Yeah, I said a parent’s wallet may cry, but it’s like a few tears versus the sobbing a wallet would do at a fancy office supply store.

Bribes for wailing kids to quiet down and come to grips with the fact that, no, they can’t have that folder and it won’t make them popular and happy.

Items for adults to get through the entire ordeal? Tylenol, candy bars, and a coffee. In-store Auntie Anne’s and Subway. Need I say more?

As for anyone free of the burden of school shopping, displays are impactful as well. Students feel dread and anxiety, parents feel a headache coming on, and others feel nostalgia with a pang of sadness and jealousy. Ah, to be young again and worry about notebook color over nearsightedness or expiration dates. Creativity has drained from office supplies. Maybe it’s time for a change. Picture this: a new line of briefcases, ranging from glittery cats to robots to rainbows to dinosaurs, coupled with functionality. Pens with emotive faces, pastel memo pads, and bright pink or blue mouses/keyboards gracing drab offices everywhere. Maybe it would make the Monday grind better, especially if the coffee machine had a smiling kitty saying “You can do it!”

There are some positives that come from school shopping. Seeing the innovations of supply makers (baby shark backpack, anyone?) and a bit of excitement or memories, comes to mind. But best of all? Lunchbox snacks are front and center in the food section. Admit it, we all love Lil’ Debbie for their never-changing oatmeal pies and cosmic brownies. The chip multipacks make the commitment to one chip bag less of a conundrum! Fruit Roll up, anyone? And there’s nothing wrong with everyone getting these tasty foods. Everyone needs a boost of glucose and endorphins at lunch. Kids to power those sponges of brains; adults to move and shake the world. Pump your fist to the sky—I don’t care what age you are—and chant “I deserve this!” if you’re in doubt about buying it. There’s no law against having it. Everyone deserves happiness.

That’s all for my monologue. Thanks for reading! Kids, best of luck, and believe in yourself this school year. Parents, do the same and treat yourself. Others? Well, have that nostalgic snack food. Don’t give me excuses. Just enjoy it, because you are deserving of joy.

by James Rada, Jr.


Thurmont Volunteer of the Year Named

The Thurmont Lions Club recently announced at a Thurmont town meeting that Bernie and Joanne Ricketts had been named recipients of the annual Thurmont Volunteer of the Year Award. They are volunteers at the Thurmont Food Bank and help with a variety of jobs that need to be done to have food ready for area families in need.

They received a certificate of appreciation, a gift card to a restaurant, and a $400 donation to a charity of their choice, which, not surprisingly, was the Thurmont Food Bank.

Thurmont Police Officer of the Year Named

Thurmont Police Det. Gerald Bowen was recently named as the Thurmont Police Officer of the Year. He has served with the department since 2013, and his investigations were called “thorough and meticulous.”

Bowen received a certificate of appreciation, a gift card to a restaurant, and a $400 donation to a charity of his choice, which was St. Jude’s Children Hospital.

Town Restricts the Types of Animals in the Town

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners amended the town ordinance to restrict the type of animals that are allowed within the town limits. The changes allow the code enforcement officer the ability to issue citations and take other actions to correct a problem in town of people having what many people would consider livestock in their backyards. In recent months, some people with an abundance of animals in their yards have caused problems for their neighbors that include smells, mosquitos, noise, and rats.

Contract Awarded for Frederick Road Repaving

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners awarded Pleasant’s Construction, Inc. to repave Frederick Road, from Tippin Drive to the Hunting Creek Bridge. There are also sections of curb and gutter that will be removed and replaced. The contract was for $191,470 and will be paid for with Highway User Revenues.  


Sweeney’s Town Service Recognized

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation recognizing Commissioner Cliff Sweeney’s service to the Emmitsburg Lions Club. He has been a member for 15 years and served as president of the club since 2010. During much of the time, he also served as an Emmitsburg town commissioner. The proclamation recognized not only his service but the fact that he is a resource to the community.

Discussion on Enterprise Fund Allocations Continue

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners continue to discuss how staff salaries and other expenses are allocated to the town’s enterprise funds for water and sewer. Commissioner Amy Boehman – Pollitt has been the driving force behind an effort to find out how much of employee salaries are allocated to the enterprise funds and to determine whether this could be instead allocated to the general fund.

While such a change would make the enterprise fund smaller, it would increase the general fund, so that overall, the taxpayer would see no difference in what they pay. In fact, it could actually increase town residents’ total tax bills from the town.

During the July meeting of the commissioners, it was pointed out that some of the largest users on the town water system are not within the town limits. These large users also pay the highest rates. Because of this, anything charged to the water enterprise fund is spread over more users who pay greater water rates. This actually reduces the impact on town residents’ overall tax burden because non-residents are paying part of the water fund.

Anything the commissioners move from the water fund to the general fund will be paid for by residents alone.

Public Works Agreements Signed for Development Projects

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved and authorized the mayor to sign public works agreements between the town and Federal Stone and the town and Silo Hill Plaza.

Newly Awarded Grant

The Town of Emmitsburg recently received $2,255,552 in loans and grants from the MWIFA for water projects. North Seton Avenue waterline replacement will receive $1,145,552 ($859,164 from a loan and a $286,388 grant). DePaul Street waterline replacement will receive $1,110,000 ($832,500 from a loan and a $277,500 grant).

Board of Commissioners to Look Different in the Fall

With Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs’ announcement that he won’t seek a fifth term as mayor, the make-up of the board of commissioners and mayor will look different after this fall’s election to elect a mayor and town commissioner.

There will be a new mayor, and the two announced candidates are commissioners Frank Davis and Tim O’Donnell. If one of them wins the mayor election, a new commissioner will need to be appointed to fill the unexpired term.

In addition, Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III will not be seeking re-election. This means another commissioner seat will be filled with a new face.

The Emmitsburg town election will be held on Tuesday, September 26, at 22 East Main Street. Any potential candidates must file an application with the Emmitsburg town clerk by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 25. Financial disclosures are also due for each candidate at that time.


Mayor Don Briggs



 Mayor John Kinnaird

It’s hard to believe we are already more than halfway through 2023! Summer has been great so far, but it looks like the temps are going to be hitting the mid-90s for the beginning of August. When the temperatures rise, be sure to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, limit your time outdoors, wear a hat, and do not overexert yourselves. Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke can come on quickly and is life-threatening, with symptoms that can include a throbbing headache; confusion; nausea; dizziness; body temps over 103F; red, hot, dry, or damp skin; rapid pulse; fainting; and loss of consciousness. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke symptoms, call 911 and get medical assistance immediately.

The Frederick Road upgrades are completed, and the roadway is much improved. We appreciated everyone’s patience. Frederick Road was one of several paving projects we have in our pipeline. Improvements will be made to other roadways as funds become available. 

The new softball field is under construction at East End Park. The mass grading is complete, and the conduit has been installed for the lighting system. The field should be ready for play by summer 2024. We are also installing a new loudspeaker system in Community Park, and the new tennis courts will be installed next spring. Planning has started on the pedestrian bridge over Hunting Creek that will provide a connection between Community Park and West Main Street. This bridge will provide an access point to Community Park for residents along West Main Street. It is also an integral part of the Gateway Trail and will allow hikers and bikers easier access to the State and Federal Park trails and will bring additional pedestrian and bike users to our downtown and Community Trail system.

We will soon be getting started on our Annual Gateway to the Cure events. The Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, September 22, at the Maple Run Golf Course, and the Covered Bridge 5K Run-Walk will be held on Saturday, October 21, at Eyler Road Park. This will be the Fifth Annual Golf Classic and the Ninth Annual Gateway to the Cure Covered Bridge 5K! Pink light bulbs, pinwheels, T-shirts, and other items will be available at the Town Office and other locations. The residents of Thurmont have been very generous in their support of this worthwhile cause. Thurmont is the only community in Frederick County to whole-heartedly support the ongoing breast cancer research, breast cancer treatment, and patient support provided to local patients through the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Health Hospital. These local efforts have resulted in donations of over $137,000 from the Thurmont Community over the past eight years! Cancer is a disease that touches everyone, either personally or through family and friends. Please support us this year as we join the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund in the fight against cancer.

The North Church Street project will be getting underway in late September. This project will include the replacement or upgrading of the water lines and wastewater mains that serve all the homes and businesses on North Church Street from the railroad bridge to past Sheetz, and will require one lane of traffic to be closed, with flaggers directing traffic. Consideration will be given to school traffic during the length of the project. You will be encouraged to find alternate routes to bypass the construction, if possible. This month-long project will bring improved dependability to the critical water and wastewater systems to a large part of our community. Once this infrastructure work has been completed, the Maryland Department of Transportation – State Highway Administration will be repaving North Church Street.

The 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is September 8-10. This show offers everyone an opportunity to see how our agricultural heritage continues to play a large part in the Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and surrounding communities. The Catoctin High School FFA program is featured heavily and includes the livestock displays, livestock show, and auction. The Grange Livestock Auction helps students with the costs of higher education. The show also serves to display local talent in canning, baking, photography, fruit and vegetable growing, handcrafts, sewing & knitting, and other areas. There will be plenty of displays. The Annual Cake Auction is one of the highlights of the show and raises money to help the Grange support our Ag students. Farming is alive and doing well in Frederick County. Join us for the best community show in Maryland!

Colorfest this year is October 14 and 15. Colorfest is the single biggest fundraising opportunity for many of our churches, civic organizations, and non-profits. I look forward to welcoming tens of thousands of visitors each day.

Questions, comments, or concerns? I can be reached by cell phone at 301-606-9458 or by email at [email protected].


Burgess Heath Barnes

Greetings! I hope you all are having a wonderful summer. I cannot believe that at the end of this month, schools will be back in session for our students and teachers. I know in Woodsboro, we are currently having issues with people speeding down the streets. I highly encourage everyone to watch their speed, even more as our children begin returning to school. I did mention to the counsel that I will be gathering information on what it will take to install some speed cameras in town, as the problem has become much worse lately.

At the July 18th meeting, we had a very short meeting. I informed the council that I had met with the electric company to start the process of running the electricity into the eastern side of the park, where the stage is and where the new restroom is to be built. Based on different options, it’s possible we may have the electricity run before the music festival at Woodsboro Days in October. This will be nice for the bands, as for the last few years we have run the electricity off a generator. I also met with Ben Marshall and the contractor to build the skate park. I let them know that we had received a pending grant of $137,000 to build the park. Once we receive the official grant letter from the state, we will sign the contract and construction will begin shortly. The resurfacing of the tennis court and the pickleball lines has been tentatively scheduled and will begin any day now.

The latest town hall update is that I had a call with the engineer. He is optimistic that we will have it out for build within the next 60 days as the process is moving through the county at a good pace without hiccups right now. I remain optimistic that we will have a building started by late fall.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at [email protected] or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning (P&Z) meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Chloe Ricasa

Emmitsburg recently marked a significant milestone with the 40th anniversary of its beloved Community Heritage Day, held on June 24 at the E. Eugene Myers Memorial Park. This event, which has become a cherished tradition for the community, took place on a beautiful, sunny day that defied the gloomy weather predictions. The Heritage Day celebrations brought the community closer together with an array of activities, delicious food, and live entertainment, highlighting the town’s rich history and vibrant spirit.

This celebration wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and talent of the Heritage Day Committee, headed by the Emmitsburg Lions Club.

“Community Heritage Day is a wonderful opportunity for the groups in our little town to work together to conduct an event that has some things for everyone in the community,” said Dianne Walbrecker, a member of the Heritage Day Committee.

The festivity began with the Vigilant Hose Company’s annual breakfast, serving as a delightful kickstart to energize attendees for a day filled with activities. From playing in kickball matches, cooling off at the pool, participating in bingo, embarking on historical hayrides with Jim Rada, watching the Big Parade, and so much more, the event offered non-stop fun and excitement.

“It’s always a great experience with the Emmitsburg Lions Club Heritage Day event. This is the 40-year anniversary, and I have enjoyed volunteering for the last couple of years. As a new member, it’s been an eye-opening, fulfilling experience getting to know this awesome group of people in the club and in the community,” says Amelia (Mia) Kovach, a Lions Club volunteer.

As the sun began to set, the day ended with a grand fireworks display that painted the sky, serving as a fitting conclusion to a day filled with shared memories and new connections.

Reflecting on the resounding success of Heritage Day, another Heritage Day Committee member, Jennifer Joy, stated, “This 40th Community Heritage Day was another spectacular event. We couldn’t have asked for better weather! The activities and organizations that make it a unique and hometown event came together again to create a great day of fun for our area families.”

With the combined efforts of the Heritage Day Committee, the Emmitsburg Lions Club, and everyone else involved in the festival fundraising and event activities, the 40th Community Heritage Day left a lasting impression on attendees and showcased the community’s commitment to promoting unity, enjoyment, and support for one another.

Winners of the contests from this year are as follows: Greased Pig Chase: (1-6 years)—Paisley Iaea, (7-11 years)—Keirstin Reed, (12-16 years)—Austin Welch, (17 & up)—Jack McCarthy. Sack Races Singles: (1-4 years) 1st—Aaria Ridenhour, 2nd—Mylah Iaea; (5-8 years) 1st—Robbie Dewees, 2nd—Ryan Krom; (9-12 years) 1st—Cayla Thomas, 2nd—Dustin Brooks; (13-16 years) 1st—Austin Welch, 2nd—Addison Welch; (17 & up) 1st—Daniel McCarthy, 2nd—Christian Garcia. Sack Races Doubles: (5-8 years) 1st—Bobbie Dewes and Chase Coal, 2nd—Jackson Clockie and Fred Hahn; (9-12 years) 1st—Bernadette Hahn and Lacey Hahn, 2nd—Briar Brooks and Dustin Brooks, (13-16 years) 1st—Austin Welch and Addison Welch; (17 & up) 1st—Jack McCarthy and McKayla Heims, 2nd—Brandon Allison and Christian Garcia. Egg Toss: 1st—Patton Myers and Matt Myers, 2nd—McKayla Heims and Savanah Phebus. Water Balloon Toss: 1st—Patton Myers and Matt Myers (TIE), 2nd—Symeon Turner and Ambrose Turner. Tug of War: (Up to 8 years) 1st—Brantlee Young and Chase Cool, 2nd—Vivian Satterlee and Grant Satterlee; (9-16 years) 1st—Savanah Phebus, Cayla Thomas, Elenor Satterlee, Bernadette Hahn, Lacey Hahn, Katherine Love, Kyalee Comp, Keirstin Reed, Bailey Cope; (17 & up) 1st— 30+ people. Pie Eating Contest: (Up to 4 years) 1st—Mylah Iaea, 2nd—Cole Stone; (5-8 years) 1st—Ryan Krom, 2nd—Brent Hahn; (9-12 years) 1st—Savanah Phebus, 2nd—James; (13-16 years) 1st—Kristein Mills, 2nd—Thomas Ness; (17 & up) 1st—Jack McCarthy, 2nd—Brandon Rivera. Watermelon Eating Contest: (Up to 4 years) 1st—Cole Stone, 2nd—Brantlee Young/ Mylah Iaea; (5-8 years) 1st—Ryan Krom, 2nd—Leah Krom; (9-12 years) 1st—Mason Rivera/ Savanah Phebus, 2nd—Sophie Myers; (13-16 years) 1st—Austin Welch, 2nd—Patton Myers; (17 & up) 1st—Jack McCarthy, 2nd—Brandon Rivera. Horseshoe Tournament: 1st—Rob Dewees and John Smith, 2nd—Paul Eyler and Phil Kuhn, 3rd—Harold Stafford and Richard Brown.

Photos by Chloe Ricasa Rob Dewees and John Smith earned first place in the Horseshoe Tournament during Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day on June 24, 2023.

Lions Club volunteer, Bryant, helps in the pavilion to serve food and drinks with a smile.

Attendees enjoy rides on the horses.

Winners McKayla Heims (left) and Jack McCarthy cross the finish line during the doubles sack race.

Kids enjoy a ride on the barrel train.

Ben Seidl and Heather Seidl of Rise and Shine Farm, LLC, showcase their microgreens.

Participants go all in during the watermelon eating contest.

(from left) Keirstin Reed, Paisley Iaea, Jack McCarthy, and Austin Welch with their first-place ribbons from the greased pig chase.

Knights of Columbus volunteers swirl up the cotton candy.

The Fatal Crash of #6157

Richard D. L. Fulton

Based in part on The Last to Fall: The 1922 March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg by Richard D. L. Fulton and James Rada, Jr.

The year was 1922, four years after the end of the First World War, when more than 5,000 Marines—along with all the equipage of war (tanks, machine guns, artillery, etc.)—descended upon Gettysburg, following their week-long trek from Quantico, Virginia, to the historic Civil War battlefield of 1863 for their annual summer maneuvers, combined with their public reenactments of Pickett’s Charge.

The column left Quantico on June 19 and arrived on the Gettysburg Battlefield on June 26, having camped along their march in the several communities, the last of which was in Thurmont. On June 26, the column marched out of Thurmont, proceeded through Emmitsburg, and pushed forward for Gettysburg.

Along their route on the “the long march,” squadrons of post-World War I bi-wing dive-bombers and scout-planes circled overhead to “protect” the column and their supplies (the march itself was conducted as if being in enemy country from Quantico to Thurmont).

One of those five-plane aerial squadrons had been captained by a highly decorated WWI hero, Captain George Wallis Hamilton, who had distinguished himself at the Battle of Belleau Wood in France by his fighting in the Marine infantry. Riding along as passenger in Hamilton’s two-seater de Havilland DH-4B (#6157) was Gunnery Sergeant George Russell Martin.

Hamilton’s squadron was scheduled to have the honor of leading the Marines onto the Gettysburg Battlefield. On June 26, Hamilton’s squadron left at 12:30 p.m. and headed-out to rendezvous with, and escort, the Marine column as it left Thurmont, his squadron flying overhead as they marched through Emmitsburg on their trek to Gettysburg.

Nothing unusual was noticed about Hamilton’s plane as he escorted the Marine column toward the battlefield, but as the squad circled the field preparing to land on an impromptu airfield that the Marines had created on the Codori farm (the main encampment site for their maneuvers and reenactments), his plane appeared to be developing problems.

According to the Record of Proceedings of the (Marine) Board of Investigations (held on July 2), “That (Hamilton’s) DH-4B was under perfect control from Quantico, Virginia, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania).”

But as the captain’s squadron broke formation to begin landing, the “DH-4B airplane #6157 went into a tailspin from a left turn from which it did not recover and crashed to the ground,” according to Record of Proceedings. 

The crash occurred in the area of Johns Avenue and Culp Street, just missing a carnival that had been set up along Steinwehr Avenue, and was located very closely to the front yard of the John’s Farmhouse.

Hamilton was found deceased in the wreckage, but Martin was still alive. He was transported to the Warren Hospital (Gettysburg Hospital) where he expired a short time later.  Because both were engaged in Marine activities at the time of the crash, they then both became the last line-of-duty deaths to have taken place on the old Civil War battlefield since 1863.

The (Marine) Board of Investigations was never able to determine the cause of the crash, stating, “The board is unable to determine the responsibility for the crash of (Hamilton’s) airplane… and is not able to attach any blame of culpability to any person or persons in the Naval service.”

The motor of Hamilton’s plane was salvaged, and the wood and canvas burned. The remaining metal was sold as scrap and, after having been loaded onto a truck, was halted at the Town Square to allow locals to take pieces for souvenirs. Hamilton was subsequently interred in the Arlington Cemetery, while Marin’s body was sent back to his home in Buffalo and buried there.

Today, the site of the crash is marked by a memorial wayside dedicated to the two aviators who perished on June 26. The memorial was created by a consortium of area residents, members of the Gettysburg and Emmitsburg Marine Corps Leagues, and the Gettysburg Heritage Center.

The memorial wayside dedication was held on June 26, 2018. Members of the U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company, Marines from Fort Meade, and a Marine bugler from Marine Base Quantico participated in the dedication ceremony.

(Top, left) Captain George Wallis Hamilton and Gunnery Sergeant George Russell Martin (top, right); (Bottom) Removal of the DH-4B wreckage (note carnival tents in background). 

Source (Hamilton and Martin pictures): Buffalo Evening News, June 27, 1922

Source (wreckage): Leatherneck, April 1, 2014

From the June 26, 2018, Hamilton-Martin Memorial Wayside dedication: Participating Marine units and Naval officer pose in front of the John’s Farm House.

Richard D. L. Fulton

There was a time in history when the country was laced with short-line railroads. In fact, almost all of the early railroads were short-line railroads, until many were absorbed through consolidation with larger railroads, years later.

Most short-line railroads were created to serve limited purposes, as dictated by local economies. Many also dabbled in providing passenger service, but overall, that effort was never really all that successful.

While it may seem that “short-line railroads” would take the name from the length of the railroads, the truth is that size varied widely. Their main distinguishing characteristic is that they served principally to deliver local goods to a connection with a larger railroad system/company.

The Emmitsburg Railroad serves as a prime example of a short-line railroad in all respects, in its length, and in its purpose.

The Rise of the Road

The Emmitsburg Railroad was granted its incorporation by an act of the Maryland Assembly on March 28, 1868, according to Emmitsburg Railroad, by W. R. Hicks (published by the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society).

According to Hicks, the incorporators were Daniel George Adelsberger, Joseph Brawner, Joshua Walter, E. S. Taney, Joseph Byers, Dr. Andrew Annan, Isaac Hyder, George W. Rowe, Dr. James W. Bichelberger, Sr., Christian Zacharies, and Michael Adelsberger.

However, it would be three years before the actual work commenced for bringing the proposed railroad into existence, and without the aid of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph’s College, the railroad might never have actually been constructed.

The Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph’s College became involved in making the much sought-after railroad a reality with loans (the Sisters of Charity contributed more than half the capital needed to build the railroad, thereby, deeming them the majority bondholders) and rights-of-way (across Saint Joseph’s land). 

The (Hagerstown) Daily Mail reported on February 20, 1940, when the Western Maryland Railroad constructed its line in the wake of the Civil War, it bypassed Emmitsburg by seven miles. The Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph’s “decided to do something about that.”

Groundbreaking for the Emmitsburg Railroad was held on the morning of March 25,1871, at Rocky Ridge (sometimes referred to as Emmitsburg Junction)—the proposed final destination of the railroad (where it would connect with the Western Maryland Railroad).

The groundbreaking was attended by Emmitsburg Railroad President Joseph Motter and directors, representatives of the Western Maryland Railroad, and representatives of Saint Joseph’s College, as well as other guests.

The Catoctin Clarion concluded its April 1, 1871, report of the festivities, that when the first pick struck up the dirt at the commencement of the groundbreaking, “there came forth rocks and sand and reddish earth—and the birth of the Emmitsburg Railroad was announced,” and concluded with, “so the railroad (the peremptory work) passes into history. So, lookout for the locomotive!”

A second celebration took place on November 22, 1875, when the railroad was officially opened for business. 

The Baltimore Sun reported on November 23 that exactly when the railroad would be officially running was not released to the public until Saturday, November 20, that the decision to commence operations on the 22nd was made public.

Further, it was noted that the Emmitsburg Railroad would be offering free rides to the public on that day. The Sun reported that “the news spread through the town like wildfire, and nearly everybody, old and young, took advantage of this opportunity.”  As a result, hundreds of riders were transported back and forth from Emmitsburg to Rocky Ridge that day, according to the Sun.

The town adults, the newspaper noted, tended to regard the completion of the railroad as “the beginning of a new era for Emmitsburg.”

Assorted Misadventures

November 28, 1908, didn’t start off with a bang, but it could have very nearly ended in one. 

The Catoctin Clarion reported in their January 28, 1909, issue, “The Emmitsburg Railroad pleaded guilty in the United States District Court, in Baltimore, Tuesday, of transporting dynamite on a passenger train.” The Catoctin Clarion attributed their story to The Baltimore Sun.

The plea was entered after the United States Grand Jury had indicted the company the same morning. The guilty plea was submitted by the company attorney.

District Attorney John C. Rose told the newspaper that the Emmitsburg Railroad’s rolling stock “is very limited. It has no freight cars,” and all the freight is loaded into a combine.  He said the train during the incident consisted of the engine, a tender, a combination baggage and smoking car, and a passenger car. 

The district attorney reported that six packages of dynamite were loaded into the baggage and smoking car at Rocky Ridge for delivery to Emmitsburg, and this was done by the baggage master without the knowledge of the other railroad officials.

The railroad was fined $100 (the equivalent of $3,611.46 in today’s money).

Then, there was the Great Emmitsburg Locomotive Chase, in which one of the steam engines bound for Rocky Ridge lost it brakes and was slow crawling its way towards the junction. Apparently, the journey was slow enough to allow one of the train crew to jump and run to a home or business and call Emmitsburg to report the problem.

A second train was dispatched from Emmitsburg to try and intercept the runaway steam engine, and couple onto it to break it, before it reached the end-of-the-line… literally.

The effort paid off, and the crippled engine was hauled back to the Emmitsburg shop for brakes.

The End of the Line

Only 26 years after the groundbreaking, the little railroad was in financial trouble. 

The Gettysburg Times reported on February 10, 1940, that on January 15, the directors of the Emmitsburg Railroad called for a vote among the existing stockholders to dissolve and abandon the Emmitsburg Railroad.  Out of some 1,000 votes, the motion was defeated by a mere 29 “no” votes.

The short-line was then sold into receivership “to a syndicate” and reorganized, according to the (Hagerstown) Daily Mail. Even then, by the mid-1930s, so little passenger traffic utilized the line that the State Public Service Commission restricted the railroad to handling freight only.

The Gettysburg Times reported on November 4, 1940, “The locomotive of the now-defunct Emmitsburg Railroad steamed out of town last Saturday morning, probably never to return.” The engine was sold to the Salzberg Company, New York.  This was probably Engine No. 8, which the (Hagerstown) Daily Mail was referring to when it stated on February 20, 1940, “But old (Emmitsburg) No. 8, the company’s last engine, hasn’t even turned a wheel since the motor truck took over in July (1939).”

*Author’s note:  This story is barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the history of the Emmitsburg Railroad. Highly recommended, in spite of a few errors, a good starting place would be to read Emmitsburg Railroad, by W. R. Hicks, published by the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society.

Emmitsburg Railroad Company steam engine No. 6; From the collection of Eileen Catherine Curtis; Used with permission.

Documents of the Emmitsburg Railroad Company, 1886, 1892, 1896, 1898; From the collection of Eileen Catherine Curtis; Used with permission.

by Helen Xia, CHS Student Writer

Fireworks against a dark night sky at the end of the Thurmont Ambulance Co. Carnival.

Photo by Helen Xia

It’s now July, and you know what that means: Independence Day! It’s difficult to forget this valued national holiday, given the fireworks, the smell of toasty barbecue, and the flag of the United States displayed proudly in front of homes and businesses during this time of year.

Just like any other holiday, there is a wide range of emotions that are often felt, ranging from patriotism to excitement to even exhaustion after a day of lively celebration. Upon thinking about what to write for this subject, I recalled an article I read about the shifting attitude of society regarding national pride—a sentiment typically felt on the 4th of July. Interestingly, according to Gallup data, United States adults who claim to be “extremely proud” to be American reached a “record-low” since 2001, measuring 38 percent. Still, it’s worthwhile to note that 27 percent remain “very proud,” and a total of “65 percent of U.S. adults express pride in the nation.”

Given these statistics, I wanted to know how the people around me felt about Independence Day, and perhaps compare the responses between age groups. I divided the respondents into three age groups: young children, teenagers, and adults.

Most of the answers I received from young children were quite brief. “It’s cool,” said an eleven-year-old; “It’s normal,” shrugged a nine-year-old. Reasonable insight, really—I didn’t know anything when I was that age, so I can’t judge!

Another nine-year-old had more to say: “I’m happy and grateful about Independence Day,” he explained, “because the United States of America got their independence and freedom from Great Britain, and without the United States, we wouldn’t have a home and might still have war.” Surprisingly, this explanation from this nine-year-old was one of the most thorough reflections I collected!

A majority of the replies I garnered from teenagers included an explanation of what the holiday is about. We know what we’re talking about! “I guess independence day celebrates independence from Britain,” stated one teenager, “but it also is a day to honor fallen soldiers.” Similarly, another teenager conveyed, “Independence Day is where we celebrate those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. Thanks to them, we have many rights and freedoms today.” This is true, especially taking into account that approximately 6,800 Americans lost their lives in pursuit of independence, with about 6,100 wounded. Not only is it our day to celebrate and commemorate, it is their day, too.

On a more lighthearted note, a 16-year-old (half-jokingly) declared, “I love Independence Day because it’s a reminder of how much the British sucked.” Needless to say, there is more nuance than this, but I found this funny.

Speaking of nuance, another teenager brought up a few thought-provoking points. “While I feel there is no issue in celebrating Independence Day, it may also be an upsetting day for those whose ancestors were on the receiving end of oppression via our country. Independence Day should not only be a celebration of our founding but also an acknowledgment of the United States’ failings in order to improve in the future. Essentially, it should be more a time of reflection than blind joy and backyard barbecues.” To add to this, I once heard a quote that contends, “Before you improve something, you must respect it.” I feel like this applies here.

Another high-schooler commented, “Independence Day, to me, marks an important part of history that marks the beginnings of the country we live in. I don’t think it’s something that every American should necessarily celebrate (because most likely barely any of us [teens] do), but I believe it is important to understand the meaning of Independence Day and the connection it has to us in the time and society we live in.”

Lastly, I interviewed a teenager who comes from a military family, which I thought would be an intriguing perspective to learn about. “I enjoy Independence Day because it brings focus to our history as the United States and the hardworking people who fought for our country in the very beginning so that we could be free today,” she articulated. “My favorite aspect about Independence Day is the fireworks. To me, seeing the sky light up in magnificent colors and designs is a perfect way to end the night with family and friends while celebrating this holiday.”

Reading back on the responses the individuals around my age provided, I found that most of them highlighted the relevance of the history behind the 4th of July and how that significance ties to modern times and the future. I’m happy to know that we are well aware of this vital portion of our nation’s history—after all, precious phenomena like compassion and innovation are rooted in education.

Now, on to the adults’ responses! Right off the bat, the adults’ replies were succinct but enlightening. For instance, a woman suggested, “It’s a necessary holiday to remember the foundations of our country.” We’ve explored several of the emotions and personal values people hold concerning the 4th of July, but this is the first time somebody asserted that the holiday is “necessary.” I thought this was a compelling take since a crucial part of our country’s founding is accentuated and taught on this day. Perhaps some people only know about the American Revolutionary War because of Independence Day; with that in mind, it’s a valuable celebration to hold.

Another adult elaborated, “I’m glad for our freedoms, and it’s a day to celebrate our freedoms and our rights as citizens for what the military has done for us.” Comparably, a grown-up defined Independence Day as “a day that we celebrate our freedoms and our God-given rights, laid down by the Constitution. [It’s] a day we remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

It’s apparent from these answers that the adults, too, seemed to spotlight the history associated with Independence Day.

Finally, a grown-up emphasized the traditions of Independence Day and the joy of celebrating with these practices: “I enjoy picnics, barbecues, and family get-togethers, as well as firework shows and parades with people waving the American flag,” he expressed. “It’s a fun day with origins steeped in the desire for independence and to create a new America.”

As mentioned previously, adults also underscored the events leading up to the Declaration of Independence and how the holiday came to be; however, I observed that while teenagers tended to link this history with present-day society and how to use this information propelling forward, adults employed the United States’ rich history as reasons for celebration. (Of course, one is not necessarily more valid than the other, and my conclusion is from a limited number of interviews. I just thought this observation was cool!)

Independence Day, or July 4th, is a day featuring the American colonies’ grievances and sacrifices, the passing of the Declaration of Independence, and nationhood. Truthfully, I’ve never done anything notable to celebrate this day, but that doesn’t undermine how special it may be to other people. Thinking back, to me, this day used to be simply a day about star-shaped sunglasses and red, white, and blue sprinkles on ice cream; now that I’m older, there is certainly more to think about than that! (And, I hope this article gave you something to think about!)

Did you notice any trends amongst groups of people or differences between the responses above?

Since there is quite a variety of answers, did you relate to any of them?

Regardless, I hope everyone has a delightful July!

Take A Dip!

The boat house operated by Eastern Watersports is open for business, renting out canoes, kayaks and paddle boards.

James Rada, Jr.

With the warm summer weather upon us, sometimes it is nice to cool off in the water. Northern Frederick County has a good ole swimming hole at Cunningham Falls State Park, where you can have lots of fun.

“With the completion of several construction projects, the park looks great,” said Park Manager Mark Spurrier.

The 44-acre Hunting Creek Lake is on the mountain and offers visitors swimming, hunting, and fishing. The lake has three swimming areas, with lifeguards on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The swimming area on the lake takes up about a fifth of the area, leaving the rest of the lake for fishing and boating.

The state has been making improvements at the lake area over the past couple of years. Some were a necessity and others were things that were done to improve the visitor experience.

“We’re always trying to improve, but most of our recent projects are done,” said Spurrier. “What’s left to finish won’t impact visitors.”

The improved Lake Front Concession Stand has reopened and is operated by C&W Concessions, a locally owned business. The boat house operated by Eastern Watersports is open for business, renting out canoes, kayaks and paddle boards.

This year, visits to the lake have been growing as the weather warms.

“We encourage people to plan ahead and come early,” Spurrier said.

That’s because if the parking lot at the lake fills, the lot gets closed and some people might not get to enjoy the park.

“So far this year (around mid-June), we’ve only had one closure, but we’ve come close a couple times,” Spurrier said. “We prefer not to close, but if the lot is full, we have to.”

The busiest times at the lake are also on the weekends, so keep that in mind as you plan.

In the Houck Area of the park, visitors can also check out the Houck Area Nature Center to learn more about the park’s wildlife and ecology, or visit the remodeled Houck Area Camp Store.

Recently completed trail projects include part of the Lady’s Slipper trail in the Houck Campground and the renovated Catoctin Furnace Iron Trail at the Manor area.

“More projects are slated to begin as we continue to make improvements,” Spurrier said.

The boat ramp should be repaved this summer, and the restrooms will be renovated next year.

The park is open 8:00 a.m. until sunset through October, and there is an admission fee of $3.00 per vehicle with Maryland tags on weekdays and $5.00 on weekends, throughout the summer. For out-of-state vehicles, the cost is $5.00 for weekdays and $7.00 for weekends.

If swimming in a pool is more your style, you can always try the Emmitsburg Community Pool. Besides the main swimming pool that goes from 18 inches to 10 feet deep, children can play in the splash area. If you need to get out of the sun, you can enjoy the shade  of the pavilion area.

RSV Pools manages the pool and uses SWIMSAFE Program to help identify unsupervised “non-swimmers.” Children who successfully complete a basic swim test earn a SWIMSAFE bracelet that allows them to swim on their own. Otherwise, for their own safety, children need to stay within arm’s reach of a parent or guardian.

The pool is open noon to 7:00 p.m. Admission is $4.00 for adults and $3.00 for children and seniors who live in town. Admission for out-of-town residents is $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children and seniors. Season passes are also available.

The Lake Front Concession Stand has reopened and is operated by C&W Concessions, a locally owned business. They offer a wide variety of food, including hand cut fries and Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream.

Mount St. Mary’s University announced Monday the hiring of Brad Davis as the school’s new Director of Athletics. Davis begins his tenure at the Mount on August 1, 2023.

“We enthusiastically welcome Brad and his family to Mount St. Mary’s.” University President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. said. “As we enter our second year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, we look forward to his leadership and collaboration with our excellent coaches and staff in positively developing our student-athletes in mind, body and spirit as well as in building on our winning tradition.”

Davis comes to Emmitsburg following a successful five-year tenure at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Lakers boast a similar sized department to the Mount with 26 varsity programs and 750 student-athletes. Mercyhurst competes at the Division II level, with Division I status for men’s and women’s ice hockey. On the field of play, Mercyhurst prospered with a national championship in women’s rowing for 2022, nine conference championships, and 23 NCAA tournament appearances.

“I am honored and humbled to be named the next athletic director at Mount St. Mary’s.” Davis said. “The Mount is a special place with special people and plenty of potential. There is tremendous energy and excitement throughout campus, and I am ecstatic to join President Trainor’s leadership team and meet the Mount faithful. I was impressed with President Trainor’s vision immediately, and I look forward to working with our student-athletes, coaches, and staff to achieve success together.”

The five years Davis supervised Mercyhurst were transformative. Rebuilding the Lakers’ structure, mission, and culture, administrative and head coaching hires helped Mercyhurst attain the top spot in the Pennsylvania States Athletic Conference (PSAC) for promoting diversity in 2021-22. Teams recorded a department-wide GPA of 3.4 with a 90% Academic Success Rate in six out of seven years.

“Brad arrived at Mercyhurst five years ago with vision, passion, and experience to elevate Laker Athletics to the next level,” said Mercyhurst President Kathleen A. Getz, Ph.D. “He has been an asset to Mercyhurst, enhancing our athletics programs and facilities, while being thoroughly dedicated to our student-athletes and to the integrity of our university. We are grateful for his contributions to Mercyhurst and we wish Brad, his wife Kristin and their son Brecken all the best as they embark on a new chapter in their lives.”

Net revenues increased under his watch, aided by initiatives such as Giving Day for Athletics, launched this year, as well as the Laker for Life Campaign. This emboldened construction and infrastructure projects at Mercyhurst, with renovations of the Athletic Center, Ice Center, Saxon Stadium and the soccer and baseball field. New construction included turf fields for soccer and softball and new locker rooms for women’s soccer and softball. Along with these projects, Davis helped to create the first-ever department-wide programs in the fields of Mental Health and Wellness, Sport Performance, and Strength and Conditioning.

Further revenue records were set this past year in sponsorship, ticket sales, apparel, rentals, and camps. This was due to the oversight of the department’s first comprehensive plan, and the development and enhancement of game day experience, specifically for the hockey and basketball teams. Ticket revenue alone increased by 50% from these efforts. Webcast production also improved, enabling TV contracts with local affiliate WICU beginning in 2020.

Mercyhurst also became a hub for postseason tournaments in the past five years. The school served as the bubble for the entire Division I women’s hockey tournament in 2021, and the Lakers hosted three Division II regionals and the College Hockey America women’s hockey conference championship.

In addition to duties at Mercyhurst, Davis serves as chair of the Atlantic Hockey Executive Committee and the PSAC Executive Committee. Past committee assignments include chairing the Division II National Advisory Committee for Men’s Lacrosse as well as the PSAC Advisory Council and PSAC Officiating Committee.

Before his time in Erie, Davis served at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts for 11 years. Beginning as the sports information director in 2007, he was promoted to Assistant Athletic Director for External Relations in 2011, and again to Associate Director of Athletics one year later. As a member of the three-member senior leadership team, Davis outlined and formulated long-range policies for the Warriors, which included an eventual acceptance to the Division I level, joining as a member of the Northeast Conference.

Examples of successes at Merrimack include a multi-year apparel agreement with Under Armour in 2017 – a feat later replicated at Mercyhurst – planning and construction of Duane Stadium with renovations to their Outdoor Athletic District, launching and facilitating the Warrior Fund, and chairing the men’s basketball coaching search that led to the hiring of Joe Gallo, who has already piloted the team to two Northeast Conference titles.

Previous career stops include sports information positions at Bryant University, MetroWest Daily News, KGO TV in San Francisco and the San Jose Sharks.

Davis is taking over the position from Lynne Robinson, who announced her retirement this past March. The daughter of legendary coach Jim Phelan, Robinson has served as the Director of Athletics since 2007. Her tenure started as a coach in the early 1980s, moving to administration as the school transitioned to Division I. During her time as Director of Athletics, the Mount added eight sports and nearly doubled its student-athlete population.

“I would be remiss without recognizing Lynne Robinson, who has served the Mount for 42 years.” Davis said. “The Phelan family is synonymous with the Mount, and I know there are big shoes to fill. I’m grateful to Lynne for her help and support during the transition.”

by James Rada, Jr.


Town Joins Mass Tort Action

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to participate in a mass tort complaint against manufacturers of the PFAS chemicals that Thurmont and other municipalities are now working to remove from their water systems. The town’s vote is to retain a law firm to investigate, file case, and litigate on behalf of the town. The goal is to get the manufacturers to cover some of the costs that municipalities must pay to remove dangerous chemicals from the water.

Thurmont To Get An App

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved funding for a new app that will allow visitors and residents to conduct business with the town and find out tourism information, among other things. The town will also be getting an updated video that is used to promote the town through social media. The cost of the app will be $29,715, and the cost of the new video will cost $14,425. Most of this will be paid for with two grants from the Department of Housing and Community Development. The difference of $4,140 will be paid for with hotel/motel tax that the town receives.

Program Open Space Money Awarded

The Town of Thurmont received funding for three of the five projects it wanted sought through Program Open. The town put forth $443,000 in project funding requests. The town received $67,500 for the Gateway Trail access and amenities, $67,500 for the expansion of the East End Dog Park, and $45,000 for the Mountain Gate Trail.

A request of $99,000 for Eyler Road Park pickleball courts was not funded.

The town did receive partial funding of $35,000 of the $225,000 for the Eyler Road Park parking lot. However, due to how soon the funding must be used and when the town’s portion needs to be ended, it was decided that it would be better if the town returned the funds to allow them to be used by other Frederick County municipalities.

Commissioners Set Tax Rate

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to maintain its current tax rate of .3206 per $100 of assessed value, although this was higher than the constant-yield rate. The constant-yield rate of .3113 per $100 of assessed value is the rate the town would have had to set to collect the same amount of tax revenue as it did this year. However, increasing property assessments means that if the town kept its existing rate, it would collect $58,125 more in Fiscal Year 2024, which begins on July 1. This is expected to cost taxpayers about $25-$30 more per household.

Town Approves Budget

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved its budget for Fiscal Year 2024, which went into effect on July 1. The budgets approved are the general fund of $5,018,075; the water fund of $1,060,300; the wastewater fund of $1,752,800; and the electric fund of $6,111,080.


Board Passes FY2024 Budget

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners passed the FY2024 town budget. The general fund is projected to increase 6 percent to $2,181,496.

The water fund is expected to decrease 8 percent this year to $680,801. The sewer fund is expected to increase by 7 percent to $1,018,155. A new stormwater management business fund is expect to be $15,000.

The property tax rate is proposed to remain at 34.64 cents per $100 of assessed value. A 4 percent COLA is also proposed for employee salaries.

The commissioners were reluctant to vote on the budget without learning whether they can change their accounting practices to remove items from the enterprise funds, in particular the water fund, and have them paid for from the general fund. While such a change would make the enterprise fund smaller, it would increase the general fund so that, overall, the taxpayer would see no difference in what they pay.

The commissioners expect to meet later this summer with the town’s lawyer and a representative from the auditing firm to see what can be done.

Sewer Rate Moratorium Enacted

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to approve to delay the increase of the new sewer rates for a year so as to not overburden residents who will be having to deal with a large water rate increase. The town’s sewer fund is not as underfunded as the water fund, so it was decided the sewer rate increase could be delayed.

Bid Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a bid from Fox & Associates of Frederick for $251,056 for the engineering improvement plan and design bid for North Seton Avenue water line and green street project. The entire cost of the project is expected to be $1,145,552, of which 25 percent will be paid for with a grant from the Maryland Water Infrastructure Financing Administration. The remainder will be paid for with a loan from the same organization.

The town will also submit a Community Development Block Grant request for the DePaul Street water line. The entire cost of this project will be $1,120,000, of which they are requesting $552,500 in a CDBG grant. Other grants are expected to pay nearly all of the remaining cost, although the town is expected to provide $10,000 in in-kind funding.

New Grants Awarded

The Town of Emmitsburg recently received a TRIPP Advertising Grant for $7,333.32 to advertise Emmitsburg as a tourism destination on three billboards in the Gettysburg area and Destination Gettysburg and Visit Frederick annual guides.

The town also received a $10,000 grant from the FCTC, Main Street Cooperative Fund for new “Welcome to Emmitsburg” signs at the entrances to the town. This is expected to cost $5,000. The remaining money will go toward purchasing new parking meters. From


Mayor Don Briggs

As planned, the community pool opened without a hitch for the Memorial Day weekend, just in time to accommodate lots of us on some of those hot days. However, the town-sponsored pool party for June was interrupted by thunder and lightning delays. Not to despair, dates are set for July and August parties, with more free hot dogs, drinks, and a DJ to keep things moving. Check with the town office or social media sites for dates and times.

Another reminder to visit the Emmitsburg Farmers’ Market on South Seton Avenue next to the Community Center. The market is open every Friday, from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m., through October 6. Lots of healthy living, fresh vegetables, and fruit await you.

There comes a time—convenient or not—to accept that time, in the end, tips the scale. I have served 4 terms, 12 wonderful years, as mayor of Emmitsburg, a true honor, and I will not seek to serve a fifth term. My hope was to do positive things, big and small. In doing so, to also encourage more engagement by both the board and the community. With the help of a hard-working staff, we did, and did so always mindful of the rich history of the town. From adding wayside exhibits; to redoing the square, pool, and parks; adding solar fields; building a $19 million wastewater treatment plant; just to name a few of the things we all accomplished in light of many challenges expected, and unexpected, such as the pandemic. Again, we did all this together over the last 12 short years.

There are some wonderful capable people stepping forward to face the challenges for Emmitsburg that tomorrow brings. Let’s see what is on their pallets and move forward in support.

From Lib and I: We hope you enjoy a safe and joyful 4th of July.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Welcome to July. This is the month for vacations and traveling! So, if you are traveling, please be careful on the roads. As you drive around our neighborhoods, please drive no more than the posted speed limit and watch out for kids. They may not always be fully aware of their surroundings and can dart out in front of cars without thinking about it.

The State Highway Administration has completed work on the Northbound bridge over Rt. 77. This project has taken a while, but the results are worth the wait. Many residents have been talking about the increased traffic on Frederick Road and Water Street; much of this increase was due to the bridge work and should drop off.

The Town of Thurmont has been making much-needed improvements to Frederick Road. The stormwater basins have been repaired or replaced, and several sections of municipal sidewalk have been updated in front of Community Park. This work at Community Park also includes new fencing along the sidewalk. The new wider sidewalk increased the drop-off at the rear edge of the walkway, and the new fence will ensure walkers and bike riders will be safe while passing Community Park. The next phase of work on Frederick Road will be milling and repaving. The Town of Thurmont has contracted with Pleasant’s Construction to repave Frederick Road from Tippin Drive to the Hunting Creek Bridge. Several sections of the curb and gutter will also be removed and replaced. This project will begin around July 10, and should be completed by August 1. This roadway work is being funded through Maryland Highway User Revenue. This project will bring some impacts on local residents, businesses, and traffic flow. The Town will be working closely with Pleasant’s to ensure that impacts are minimal. Your patience while this project is completed is appreciated. If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact the Town Office at 301-271-7313.

Progress is being made on the new softball field at East End Park. This new field will include lighting for night games. Grading should begin within a week, and construction will continue over the summer. The lights have been donated to this project and will make playing time on the field much more flexible. The funds for the softball field are courtesy of Program Open Space. We have also received additional POS funds to help with Gateway Trail access and amenities. The Town has also received POS funding to help expand the East End Dog Park. We were also awarded funding for the Mountain Gate Trail, connecting pedestrian and bike access from Frederick Road at Thurmont Blvd. with the trail system on Moser Road. This will improve access to the Trolley and Library Trails for those living on Frederick Road and in the Orchards Hills development.

The work on North Church Street will be getting underway this fall. Residents will be notified regarding lateral wastewater connections, as well as the construction schedule. This project will be a major undertaking and will require lane closures and delays. Please be aware of these and make plans to allow more time or an alternate route while work is being completed on North Church Street.

With summer here, you and the kids will be spending more time outdoors. I ask that you please use sunscreen, hats, or long sleeves when outdoors for any extended period of time. Sun exposure is the main cause of skin cancer, and protecting yourself and your family may prevent this painful disease. Remember, the sunburn you get today can develop into skin cancer later in life.

I hope everyone enjoys July! As always, I can be contacted by email at [email protected] or by phone at 301-606-9458.


Burgess Heath Barnes

On June 13, former Burgess Bill Rittelmeyer and Commissioner John Cutshall were both sworn in for their four-year terms on the town commissioners. I would like to congratulate both of them. Thank you, outgoing Commissioner Dana Crum for your years of service to Woodsboro. She was very instrumental in obtaining grants for many projects in the park, while serving as the commissioner who oversaw the parks and recreation. Commissioner Crum was also the president of the council (the person who would step in should something happen to the burgess, etc.). At the meeting, we elected a new president of the council, who will be Commissioner Leroy “Bud” Eckenrode. He will also assume the duties of parks and recreation. Commissioner Rittelmeyer will assume the role of overseeing water and sewage that Commissioner Eckenrode previously held. Commissioner Jesse Case will continue to be the planning and zoning commissioner, and Commissioner John Cutshall will continue to be the streets and roads commissioner.

I informed the council that we have received a grant from CPP 2023 for $214,000 to build a bathroom and to run water and electricity to the eastern side of the park where the stage is located. I met with our water and sewer contractor to get an estimate to run the water, and the same contractor that built the stage will be building the bathroom. There is not a timeframe at this time for the project, as we are awaiting estimates for the project to come in. Former Commissioner Crum and I also attended the grant meeting in the county, where we were able to secure $137,000 dollars to build the skatepark in the park. Finally, we signed a contract to have the tennis courts resurfaced and to have pickleball lines added. This is a project that we cannot set an exact date on, as the weather conditions have to be in certain parameters to complete the project, but rest assured it is coming.

The FY2024 budget was voted on and approved. I am happy to say that we did not have to change the tax rates from the 2021 year, as we kept the fixed rate as the same. Woodsboro continues to have one of the lowest municipalities taxes in the county, and there are no plans to change that. As you will see, there was a small change in water and sewage rates. There has not been an increase in that in several years, but, unfortunately, with rising cost in labor and equipment costs, etc., we had no option but to raise the water flat rate from $15 to $17 and the sewage flat rate from $122 to $125. We kept the increase at the very minimal as possible. 

We will be installing four to six additional speed limit signs throughout the town to discourage the speeding that continues to be an issue, particularly on Main Street. In addition, I am doing research and in contact with the state about the possibility of installing speed cameras. There will be more to come on that. I am very concerned about the speed that I see people driving in our town, and we are addressing it.

The town hall update is that we have been cleared with the first permit with the county, and it is moving through the process. I am optimistic that there will be a groundbreaking by late summer to early fall if things continue to move as there are now.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at [email protected] or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, planning and zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Helen Xia

On May 24th, the Catoctin Class of 2023 had their graduation ceremony at Emmitsburg’s Knott Arena. While it’s one of the most exciting times at Catoctin High School, it’s also one of the busiest–for good reason. Catoctin is known for its well-rehearsed procedures during this celebration, and this year is no exception. I was present during the two days of graduation practice, where the senior class and Catoctin band committed to running through the steps of graduation until they were “drilled into” everyone’s heads. (Each practice was about three hours!) From the timing of when to walk down the aisle to when to sit down after receiving diplomas, the seniors practiced precisely how the process would play out. You may remember my article last month about graduation’s incredible organization–well, this is where that coordination comes from!

Secretary Lacee Andrew (who was named the FCPS School-Based Secretary of the Year!) offered insight on the “behind the scenes” of the ceremony. “There are so many little details that go into planning graduation and the awards ceremony,” she stated. “Some of those things are looking at each student’s birth certificate to check the spelling of their name to ensure diplomas are printed correctly, creating a very large spreadsheet to capture all awards/honor societies, etc. The work of graduation starts months before the ceremony takes place.” Again, these oftentimes invisible efforts are what make the celebration run so smoothly. Thanks to the dedicated staff members’ contributions, the precious emotions at graduation can be the focal point of the event.

Speaking of emotions, there is much thought behind the speeches given at graduation to convey so many sentiments in so few words. One may think that, since the event itself remains constant year by year, the speeches can be recycled and reused–however, that is not the case. “Each graduating class is comprised of unique personalities, causing each graduation to be unique,” Catoctin Assistant Principal Mary Jacques expressed. “I always look forward to listening to the speeches and performances, which are different every year.”

Principal Jennifer Clements shed some light on her thought process when formulating her touching speeches: “My favorite line (I say this frequently and not just at graduation, but I definitely include it in every speech) is: Use your powers for good! I will admit my speeches every year are similar, yet I work hard to personalize [them] for the group that is graduating. This year, I took some inspiration from this class’ freshman yearbook. (I wanted to remember who they were as ninth graders to reflect on their growth over the last four years, and they have come a long way!)”

Despite the great amount of work behind each graduation, it’s “the happiest day of the year,” as described by Jacques. This sentiment was echoed by Clements, who explained, “Graduation is my favorite day of the year. I love that we get to celebrate the culmination of our students’ commitment and work for the past 13 years. I also love the positive energy and emotions that everyone (graduates, staff, families, and friends) are feeling – pride, joy, anxiety, and excitement.”

Within the ceremony, there are numerous noteworthy aspects. Personally, I enjoy listening to each class’ musical selections the most. During graduation practice, for instance, Seth Remsburg’s performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the baritone saxophone was phenomenal. Professor Russell Headley also sang “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver with his guitar, which received loud praises from the crowd. Last year, even, I remember taking special notice of the singers when I watched the Class of 2022’s graduation live online. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, I could never do that!” Thoughts like these only make me appreciate the students who show their talents to the audience at graduation more.

Of course, there are many more elements to the ceremony than the musical performances, so I asked others what stood out the most to them during graduation. Interestingly, I received three different answers from the three staff members I interviewed. “My favorite part of graduation is when, as a graduating class, the tassel on the mortarboard is moved,” Jacques replied. “It is an old tradition that visually imparts the end of the high school years and a new beginning.” Andrew said, “My favorite part of graduation is watching the excitement and the happiness in students’ eyes as they walk across the stage, knowing their hard work paid off.” Finally, Clements responded, “I have two favorite parts of graduation. The first is seeing all of the graduates lined up in the fieldhouse just before the ceremony. The excitement and pride is palpable. My most favorite part is the privilege I have (as the principal) to shake each of their hands as I give them their diploma.”

For those that are graduating, Andrew gave her best wishes: “You have made such a positive impact at Catoctin High School. I wish you the very best in this next chapter of your life!” Jacques, too, provided wise advice: “Be a good human. Work hard and be kind. If you can, travel the world. Meet new people and experience new cultures. It will make you appreciate what you have. Never forget where you came from and where your roots lie.” And, don’t forget Clements’ favorite saying: “Use your powers for good!”

At graduation practice, I felt proud of Catoctin’s seniors. I watched from the bleachers as my peers received envelopes of their hard-earned cords, final report cards, and certificates. According to Andrew, “117/192 graduates will be recognized for their achievements (4-year honor roll, honor level, honor society membership, top 5%, etc.)”; this is a time for recognition indeed.

It’s surreal to think that, after this graduating class, my class will be the oldest in Catoctin High School. Next year, instead of sitting to the side and watching students rehearse, I’ll be sitting on one of the chairs and walking across the makeshift stage. I don’t think I’m ready, but I guess I have to be.

Once again, congratulations, Catoctin’s Class of 2023! Go, cougars!

President Harding’s 1922 Visit to Gettysburg

Richard D. L. Fulton

Based in part on The Last to Fall: The 1922 March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg by Richard D. L. Fulton and James Rada, Jr.

The year was 1922, four years after the end of the First World War, when more than 5,000 Marines, along with their artillery, tanks, and dive bombers, descended upon Gettysburg—following their week-long trek from Quantico, Virginia, to the historic Civil War battlefield of 1863—for their annual summer maneuvers.

The ensuing activities by the Marines at Gettysburg involved a good deal more than routine drills and mock battles as part of their training. Many of the “battles” held from July 1 through July 3, especially on the field of “Pickett’s Charge,” were open to the public, and on July 4, the Marines would reenact Pickett’s Charge as if the Union and Confederate forces had the military equipage that had generally been available to the Marines in the wake of World War I.

Why Gettysburg?  The Marines’ “invasion” of Gettysburg in 1922 traces its causation back to the 1918 Battle of Belleau Wood at the end of World War I as the result of the animosity that had developed between United States Army General John “Blackjack” Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in Europe during the war.

That animosity was more or less of Pershing’s own making. In need of more manpower to resist the German attempt to capture Paris, the general requested that the Marines, who were (and still are) a branch of the U.S. Navy, assist in bolstering the forces of the U.S. Army present. Thus, the Marines became part of the forces arrayed to join in the counterattack on the advancing Germans.

As preparations for the the counter-offensive took place, Pershing ordered that the media could not mention specific Army units in their reportage of the war, but that decree could have no effect on the Marines, who were merely “on loan” to the Army.

To make a long story short, this resulted in the media gravitating more to focusing on Marine participation, since individual units could be identified, giving news accounts a more personable appeal… so much so that when the attack on the Germans in Belleau Wood broke the German Line, the Marines would then receive the lion’s share of the credit up to, and including, the Marines being billed on the front pages of American newspapers as being the heroes of Belleau Wood, in spite of heavy Army participation.

This “got under Pershing’s skin,” and then to add insult to injury, the French renamed it “Marine Wood.”

At the conclusion of the war, Pershing spearheaded an effort to have the Marines disbanded, and as his congressional support gained momentum, the existence of the Marine Corps was in serious jeopardy.  Even President Woodrow Wilson supported the effort.

From the end of World War I, all the way up to the end of World War II, there were more than a dozen attempts to disband the Marine Corps, leading to Robert Coram writing, in Brute: The Life of Victor Krulak, U.S. Marine, “But when the Marines were not needed, there was an ongoing effort to abolish them or absorb them into the Army … It seemed that the hardest fighting the Marines ever did was fighting for the privilege of defending their country.”

To counter this assault on the Marines, Marine Major General John A. Lejeune and General Smedley D. Butler developed a plan to combine their corps summer maneuvers with public events to promote the corps and advance its popularity in the public eye over and above the popularity which it had achieved at the end of World War I.

This led them to the idea of holding their maneuvers on Civil War battlefields and combining those maneuvers with public reenactments of the various battles. Ultimately, there would be four of these annual events: the Wilderness in 1921; Gettysburg in 1922; New Market in 1923; and Antietam in 1924.  Ironically, Pershing had previously dubbed the Battle of Belleau Wood as the “Gettysburg” of World War I. 

Thus, over 5,500 Marines of the Fifth and Sixth Marine regiments set forth from their base at Quantico on June 19, thereby commencing on “the long march” which would take their column of troops, tanks, artillery, and supply vehicles through Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Ridgeville, Frederick, and Thurmont, camping for the night in each of those towns before commencing with the final leg of their trek through Emmitsburg to the Gettysburg battlefield (which they reached on June 26). 

The Gettysburg encampment, which was established on the Codori Farm, was dubbed Camp Harding, so named for President Warren Harding, who also happened to be pro-Marine, as opposed to his predecessor, President Wilson. The Gettysburg encampment was estimated to have been approximately 100 acres in size.

The Marines would have some very special observers for their July 1 battle reenactment, including President Harding and First Lady Florence Harding, along with White House staff members and numerous military figures, including General Pershing (who had been lobbying for four years to disband the Marine Corps).

Since Harding and his entourage intended to camp with the troops at Gettysburg, the Marines created a canvas compound that would come to be known as the “Canvas White House.”

Work on the canvas structure was initiated in Quantico when Marine engineers created and assembled the frame of the entire proposed presidential compound, which, upon its completion, was disassembled and shipped to Gettysburg by rail, and then transported by trucks to the battlefield where it was then reassembled on the Codori Farm, located along West Confederate Avenue, just north of the North Carolina Monument.

The compound consisted of 11 canvas and wood structures (encompassing a total of 16 rooms and 6 bathrooms), with walls and ceilings covered with plasterboard.

All the tentage was provided with wooden plank floors and all were fronted onto a plank walkway leading from one end of the compound to the other.

The canvas and wood complex consisted of a central 40-foot by 25-foot reception room. Attached to the southern face of the reception room was President and First Lady Harding’s personal quarters, followed by three tents for male guests, and one tent for female guests.

Attached to the northern face of the room was Presidential Secretary George Christian’s quarters, also then followed by three more tents for male guests and one more tent for female guests.

The completed Canvas White House compound was some 400-feet in length and 175-feet in width.

Lastly, the entire compound was lit with electricity provided by on-site generators, and water was provided by “many miles of pipeline” the Marines had installed to tie the encampment into the Gettysburg water supply, allowing the compound to have hot and cold running water in the compounds’ respective bathrooms.  Radio communications was set up by the Signal Corps. Six porcelain bathtubs arrived, strapped to the bellies of six Martin MBT twin-engine torpedo bombers.

The president and his entourage left the actual White House and arrived on the Cumberland Township battlefield on July 1 and entered West Confederate Avenue, unloading the vehicles at the Canvas White House where they were met with a 21-gun artillery salute, which was preceded by a half-hour artillery barrage, representing the commencement of the charge—the barrage reportedly having been heard as far away as Hanover. 

Then, after settling into the compound, the president and members of his entourage watched the ensuing battle from a no-longer existing observation tower that had stood in 1922 in Ziegler’s Grove, along with Colonel E.B. Cope, Superintendent of the Gettysburg National Battlefield Park and a Union Veteran of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg.

Retiring to the compound after the battle, Harding and much of his entourage spent the night in the camp and left on July 2. The Canvas White House, however, continued to serve as quarters for other guests and dignitaries through July 4.

CANVAS WHITE HOUSE COMPOUND:  A — The Canvas White House Compound; B — President’s public reception room; C — President and First Lady Hardings’ quarters; D — Presidential Secretary George Christian’s quarters; E — Three tents on each side of the main tentage for male guests; F — One tent on each end of the compound for female guests.

Courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company, modified by R. Fulton

The not-yet finished Canvas White House as it appeared before July 1. 

President Warren Harding watches the maneuvers from atop the Ziegler Grove observation tower. 

by James Rada, Jr.


Police Join LEOPS Pension Program

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently voted to move the Thurmont Police Department to the Law Enforcement Officers Pension System. They have discussed the move for years, and it is considered a more appropriate program for the police officers. The advantage is that it offers an earlier retirement age and enhanced benefits over the State of Maryland Pension System. The cost to move the current officers to the program is $45,000 a year for 20 years.

Parking Allowed on Park Lane

Given the controversy that allowing no parking along Park Lane caused among residents in the neighborhood, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners decided to return to the previous signage along the street that allowed for some parking. This was also the recommendation of Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler. The parking restriction had been a pro-active action to avoid possible problems with getting emergency vehicles into the area. However, since such a problem never occurred and the solution created anger among some residents, it was decided to revert to what had been working and deal with any problems if they arise.

Sewer Improvements Approved

The Guyer Brothers will perform sewer replacements along North Church Street, from the center of town to the high school. The cost of the project is $4,396,887. Most of this will be paid for using American Rescue Plan funds. The remaining $954,317 will be paid for using unrestricted funds from the town budget.

Construction Trade Services will make sewer repairs and replacement throughout town along Apples Church Road, Eyler Road, Roddy Road, and Vista Drive. The cost of these repairs is $85,000 and will be paid for with unspent FY21 capital project savings.

Town Considering FY24 Budget

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are considering the proposed budget for fiscal year 2024, which begins on July 1. The proposed $5,016,075 budget is $247,557 greater than the current budget. No increase in the tax rate is currently proposed.

The general fund includes $1,605,200 for public safety; $359,171 for parks and recreation; and $767,400 for streets. The enterprise funds are proposed to be $1,060,300 in the water fund; $1,752,800 in the wastewater fund; and $1,827,260 in the electric fund.


Creamery Road Pump Station Bid and Change Orders Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a bid of $4,391,422 from Conewago Enterprises to construct the Creamery Road Pump Station. The project, which was started in 2018, is funded through sewer fees, USDA loans, grants, and a town match.

The board also approved two engineering change orders: one for $267,059 and the second for $13,704.

Board Considering FY2024 Budget

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners has started considering the FY2024 town budget, which will take effect on July 1. The general fund is projected to increase 6 percent to $2,181,496.

The water fund is expected to decrease 8 percent this year to $680,801. The sewer fund is expected to increase by 7 percent to $1,018,155. A new stormwater management business fund is expected to be $15,000.

The property tax rate is proposed to remain at 34.64 cents per $100 of assessed value. A 4 percent COLA is also proposed for employee salaries.

Board Makes Budget Transfers

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved transfers to capital projects using $357,977 in excess revenues from the FY22 budget. Of this amount, $122,000 needs to be transferred to the FY2023 general fund. The remainder will go to streets ($75,000), streetlights ($72,000), pool ($5,300), Rainbow Lake ($37,850), grant matches ($24,327), and general projects ($21,500).

Parking Permit Options Added

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved changing the types of parking permits offered in town. The new permits will be $20 for one month, $57 for three months, $108 for 6 months, and $204 for 12 months.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day and had the opportunity to spend time with your family. The Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market is now open on Saturday mornings at the Community Park. I encourage everyone to visit the market and any other community events we are having. Watch for upcoming Concerts in the Park and others.

You may have heard that the board of commissioners (BOC) has voted to join in a multi-jurisdictional law suit against manufacturers of PFOAs and related chemical compounds. These chemicals are known as forever compounds because they resist breaking down naturally. They were used in many products, including fire-fighting foam, waterproof clothing and boots, non-stick cookware, and even items like pizza boxes. These chemicals have managed to get into our drinking water sources, and recent changes in allowable levels from the Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland Department of Environment will require that Thurmont and thousands of other communities across the USA take action to remove these chemical compounds from our water systems. We are currently working with our engineering firm to design the filtration systems needed to bring our levels down to a non-detectable level. This will require filtration units at each of our water treatment facilities. Not only will we need the filtration equipment, we will also need to build additions to our treatment facilities to house the filters and plumbing and electrical equipment to operate them. The initial costs will be high, but what is more troublesome is the unknown costs for the safe disposal and replacement of the filter elements or filtration materials. Looking ahead, the BOC has decided to participate in the legal action in an effort to help cover the associated costs. The cost for upgrading the systems will fall on the consumers, so any relief we can get in a settlement will help off-set the costs our residents will be paying. We are moving forward with the design, purchase, and installation of the required equipment. It is our hope that we get support from the MDE or EPA and a settlement from the legal action to help defray the costs. We do not expect to be made whole by a settlement but we hope that funds will be awarded to help defray the costs. While the design and installation process is moving forward, I want to reassure everyone that we are following the guidelines set forth by the EPA and MDE.

Work continues on Frederick Road leading up to milling and resurfacing later this summer. The Thurmont Water Department installed three new 8-inch gate valves at the Frederick Road and Thurmont Boulevard intersection. This will ensure that a planned commercial improvement on Thurmont Blvd. will not require cutting the new blacktop. They have also installed a new 8-inch gate valve on the Moser Road water main at Frederick Road. This new valve will allow the crew to isolate the water main if it needs to be shut down in an emergency. A private contractor has been working to upgrade the storm water collection basin on Frederick Road. These are all over 40 years of age and have been having issues. The new basins will help improve the flow of storm water off of the road surface. They are also upgrading the sidewalk and entrance to Community Park in advance of milling and repaving. These projects have caused some delays and slowed traffic, but in the end, the new road surface will be well worth the inconvenience. The Town has just put out an invitation to bid on the milling and blacktopping. The contract should be awarded within a month, and at that time we will have an approximate start date for the final phase of work.

The Town of Thurmont will also be starting a rebuild of North Church Street this fall. This project will include the complete rebuilding of the water and waste water infrastructure on the roadway. The infrastructure has been in place for many years and sections are failing. We will be removing existing terra-cotta pipe wastewater lines and wastewater laterals. We will also be removing an abandoned water pump installation beneath the Church Street and Emmitsburg Road intersection. This work will provide much-improved services for residents served by the lines we are replacing. During the work, one lane will be closed and flagmen will be onsite to keep traffic moving as smoothly as possible. Once our work is finished the state will blacktop the roadway.

As always, please wear sunscreen, hats, and long sleeves when outdoors. Make sure your kids, family, and friends are also protected for their safety. I can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 301-606-9458.


Mayor Don Briggs

Why should we protect our mountains, farms, and historic districts? Because it defines us. Recently, our daughter moved to Lexington, Kentucky. She had sold her horse farm in Virginia, spent a year traveling around the world, and then, surprisingly, extended her horse-related career in the horse capital of the world: the bluegrass state. In a recent visit, we drove by miles and miles of horse farms with new foals abounding; ate lunch at Keenland Racetrack; toured the Kentucky Horse Park, home of the Olympic equestrian team; and watched the world-renowned Rolex three-day competition event. Our daughter’s grandparents’ farm was named Houyhnhnm, a name taken from the Jonathan Swift novel, Gulliver’s Travels. Houyhnhnm (pronounced win-em) was a mythical country of superior intellect horses. Though our daughter will be traveling a lot in her new role in the horse world, it sure seems and feels like she lives in that special place, the Camelot of horse lovers, Houyhnhnm. We’ve got it special, too. Let’s protect our special setting that forms us. Something akin to the Irish bard’s description, Dinnshenchas, the embodiment of place and who we are.

I attended and gave the welcoming address at the 42nd National Firefighters Foundation Memorial Weekend held on the weekend of May 6-7. The commemoration was previously held annually the first weekend in October. As in previous years, thousands of guests visited Emmitsburg to honor those who gave their lives in fire service. The weather cooperated for a fitting tribute for those firefighters who were always there for us. Many people have asked what my message to our guests was, so here it is:

“Good evening. On behalf of the residents of Emmitsburg and Northern Frederick County, welcome.

Thank you for again sharing this solemn tradition with us, the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service weekend, as today we honor these firefighters. 

Every year as mayor, I am given the honor to welcome you. And every year I have to call upon wisdom far greater than mine.

It is written that success in life is measured by whether we use the gifts/talents that we are given. It is also written, as if to answer that challenge, ‘Be not afraid.’

For your contributions to your communities across the county, responding to that call in the middle of the night, always that challenge is there and begs an answer.

As it was for these firefighters we honor today, the answer they gave was yes, and the answer they expect from you and all of us is: Be not afraid.

They were a success. They used their talents well. Welcome. Our town is yours.”

After many hours of preparation by a faithful group of volunteers led by the Lions Club and most of our civic groups, including the Knights of Columbus and Masons, the Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day will be Saturday, June 24. Great community event in Myers Community Park: vendors, games, multiple food choices, parade, and fireworks. 

Parks are alive with activities. People are enjoying the new bleachers for baseball and softball games in both Memorial and Myers parks. New covered places with grills are being used. More walkers are out and about now that the town is more connected with the sidewalk improvements throughout the town and missing connections in the parks that were made in the last decade. Again, we are becoming a well-connected pedestrian and bike-friendly town that is less car dependent and offers a diversity of both active and passive recreational opportunities.

The community pool opens on Memorial Day Weekend and will be open on weekends, then daily after schools let out. Pool party dates are set, one for each of the summer months. Check with the town office or social media sites for dates and times.

The Farmers Market, located on South Seton Avenue, opens on Friday, June 23, from 2:00-8:00 p.m., and is going to be spectacular. It’s our best one yet: lots of vendors, children’s activities, and an ice cream truck to boot.

Come on summer. Emmitsburg is here and ready for all to enjoy.


Burgess Heath Barnes

On May 13, town elections were held for two council positions. Congratulations to Commissioner John Cutshall on his re-election and to former Burgess, Bill Rittelmeyer, on his election to serve as a council member. Thank you both for stepping up to serve our town.

At our May 9 town meeting, I informed the council that, unfortunately, our request for funding of $257,892.64 to be added into the county budget for a needed major electrical panel replacement at the water plant was not added. We discussed other ways to get it replaced. We will reconcile our records and see what is remaining from the ARPA funds we received as one option.

I also was informed that our request to have a grant issued under the Community Parks and Playgrounds to build a bathroom in the east side of the park was not approved. It appears, from what I can see, that out of the 70-plus projects that were awarded under this year’s governor’s budget, only one went to Frederick County.

On a bright note, we did receive the denial letter the day before the deadline for next year’s POS grant deadline, so we submitted the project under that, along with the request for funding the skate park. The meeting for that will be on June 6, along with the other municipality leaders in the county to determine the funding allocations; hopefully, we are successful.

Commissioner Dana Crum informed us that she has scheduled the company to paint the much-requested pickleball lines onto the tennis courts. That should happen in the next few weeks. The maintenance men have also removed the old playground equipment in one section of the park and the new equipment will be installed in July or August. I also gave an update on the town hall. A site plan has now officially been filed with the county and is going through the forestation and storm water management permitting process at this time. Once those are approved, the process will begin flowing through the permitting channel, hopefully, at a quick speed.

The FY2024 budget was presented to the council and several items were discussed and some changes made. At the June 13 town meeting, the budget will be voted upon during the first half of the meeting and the two new council members will be sworn in to continue the second half of the meeting.

 As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at [email protected] or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed.

If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting.

The current location for meetings is the St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Deb Abraham Spalding

In Lantz, Maryland, in the 1920s, three Bumbaugh daughters married three Buhrman brothers. One of those couples gave birth to Dollie Buhrman. One day, teen-aged Dollie spotted a boy working at Harrison’s Market in Cascade when she went there with her father to get ice cream. Dollie saw the boy and, “thought he was wonderful and cute!” 

To meet her today, you’d never guess that Dollie took the first step to meet her future husband. At the time, Dollie was determined. She told her friend, Ruthie, that she caught a glimpse of this guy at Harrison’s, and he needed to come to see her. With Ruthie’s help to arrange it, Roy Sanders from Greenstone, Pennsylvania, went to meet Dollie at her house. The two became sweethearts.  

In April 2023, that girl and that boy, Roy and Dollie (Buhrman) Sanders, stood proudly in their business, Sanders Market, in Cascade, greeting customers and exchanging jokes and pleasantries. 

When the couple met in 1953, Harrison’s Market was a two-room store that was in a house across from the current Sanders Market on Military Road in Cascade. Roy and Dollie live in that house now. 

Dollie graduated in 1954; Dollie married Roy (or did Roy marry Dollie?) in 1955; in 1956, Roy bought the Harrison’s Market’s stock and equipment with an option to buy the house in five years—Roy called the new business Sanders Market. In 1957, Roy was drafted into the U.S. Army.  

Roy needed his new bride Dollie to run the market while he was away. But Dollie was working at Clare Frock in Thurmont at the time, and she told Roy she couldn’t run the store. Roy responded, “Honey, I don’t want you to run it. I just want you to keep it open until I get back.”

Dollie quit Clare Frock, and Roy’s younger brother, Bub, and Dwight Dingle helped her.  

Roy returned after just two years of service in 1959. He added a room and refrigeration unit to the house/market and started cutting meat.  

On April 30, 1964, the Sanders moved the market into a newly built facility across the road from their house. 

Sanders Market has always been a family business. The Sanders’ three daughters, Rosalie, Kathleen, and Julie, all worked in the family business as youngsters. Kathleen Yarish pursued a career in healthcare. She helps her parents make their doctor’s appointments. 

The oldest, Rosalie Sanders-Luke, has always worked at the store. Shortly after marrying Bryan Luke, he also joined the family business. If you’ve been to Sanders Market, you will notice that they have a notoriously fresh deli and meats section. There is usually a line of customers awaiting their turn to be served.  

The youngest daughter, Julie, has always worked full-time at the store, aside from attending college at Frostburg and coaching part-time.

These days, Roy and Dollie fill in at the market from time to time, but they’re not seen at the market on a regular basis. Roy explained that he has had some health issues and hasn’t been very active for the past three years. “I miss the people,” he said.  

About the potential of a Dollar General store being built nearby, Roy explained that when he started, “There were 15 mom-and-pop stores in the immediate area. Of course, Fort Ritchie was thriving, so it was different.” He added, “There’s just a piece of the pie, and, hopefully, it’s a big enough piece to keep the doors open. We survived Walmart and Dollar General coming in. We’ve been very fortunate here. The community has been good to us.”  

Julie described the legacy, “The biggest thing about having a store like this is that your customers become family. When new people come in and you can help them, it speaks volumes when they come back and thank you.” 

Coming full circle, currently, two employees at the market have a father who also worked at Sanders. They’re enjoying comparing the generational gap.   

In 2023, Dollie and Roy Sanders will be married for 68 years, and the store will be in business for 67 years.

Cover caption: Roy and Dollie Sanders, proprietors of Sanders Market in Cascade, Maryland are shown in the store in April.

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

Inside caption: Dollie and Roy Sanders are shown with Roy’s brother Bub Sanders in the days at Sanders Market when it was located in a house.