Currently viewing the tag: "Fort Ritchie"

Alisha Yocum

Local resident, Chasity Cool, first learned about Japanese Head Spas through a YouTube video. As its name suggests, this treatment originated in Japan and quickly gained traction in China and Korea before reaching the United States. Cool says TikTok videos have driven its popularity over the last few years.

After researching the new trend, Cool opened Orchid Oasis Day Spa inside Flat Top Suites at historic Fort Ritchie in Cascade.

The service combines traditional Japanese methods with contemporary haircare practices to address scalp and hair concerns. Throughout the treatment—in addition to shampooing and conditioning—water is directed to pressure points on the head, enhancing relaxation and promoting better blood flow to the scalp. According to Cool, while many clients seek these treatments for relaxation purposes, they also offer significant benefits for individuals dealing with hair loss or thinning, psoriasis, stress, or those recovering from chemotherapy treatments.

Cool has over 25 years of experience as a nurse in dermatology and is a licensed Esthetician. With her background, Cool created what she calls a Scalpacial, which includes the head spa, facial, and massage, giving you the ultimate spa relaxation package.

Although Cool just opened the spa in 2023, she has already added a second spa bed, and she hopes to add a third soon.

In March, a client’s TikTok video went viral, allowing Cool to quit her job in dermatology and work full-time at the spa.

“This is my dream and what I want to do, and I am finally doing it,” said Cool.

The spa offers a variety of services for men, women, and teenagers, in addition to those mentioned above, including waxing, eyelashes, beard conditioning, teen facials, and foot facials. 

Cool is also proud to support other women-owned businesses and sells those products in in her spa.

The spa is open Monday, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Thursday, 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.; Friday, 12:00-9:00 p.m.;  Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

Check out her website at or Facebook for upcoming events and specials, including Father’s Day specials!

Chasity Cool, owner of Oasis Orchid Day Spa, located at Fort Ritchie in Cascade, offers Japanese head spas and other spa services.

by becky dietrich     Submitted by Joan Bittner Fry

This article appeared in the December 5, 1975 edition of The Record Herald.

Why do people drink beer in a place called “Chocolate Park?” Because there was once a man named Jansen, from Germany, who made delicious chocolates in his home to sell. An investor from out of town was impressed with the quality of the candy and built the factory for quantity production. Blue Mountain Candy was well known to the many people who summered in this resort area.

Next to the candy company a small concession and park, complete with swimming pool, opened up sometime in the late 20s or early 30s. There, the soldiers at Camp Albert C. Ritchie would have sandwiches and milk shakes during summer encampment breaks. Now for those of you too young to recall, don’t snicker at the thought of soldiers drinking milk shakes. The only other thing to drink came from the moonshiner, Old Man Poole (remember Prohibition?) up on the reservoir road who, no doubt did a booming business.

It wasn’t until 1933 that 3.2 beer was sold legally and then the former Chocolate Park concession stand became a popular “R & R” spot. Sometime in the late 30s the chocolate company, which by this time had gone out of business and converted to a textile company, burned to the ground. Very shortly thereafter the present Chocolate Park was built on the concession spot. Various owners tried to change the name and call it the “Three J’s” or the “Knotty Pine Inn,” but the original name stuck. Its much-frequented bar gave hearty competition to “The Red Hen” up in Pen Mar and “The Blue Goose” on McAfee Hill (which was then the Germantown Road).

During the war a captain at Post Headquarters was finally alerted to a mass deception that had worked for weeks. Every time he sought a certain sergeant or corporal he was told “Sorry, sir, he’s just gone to the CP (Command Post).” One day during duty hours when Chocolate Park’s bar was well lined with beer and men, the captain’s jeep pulled quickly behind the building – and there was a mad dash for the exit. Too late! To the amazement of all conspirators the captain walked in, ordered a beer and said. “So this is the new CP.”

A hush prevailed until he’d finished his beer, gone to the door, and turned to say, “Gentlemen, finish your drinks and report to my office!” A disquieted group soon reported in to hear the ultimatum “In the future there had better be only ONE CP! Dismissed!”

My mother, Helen Miller, was working at Blue Mountain Chocolate Company in 1931, the year she and my father, Harold Bittner, were married. J. Fry.

James Rada Jr.

Ever since Fort Ritchie closed for good in 1998, Cascade has settled down in its role as a small community. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the Cascade-Highfield area has 1,082 residents. People, for the most part, are happy in their small town.

However, recent efforts have been made to revitalize Fort Ritchie and create housing, museums, and boutique shops from the existing buildings. This seems to have attracted other development as well, as a DG Market is planning to build right outside the gates of the Fort Ritchie community. DG Market is a larger version of a Dollar General Store that is more focused on being a supermarket.

According to documents submitted to the Washington County Board of Zoning and Appeals, the proposed location will be 2.18 acres across from the American Legion in Cascade. The store will have 12,480 square feet, with a third of the space dedicated to selling fresh produce and market items. It will be open seven days a week, opening at 8:00 a.m. and closing at 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. The board granted Outdoor Contractors a special exception to build the store on a parcel zoned rural village.

Residents feel the store would change the character of the community, disrupt scenic views, and harm long-time businesses in the area. They also feel it is not needed since the Blue Ridge Summit Dollar General is less than two miles away and there are three stores within five miles of Cascade.

“The store will bring to this community—with its charm, clean air, bright starlit nights—light and noise pollutions, the closure of local small grocery businesses, the destruction of farmland, substantial traffic increases that will result in more traffic accidents and possible train accidents since the tracks are feet from the proposed entrance, increase in violent crime, and eventually, causing complete economic [demise] of the hosting community,” Allison Coles Severance with Highfield Pottery wrote in an email to The Catoctin Banner.

Residents have started an effort to stop the store from coming to Cascade. They are appealing the zoning decision and started a Facebook page to get the word out about the efforts small towns are taking to stop Dollar Generals from coming. They have collected 500 signatures on a petition opposing the store as opposed to the opposition who has collected 30 signatures in favor. They have organized community meetings and set up fundraising events and campaigns to finance attorney fees. 

Julie Sanders with Sander’s Market said the county didn’t take into account the ripple effect when you allow a store like Dollar General in.

“The community relies on these small businesses,” she said. “When you look out at the home-run wall of the Little League field, you don’t see box stores advertising, you see the little guys.”

Sanders Market has been serving the community for 66 years. When churches need food for raffles and sales, they come to the market for help. When there was a fire in the area, the market opened up to supply the firefighters with something to drink.

“It’s little things these businesses do that people don’t understand they would miss if businesses close because of Dollar General,” Sanders said.

So, what will happen to Sanders Market if the Dollar Store gets built? According to the Institute for Self-Reliance, it may close. According to a fact sheet it published about dollar stores, “Dollar stores are taking a toll on grocery stores and, in many cases, reducing people’s access to fresh food. In small towns, which are often served by a single locally owned supermarket, a dollar store’s arrival typically cuts sales at the supermarket by about 30 percent. In most cases, that’s enough to put a local grocer out of business, leaving the community’s commercial district without an anchor and negatively impacting other businesses.”

Sanders said that when the Blue Ridge Summit Dollar General opened, it hurt their business more than when the Super Walmart opened in Waynesboro.

GTs gas station and convenience store is another business that has been serving Cascade for years.

“This DG severely threatens his business,” resident Shelly Strong wrote in an email. “It also threatens the property values of those around it, will create light pollution, attract crime, and potentially create a food desert.”

Once the store is established, some people have heard talk that it may start selling beer, which could affect other businesses. “It’s a mini-Walmart,” Sanders said. “It doesn’t fit in our rural community.”

In October, the community submitted a letter of request for reconsideration to the Board of Approval members, which has been approved. To stay up to date on what is happening and for the latest news, follow their Stop Dollar General In Cascade, Maryland Facebook Page.

“I fear the tight peaceful community feel will be lost forever if Dollar General moves into the neighborhood and becomes my neighbor,” Severance wrote.

This photo shows the beautiful view from Allison Severance’s barn. The Dollar General dumpsters would come right up to the fence.

The Mountain Seaside

by James Rada, Jr.

It was supposed to be a Maryland seashore on a mountaintop.

In 1889, the Buena Vista Ice Company bought 400 acres of land where Fort Ritchie would eventually be built, and set aside 20 acres for a lake.

“The business had counterparts on the East Coast below the Mason-Dixon Line,” according to the Hagerstown Morning Herald.

Perhaps forgetting that the purpose of the lake was to freeze in the winter, so the ice could be cut into blocks and sold, people were more interested in its summertime uses. They began picturing the area as the next Ocean City.

The Catoctin Clarion reported in August 1901, shortly after Lake Royer opened, “They now have a miniature ‘shore’ up on top of the mountain: by feeding at proper intervals, several barrels of fish salt into the stream that feeds the ‘lake,’ sea water may be imitated; by hiring a small boy to teeter a log in the water, modest breakers may be fashioned; high and low tides may be accomplished by lowering into and hoisting from the lake kegs of nails, twice in every twenty-four hours; the rattles taken from the rattlesnake skins that the mountain belles are wearing for belts, might be scattered about the beach to represent sea shells…”

The writer envisioned Blue Ridge Summit becoming the ultimate summer destination. Of course, Pen-Mar was already a popular summer getaway, and the lake would only cement its reputation.

“Lake Royer is a lovely sheet of water, covering about 21 acres, and is located near Buena Vista Station, and within easy reach of Pen-Mar, Blue Ridge, Monterey and Blue Mountain,” the Frederick News reported.

Col. John Mifflin Hood, president of the Western Maryland Railway, created Pen-Mar Park in August 1877 as a way to attract people to use the railroad to get out of the heat of the city during the summer. The park offered a view of over 2,000 square miles and two mountain ranges at an altitude of 1,400 feet. It is located on the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania, hence the name.

“From here on a clear day, one could see the town clock in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, at a distance of 24 miles—with binoculars, of course,” Frank and Suanne Woodring wrote in the book, Images of America: Pen-Mar.

Pen-Mar Park featured a dancing pavilion and a dining room that could seat 450 people. An observation tower was added in 1878. Lake Royer’s opening in 1901 allowed the park to offer one more attraction.

Trains heading to Blue Ridge Summit left Baltimore daily at 9:15 a.m. and advertised the new lake. Tickets cost $1, plus an extra 50 cents if you wanted to eat dinner at Pen-Mar.

“The popularity of Lake Royer is shown by the big supply of bathing costumes hanging up to dry every day. Last Sunday, nearly 100 were strung up at one time,” the Baltimore Sun reported in August 1901.

Pleasure boats were allowed on the water, and bathhouses had been erected allowing visitors to go swimming. They could even rent a bath “costume” for 25 cents.

The park quickly became a popular destination for tourists who traveled on the railroad from towns and cities all over the East Coast to the Maryland and Pennsylvania mountains. The peak single-day attendance at the park was 20,000 people.

Demand for natural ice declined over the years as refrigeration technology improved, and the Buena Vista Ice Company discontinued operations at the site in the mid-1920s.

In 1926, the State of Maryland purchased 580 acres to establish Camp Ritchie as a Maryland National Guard training area. Acquisition of additional property increased the camp to 638 acres by 1940.

“Camp Albert C. Ritchie was built and the last ice houses razed. One of them was still two-thirds full of ice,” according to the Hagerstown Morning Herald.

The new camp also ended the public use of Maryland’s mountain seashore.

(above) Historic postcard view of Lake Royer.

(below) Aerial view of Lake Royer.

James Rada, Jr.

The Catoctin Banner presents a continuation of fiction serials for your enjoyment. “Cast from the Gods” is a new, original serial set at Site R when it was under construction. Let us know what you think.

Part 4: The cage

The deformed skeleton was no longer a skeleton. As unusual as that was, it was only the second thing the soldiers noticed when they entered the excavated chamber under Raven Rock Mountain. The first thing they noticed was that Pvt. Jacob Parkinson, who had been stationed in the chamber to guard the skeleton, was missing. They called out his name and searched around the piles of rock and dirt in case falling debris inside the chamber may have injured or even killed him.

The private was nowhere to be found.

“Do we have an AWOL soldier?” Maj. Henry Owens asked.

“I doubt it, sir,” Sgt. Zachary Konrath said. He was Parkinson’s squadron commander at nearby Fort Ritchie. “Private Parkinson seemed fine when he went on duty. He was a friendly soldier who was doing fine in the military. Even if he went AWOL, where did he go?”

Major Owens scowled as he looked around the dark chamber. “If I knew that, I wouldn’t be standing here.”

“No, sir, I mean we had two men stationed on either side of the entrance to this chamber and other guards regularly patrolling the fence around this site. No one saw Parkinson last night.”

“He must have snuck by you because he certainly isn’t in here.” The major waved his hands around to show he was talking about the cavern.

Konrath shook his head. “With all due respect, sir, I don’t see how. Besides the guards, the entrance was well lit. My men would have seen someone leaving.”

“It’s happened before.”

Sergeant Konrath stiffened. “Not with my men, sir.”

Since construction of the underground complex had started, curious people had managed to get onto the property. A few made it as far as the entrance to the tunnel before they were caught. It wasn’t as if those people had made it onto the property without being detected. They had been detected and caught before they breached the sensitive area. They had only gotten that far because the fencing had not been fully erected at the time.

This cavern was supposed to be an atom bomb shelter for the government should the Soviets attack. It was nowhere near complete yet, in part, because the chamber was being hollowed out of greenstone granite. Yet, a long time ago, a group of people using primitive tools apparently buried a mysterious coffin containing a deformed skeleton hundreds of feet below the ground. So far, no one could identify what sort of creature the skeleton had been when it was alive because it certainly wasn’t human. They couldn’t even identify the metal the coffin was made from, but strange things had been happening around it ever since the work crew had opened it.

“There’s something else you need to see concerning the skeleton, sir,” Sergeant Konrath said.

“I’ve seen the skins on the bones, sergeant,” Major Owens told him.

Sergeant Konrath shook his head. “No, sir, this is something we discovered this morning when Private Parkinson’s relief came in.”

They walked over to the 12-foot-long and four-foot-wide and two-foot-tall coffin. Sergeant Konrath turned on his flashlight and shone the beam inside the coffin. The creature was nearly entirely covered with either fur, skin, or feathers of other creatures or the gray, leathery skin the other skins seemed to turn into. The face was gray with a wolf-like snout. However, instead of nostrils, the snout had a set of what appeared to gills running along its sides. The head resembled a sea urchin with spines growing from the top of it instead of hair.

Major Owens leaned over. “It looks different from yesterday. There’s more flesh. It’s barely even a skeleton now. I still couldn’t tell you what it is, though.”

“Sir, it’s breathing.”


The major leaned over the coffin, staring at the creature’s chest. As he watched, it slowly rose as the creature inhaled.

He straightened up. “Holy, Mother of God!”

“Is it alive, sir?” Konrath asked.

“How should I know? I don’t even know what it is. How long has it been doing that?”

“At least since we got here at 0700.”

Owens thought for a moment. “I’ve got to make some calls. I will send down four more men, fully armed. I want the men already here and the additional men guarding this… thing.”

The major walked back to his Jeep. He drove out of the tunnel to the site office. He ordered the additional soldiers into the tunnel and then he placed a call to Dr. Howard Buchanan, the professor who had verified the site as not being claimed as a religious site or graveyard by any Native American or pioneer group. Howard arrived two hours later, and Major Owens drove him into the tunnel.

Dr. Buchanan looked at the creature in the box and said, “Amazing.”

“Is that all you have to say?” Owens asked.

“What do you expect me to say? Somehow a skeleton is regrowing its lost organs and flesh. It’s unheard of.”

Owens sighed. He would have been a lot happier if Buchanan had been military. “I want to know: 1) What is it? 2) Is it alive? And 3) Is it dangerous? And not necessarily in that order.”

Dr. Buchanan straightened up. “I’m afraid I can’t answer any of those questions. However, one of my colleagues thought the characters etched on the coffin looked familiar. He is attempting to decipher them for me.”

“Then I need to take some precautions.” Owens looked around. “Sergeant Konrath, where are you?”

The sergeant hurried over. “Yes, sir.”

“I want you and the other men here to put that lid back on the coffin. I will send a work team down here to erect a cage around it.”

“Don’t you think that’s an overreaction?” Dr. Buchanan asked.

Owens poked the professor in the chest. “You just told me you can’t tell me what this is or even if it’s alive. Yet, I have a skeleton regrowing its body. So, no, I don’t think I’m overreacting.”

The 10 soldiers managed, with effort, to push the lid back into place. When it dropped into place on top of the coffin, the sound of metal on metal echoed back and forth in the chamber.

As the sound died off, another sound replaced it. It sounded like thunder or a deeply muffled growl.

          To be continued…

Cast From the Gods

James Rada, Jr.

The Catoctin Banner presents a continuation of fiction serials for your enjoyment. “Cast from the Gods” is a new, original serial set at Site R when it was under construction. Let us know what you think.

3: The Pieces

Bruce Nelson was more than happy to allow the so-called experts to crowd around the odd metal box Bruce’s work crew had found hundreds of feet under Raven Rock Mountain. The U.S. government had hired him to excavate a chamber under the mountain not deal with metal boxes that couldn’t be scratched and bones growing flesh.

Not just any flesh either. Patches of skin, fur, and organs from a variety of creatures covered the deformed skeleton he had found in the box. He didn’t know how it had happened. He just wished he was constructing an office building in Baltimore and not some top secret chamber in what seemed to be a haunted mountain.

More than one egghead poking and prodding the skeleton proclaimed it a hoax, but none of them could explain how the bones came to be under the mountain or how the flesh had attached itself to the bones.

The eggheads increased the number of guards at the entrance tunnel and left satisfied the foolishness would end. They thought locals had snuck into the tunnel and pulled a practical joke. Idiots! Whatever this box and skeleton might be, they weren’t a hoax. Not that it mattered to him. He just wanted to get back to work.

The next morning Bruce drove a truck through the tunnel to inspect the work site before the day’s work began. He didn’t want to look in the metal box, but he knew he had to confirm the skeleton was undisturbed. If it was some sort of Indian burial, the government would be in enough trouble for opening the box. They wanted to leave the skeleton alone until they knew one way or another what was going on.

Bruce looked in the box and shook his head. Even more fur and flesh covered the skeleton, which now resembled a decaying corpse rather than a skeleton. He leaned closer. The older flesh had changed. He remembered what it had looked like, but now it was gray and leathery and covered with short brown hair.

The site manager–a major from Fort Ritchie–threw a fit when he saw the skeleton. He chewed out the night guards who swore no one had entered the chamber.

* * *

That evening, in addition to the guards at the entrance to the mountain tunnel, Private Jacob Parkinson drew guard duty for the metal box his fellow soldiers called “the coffin.”

Jacob lived at Fort Ritchie on nearby South Mountain. He’d been working at Raven Rock since the excavation began. Like pretty much everyone else at Fort Ritchie, he had no idea what was going on under the mountain. The rumor mill said when the Russians detonated their own A-bomb a few years ago, it had spooked the top brass in the U.S. government. President Truman had ordered the construction of what would be a giant bomb shelter, but who was it for? It was out in the middle of nowhere.

In his five months on site, Jacob had never even been inside the mountain before tonight. He paced around the box, which is what the soldiers who had seen it called the coffin. The first thing he had done after coming on duty was to look inside at the deformed skeleton covered with pieces of other animals. How could he resist?

Sergeant Collins had told him to watch over the skeleton and make sure nothing happened to it, as if grave robbers looked for graves hundreds of feet underground. And who would want a patchwork skeleton like he was looking at?

Jacob circled the perimeter at the edge of the light the klieg lights cast. He picked up rocks and threw them at boulders protruding from the rubble pile. He sang to himself. This wasn’t like walking along the fence line outside of the mountain. This cavern was too quiet, and there were no stars. Just light and darkness. Outside, he could listen to the night noises when he walked. He heard nothing in this space. Nothing lived here.

It was after his dinner break that Jacob started hearing noises. Maybe it was because he was feeling full after eating the roast beef sandwich and pretzels he had packed. He wasn’t singing or throwing things. He was as quiet as the cavern, except the cavern wasn’t quiet.

He could hear small rocks being dislodged and the scrape of claws along the rocks. He unslung his rifle from his back and let it hang loose in his hands. He kept his back to the coffin and tried to hear from where the sounds were coming. Easier said than done. Everything echoed in the cavern.

Jacob faced in the direction of the cavern opening, which was the most likely direction anything would approach from.

He waited.

A copperhead crawled across the cavern floor in his direction. Where had it come from? Copperheads needed warmth to control their body temperature. Why would it crawl half a mile underground? How long had it been crawling?

The snake moved his direction. Was it seeking the warmth of his body heat? Jacob stepped to the side, shouldered his rifle and drew his pistol. He didn’t want to shoot it, but he also didn’t want it crawling around where he might not see it before it bit him.

The snake didn’t change direction. Instead, it continued in a straight line to the coffin and crawled inside.

Jacob moved up next to the box and shined his light inside. He couldn’t see the snake. Where had it gone? Where could it have gone? Jacob hadn’t seen it crawl out. He moved his flashlight to look around the outside of the coffin, but then he shifted his light back. Something was different. He stared at the skeleton and then realized what had changed. It now had a four-inch-wide strip of snake skin around its neck. What’s more, that skin seemed to float in place as if resting on something Jacob couldn’t see.  

He unslung his rifle and pressed the end of the barrel into the space between the neck bone and the snake skin. The barrel passed through air.

As Jacob stepped back, a golden retriever jumped into the coffin. Jacob yelped and stumbled backward. He hadn’t seen a dog in the tunnel. How had it gotten past the guards at the entrance?

“Get out of there, boy!” Jacob said, making a shooing motion.

The dog sat on the skeleton and whimpered. Then its skin slid off its body and onto the skeleton. The whimpers grew louder. The dog shimmered with blue light.

Jacob felt his roast beef roiling in his stomach as he looked at the skinless dog. Then pieces of the dog’s flesh slipped onto the skeleton. Before Jacob could retch, the dog disappeared.

Confusion replaced nausea. Where was the dog? What had happened to it? He shined his flashlight in the coffin, but he saw nothing of the dog except that the skeleton’s right leg was now covered in golden fur.

Jacob turned away. He grabbed for the walkie-talkie on his belt, but his hand froze before he could touch it. He turned toward the coffin and stepped into it.

No! He wanted to scream and thrash, but he couldn’t. All he could do was whimper…like the dog.

No! No! No!

He looked down at the skeleton and saw it was glowing blue so brightly that Jacob couldn’t see the bones beneath of the shape of the creature formed from the light.

His skin ripped and slipped from his body. He felt no pain. Jacob wasn’t sure what surprised him more. That or seeing his skin spread across the skeleton.

He felt tugging on his thighs and chest and saw organs and muscle fall onto the skeleton.

Jacob wanted to scream, but all he could manage was a whimper.

And then he was gone.

Joan Bittner Fry

I particularly like this story. My Dad, Harold Bittner of Sabillasville, was a historian of sorts. He enjoyed picture taking. The photos above show his interpretation of the flag-lowering ceremony at Fort Ritchie in 1967. I can picture him walking toward the Fort Ritchie Castle, or headquarters, where the flag is usually flown at military posts. In the second photo, the smoke from the fired cannon is seen. After the flag was lowered, military personnel would retrieve the flag, finally catching and folding it and never allowing it to touch the ground. 

This was such a solemn and beautiful part of military life at Fort Ritchie and the community. On a clear day, the cannon could be heard for miles. This ceremony was performed at 4:30 p.m. each day.

A live soldier provided his rendition of “Taps,” and a bugle call played during official military ceremonies when the ceremony was finished. 

When I worked at Fort Detrick, I would walk from the parking lot to my office each morning at 6:00 a.m.  The flag-raising ceremony wasn’t nearly as uplifting as the one Dad had recorded in 1967. A scratchy recording of “Réveille” would be played as the flag was automatically raised. “Réveille” is chiefly used to wake military personnel at sunrise.  The name comes from the French word for “wake up.” There were no military personnel in sight here.  However, I would pause, place my hand over my heart, and hope to be protected by God and the military another day. 

If you have an unserviceable flag, consider calling the Boy Scouts, the AMVETS, the American Legion, or one of their members, to see if they are holding a Flag Retirement Ceremony on or around Flag Day, June 15. They will take your worn out flag and respectfully retire it. These clubs and organizations hold inspiring ceremonies for retiring flags, and the public is invited.

Aaron Shaw of Frederick took the top honors in both the spring and fall 2018 bass tournaments, hosted by Cobblestone Hotel & Suites and held on Lake Royer at the former Fort Ritchie property in Cascade. The events featured adult and youth divisions.

Joining Shaw on the podium for the fall tournament, held on Saturday, September 22, were Jacob Martin (second place), along with Dave Fisher and Josh Smith (tied for third place). Cash prizes were awarded for the top three finishers. In the youth division, Jesse Leisinger of Smithsburg took first place, followed by Chad Moser with second place. Youth division winners earned gift cards. Shaw’s winning fish was 13.25 inches, and Leisinger’s measured 13.5 inches.

The Cobblestone Hotel & Suites’ Bass Fishing Tournaments are held annually in the spring and fall, with proceeds benefitting the programs of the Fort Ritchie Community Center. Cobblestone Hotel & Suites has more than one hundred facilities across the United States, with the closest location to Fort Ritchie being in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. For more information on the community center, please visit

Aaron Shaw (far right) won both tournaments in 2018; pictured with Shaw are (from left): Josh Smith, David Fisher, and Jacob Martin.

Jessie Leisinger (right) won the youth division, and Chad Smith earned second place.

Submitted by Bill Eiker, SAL Historian

On October 1, 2016, the Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Post 239 in Cascade held their fall Gun and Cash Bash on the old parade grounds at Fort Ritchie.

Of the 2,000 tickets sold, there were more than 750 people in attendance. Considering the gloomy weather, it was quite a crowd!

Attendees enjoyed visiting with friends, playing the games, and winning the raffles. “Fisher House,”  “SAL Person(s) in Need Fund,” and the community will be recipients of the proceeds of the event.

There was plenty of pulled pork and beef, along with other picnic items, including Jen’s ice cream, to satisfy the hungry and the thirsty.

A heartfelt thanks to those who attended, especially the devoted volunteers who made this benefit a winning success.

The fortunate winners of the event were: J. Waggoner, F. Sheibs, A. Bare, D. Pryor, P. Fleagle, C. Cartee, G. Reese, L. Bell, B. Culison, S. Mummert, B. Gladhill, E. Kleen, S. King, C. Knott, J. Schnars, H. Portner, W. Haden, and K. Coyle.

The next Gun and Cash Bash will be held in the spring. Watch for upcoming information about the date and where to get your tickets.

by James Rada, Jr.
20160808_143927When Raymond Sanders (pictured right) first came to Sabillasville, it was because he needed a bigger house. His family was growing, and the Sanders needed space to expand. They found a two-story home at the end of a dead-end road and set down roots.

“It’s a nice place to live,” Sanders said. “The dead-end road was good for the children, and my wife’s father and stepmother lived nearby.”

His children started attending Sabillasville School when it was still in the building that is now the Walkersville Christian Fellowship Church. At that time, local students up to grade eight all fit into a three-room school. For high school, the students were bussed down the mountain to Thurmont High.

“I didn’t worry about them going down to Thurmont,” Sanders said. “People were careful on the road, and there were no accidents.”

Sanders was born in Iron Springs, Pennsylvania in 1922, but his family moved to Fountaindale, Pennsylvania, when he was six. From there, they would eventually move to Charmain and Highfield.

Although his work would take him far from Catoctin Mountain, to travel to all of his homes is no more than a ten-mile round trip.

“I’ve been working since the time I was twelve,” Sanders said.

His early work was hauling vegetables for a farmer, but he has also been a fruit picker, worked at the pipe and nipple factory, Landis Machine, and a brick factory.
His longest-lasting job was as a truck driver for Fort Ritchie. He worked there for twenty-two years, retiring in 1975 because of a back injury.

“They wouldn’t give me another job, and I couldn’t work anymore because I couldn’t pull rigs.”

Instead, he wound up retiring at age fifty-two. He was also a member of the Maryland National Guard. He was able to continue his service for five more years, before he needed to retire from that as well. Between his service in the National Guard and in the Army, Sanders served thirty-three years in the military.

Sanders is also a Veteran of World War II. He enlisted in the Army on March 18, 1943, and trained with the 8th Armored Division. However, when he shipped out to Europe, he was sent as part of the green troops, being sent to replace the soldiers who were dying in the war.

Once in Europe, though, he never saw combat.

“I was close to being called up a couple times, but it never happened,” said Sanders.

He mustered out after three years and returned home, which at the time, was Highfield. The following year, he “really met” Betty Jane Fox. He had first met her when she was ten and he was fifteen, but that was just in passing because he was friends with the boys in her family.

Sanders was in Waynesboro one time with Betty Jane’s uncle, when her uncle tried to convince Sanders to come to Frederick with him to a dance. Sanders wanted to go, but said he didn’t have a date. Betty Jane’s uncle then fixed her up with Sanders and the two hit it off. They were married on September 13, 1947.

Together, they raised seven children (Debbie, Becky, Rita, Larry, Mary, David, and James), and one grandson (Jeffrey). They also have twelve grandchildren and twenty-two great-grandchildren.

“When we had family picnics, we would have forty-five to eighty people show up,” Sanders said.

He has always enjoyed living in Sabillasville and says that he has pretty much anything he might need nearby. He attends church at St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Blue Ridge Summit. He belongs to the Cascade American Legion, Waynesboro VFW, and Knights of Columbus.

“I think we have the nicest people that any community could have up here,” expressed Sanders. “They make great neighbors.”
Betty Jane passed away last year, and while Sanders lives alone now, he still has plenty of family looking out for him and plenty of memories.

Joan Fry

goes-with-aunt-joan's-writeOn June 18, 2016, the Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Post 239 in Cascade held their spring Gun and Cash Bash on the grounds of Fort Ritchie.

Of the 2,500 tickets sold, there were more than 1,050 people in attendance.

The weather was perfect and attendees enjoyed visiting with friends, playing the games, and winning the raffles. Fisher House, SAL Person(s) in Need Fund, and Cascade School’s Christmas Party will be prioritized in receiving the proceeds of the benefit.

There was plenty of pulled pork and beef, along with other picnic items, including Jen’s ice cream, to satisfy the hungry and the thirsty. Heartfelt thanks to all who endeavored to make this day a big success. Just preparing 900 pounds of meat is quite a feat. It takes a lot of people, and they’re all volunteers!
Winners of the ticketed event were D. Miller, B. May, E. Miller, J. Wagaman, P. Pritt, J. Frye, S. Pelland, A. Scott, E. Willard, R. Martin, D. Hensley, D. DeLauter, E. Toms, S. Berger, J. Edwards, T. Bloyer, P. Ambrose, and C. Dayhoff.

The next Gun and Cash Bash will take place Saturday, October 1, 2016. Watch for tickets.