The Catoctin Banner is distributed via direct mail to approximately 8,500 households in Emmitsburg, Thurmont, Sabillasville, Cascade, Lewistown, and Rocky Ridge, Maryland. It is placed for free pick-up in surrounding towns in high-traffic areas. Those towns include Woodsboro, Taneytown, Detour, and Smithsburg in Maryland and Blue Ridge Summit, Waynesboro, and Fairfield in Pennsylvania.
Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church, Lewistown
by Theresa Dardanell
“1833…Rebuilt 1883.” That’s what you see on the cornerstone of the historic building that is now Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Lewistown. Inside the church, you will find a small, but growing, congregation that includes young families with children, as well as members of the original parish that began as a small mission in 2005.
Although the chapel was originally a Methodist church, it became the home of the Lamb of God Charismatic Episcopal Church in 2005, under the leadership of Father James Hamrick. In 2009, they were received into the Orthodox Church and blessed as Saint John the Baptist Mission.
On the welcome page of the Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church website, you will find the message: “We endeavor to bring the ancient Faith of Christ and the Apostles to the people of Frederick County and beyond.” Their Sunday service begins at 9:30 a.m. with “Matins,” which includes psalms, hymns, and readings. The Mass, according to the Rite of Saint Gregory, begins at 10:00 a.m. There are hymns, readings, prayers, a sermon, and communion. Visitors and friends are always welcome to attend Matins and Mass and, in the spirit of Christian fellowship, are invited to receive the priest’s blessing and blessed bread during communion. Fellowship continues after Mass with coffee hour. Once a month, everyone meets for a potluck dinner after Mass. The children are invited to move to the pews at the front of the church for the sermon. Father Hamrick speaks to the children, as well as to the adults, during his homily. The children’s education continues during children’s church on Saturdays.
Local and worldwide ministries are beneficiaries of the church. Monetary and food donations are given to the Thurmont Food Bank. The Antiochian Women of St. John the Baptist meet every other week for bible or book study and choose various service projects. They are in the planning stages of a program that will supply backpacks filled with supplies to various parishes. One of the previous service projects was a summer lunch program in Lewistown. Father Hamrick and one of the parishioners are members of the Order of St. Ignatius, a charitable order that provides funds for the support of seminarians, a camping ministry, prison fellowship, and Orthodox charities. Father Hamrick, a life member of the Guardian Hose Company and Thurmont Community Ambulance Company, serves as a Chaplain for the Guardian Hose Company.
Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church is located in Lewistown at 11199 Angleberger Road. Their very informative website, stjohnbaptistorthodox.org, includes information about the Orthodox faith, an archive of sermons, the “Path to Sainthood” lecture series, as well as a calendar and contact information. Pre-recorded sermons are aired on Sunday mornings at 7:30 a.m. on WTHU.
Colleen Mcafee, parishioner and public relations coordinator for the Antiochian Women of the Mid Atlantic Diocese, said, “We know people who have been on lifelong journeys. They are searching for something more. This fullness of the faith that’s really found in Orthodoxy. We never say where the grace of God is not but we know that the grace of God is here. For anyone searching for the fullness of the faith, explore your local Orthodox Church.”
Pictured are Father James Hamrick (center, holding the baby), along with Deacon Stephen Kerr (next to Father James) and members of the parish.
Area churches and organizations in Emmitsburg, Lewistown, Rocky Ridge, Sabillasville and Thurmont are working to provide students in need with school supplies for the 2017-2018 school year. This program is to assist students attending the Catoctin Feeder Schools. These schools include Emmitsburg Elementary, Lewistown Elementary & Pyramid Program, Sabillasville Elementary, Thurmont Primary, Thurmont Elementary, Thurmont Middle and Catoctin High.
The Annual Catoctin Community School Supply Drive is going to be held on Tuesday, August 21st from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Graceham Moravian Church located at 8231 Rocky Ridge Road in Thurmont.
If you would like to donate to this program, please drop off school supplies, cash donations or gift cards (Walmart) to the church on August 15th from 9:00 a.m. until Noon.
Any questions or concerns, please contact coordinator, Jennifer Harbaugh at 301-639-9970 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Rada, Jr.
Since 2003, Baker Tree Services has operated out of Lewistown, but they recently relocated to 147 Water Street in Thurmont and celebrated their grand re-opening at their new home.
“We were getting a little too big to operate out of our home in Lewistown,” said Carolyn Baker. “We also wanted to be able to separate our business and home life better.”
She and her husband, Glen “Eric” Baker, originally started as landscapers, but they started working exclusively with trees in 2003.
“It has more profit, and we liked the work better,” said Carolyn.
Baker Tree Services can do tree removal, tree pruning, stump grinding, and lot clearing. The work is done by trained experts. Eric is a Maryland Tree Expert, an ISA Certified Arborist, and holds the CTSP (Certified Tree Care Safety Professional) certification. Additional employees are licensed as well.
Carolyn says their employees are professionals who take pride in their work and do a great clean-up of their work sites. The crews follow American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards practices for proper pruning, which insures that only proper cuts will be made.
Baker Tree Services employs eighteen people and runs three to five crews, depending on the need. They work primarily in Frederick County but will also go into any of the surrounding counties if needed.
On Wednesday, June 6, 2018, the Town of Thurmont held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Baker Tree Services, Inc. to welcome Carolyn and Eric Baker to the Thurmont business community.
They can be reached at 800-383-4595 or email@example.com. Check out their advertisement on page 19.
The Town of Thurmont welcomes Baker Tree Services, Inc. to its new location on 147 Water Street in Thurmont with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 6, 2018. Owners, Carolyn and Eric Baker are pictured next to Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird (holding the certificate) to his left.
James Rada, Jr.
The Lewistown Volunteer Fire Department held its annual banquet to recognize its members and to install its new officers on Saturday, February 4, 2017, in the department banquet hall in Lewistown.
The members and other guests recalled the fun that they had in serving the community in 2016. The company had a busy year, with 415 fire calls and 380 EMS calls, but the Lewistown VFD members had turned out to help.
“Without these guys, this would not have been possible,” said Fogle.
In recognizing the top ten fire and EMS responders, many of the same names appear again and again, demonstrating the dedication of these members. In fact, the top two responders in both categories were a husband and wife team that competed for the top spot.
The top ten fire responders for 2016 were: Wayne Wachter (125 calls), Beth Wachter (117 calls), Wayne Stull (116 calls), Steve Stull (95 calls), Donald Martin (90 calls), Michael Fogle (89 calls), Frani Wachter (84 calls), Mike Stull (80 calls), Vicky Martin (72 calls), and Vince Schrader (59 calls).
The top ten EMS responders were: Beth Wachter (157 calls), Wayne Wachter (156 calls), Wayne Stull (143 calls), Stephanie Wachter (127 calls), Michael Fogle (69 calls), Brianna Wachter (66 calls), Steve Stull (55 calls), Frani Wachter (53 calls), Vicky Martin (44 calls), Vince Schrader (44 calls), and Mike Stull (35 calls).
After the catered dinner, the members enjoyed a good laugh at their own expense as Steve Stull handed out the Oopsy Awards. Stull called them a “celebration of the human condition, and, boy, were you guys human this year.” The awards recognized members for getting vehicles stuck, running over a skunk, driving down U.S. Route 15 with their gear on the hood of the engine, and chewing up a mat with a snowblower.
Frederick County Director of Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Chip Jewell swore in the new company officers.
Line Officers: Chief Wayne Wachter, Jr.; Deputy Chief Vicky Martin; and Assistant Chief Scott Martin.
Administrative Officers: President Donald Stull, Jr.; Vice President Chuck Jenkins; Secretary Karen Stull; Assistant Secretary Mary Frances Bostian; Treasurer Lena Stull; and Assistant Treasurer Lisa Monday.
Board of Directors: Paul Stull, Donald Martin, Scott Martin, Scott Stonesifer, Steve Stull, and Shawn Wetzel.
The company also remembered the members it lost in 2016 with a bell-ringing and candle-lighting ceremony. The members who passed away were: past chief Raymond Stull, Jr.; Rose Marie Williar Powell; Eve Ziglar; Janet Marsh; and Joseph Linton.
The company has been proudly serving Lewistown, Utica, and Mountaindale since 1970. That was the year Company 22 was formed and housed on Hessong Bridge Road. The first meeting was held on June 3, 1970, and the company purchased Engine 222 in August for $1,800. It was the first diesel engine in the county.
Lewistown VFD new administrative officers: Secretary Karen Stull, Assistant Secretary Mary Frances Bostian, Treasurer Lena Stull, and President Donald Stull, Jr.
Lewistown VFD new line officers: Deputy Chief Vicky Martin, Assistant Chief Scott Martin, and Chief Wayne Wachter, Jr.
Photos by James Rada, Jr.
A fire above Thurmont between Route 550 and Kelbaugh Road consumed seven acres on Sunday, November 21, 2016. The fire started around 2:00 p.m., was contained by 5:00 p.m., and fully extinguished by 8:00 p.m. It was started by downed power lines.
Ironically a new fire broke out around 1:00 a.m. the following morning near the same area. It is believed that the second fire started when a spark from the first fire was carried by the wind to the new location.
Initially, Thurmont’s Guardian Hose Company responded to the second fire, and by 7:30 a.m. fifty to seventy-five fire fighters were involved. Responders from Thurmont, Graceham, Emmitsburg, Rocky Ridge, Wolfsville, Smithsburg, Leitersburg, Frederick City, Camp David, Lewistown, Greenmount, Middletown, Blue Ridge Summit, Raven Rock, and more reported to help. Route 550 was closed to traffic during these fires.
Graceham Fire Company’s Assistant Chief, Louie Powell, was in command at the base of the mountain on Route 550 where water, gas, food, and holding tanks were set up. A canteen truck was brought in from Independence Fire Company to feed the responders.
Powell explained that to pump water up the mountain to fight the fire, a fire truck from Rocky Ridge had a 5” supply line pumping from the holding tanks to an engine from Vigilant Hose Company, and then that engine pumped through to another engine, and so on, to reach the fire higher up the mountain. He said, “It’s a neat operation.”
Neither of these fires resulted in a threat to human life, nor was there damage to homes or buildings. The second fire consumed approximately ten more acres of forest before being fully extinguished sometime in the afternoon on Monday.
Thanks to the many residents who provided assistance to the firefighters by opening access routes, allowing access to your property, and allowing the use of your private ponds for water. Good job to everyone who pulled together to successfully beat these fires!
Photo of fire by Donna Sweeney,
photo of basecamp by Deb Spalding
“Girls on the Run” is a positive youth development (PYD) after-school program for girls in third through eighth grades.
Lewistown is excited to become a part of this program this year! Their mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident, using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running.
The program started in September and will run through the beginning of December. Teams meet twice a week for ten weeks to learn life skills and train for a 5K (3.1 mi) run that will be held at the end of the season (on Saturday, December 3, in Baker Park, Frederick). For more information, visit www.gotrfrederick.org.
Hundreds of colorful school supplies filled the basement of Graceham Moravian Church on Monday, August 8, 2016. The Catoctin Community School Supply Drive, coordinated by Jen and Laura Harbaugh, collected donations from churches, organizations, and individuals from Emmitsburg, Thurmont, Lewistown, Sabillasville, and Rocky Ridge.
Volunteers from Harriet Chapel and Graceham Moravian Church, along with members of the Harbaugh family, sorted and counted the supplies and purchased additional items with money and gift cards that were also donated. On distribution day, 271 students from ninety-nine families in the Catoctin feeder area chose supplies from tables stacked with backpacks, notebooks, crayons, markers, scissors, glue sticks, pencils, and more.
According to Jen Harbaugh, students were very excited to pick out their own supplies. “I just like to see the kids get what they need to go to school and their smiles when they get it,” said Laura Harbaugh.
Pictured are volunteers Jen Harbaugh, Don Clabaugh, Pat Plum, Timothy Bentz, Fran Hennessy, and Paige Sweeney.
When you think of a volunteer fire department, the first thing that comes to mind is the serious nature of the firefighter’s job and all the dedicated volunteers who take on this responsibility. However, that’s only one side of the story. The other side of the story: Volunteers of all ages come together to work hard, and have some fun, while serving their community.
I met with several of the members of the Lewistown District Volunteer Fire Department: Mike Fogle, Chief; Donald Stull, Sr., President; Karen Stull, Secretary; Lena Stull, Treasurer; and Steve Stull, Board of Directors, to learn about the volunteers who make up the department. It was immediately apparent to me that this group works very hard, yet also genuinely enjoys each other’s company and has a great time. They spoke with pride about the volunteers who work extra time during severe weather or emergency situations. They also mentioned the fun they always have during the annual awards banquet.
Company 22 serves approximately thirty-three square miles, which includes Lewistown, Utica, and Mountaindale. The department was established in 1970 and began service to the community with Engine 222, the first diesel fire truck in Frederick County. Engine 222 was eventually replaced and sold. However, according to a recent fundraising letter sent to the community, “This year we have been afforded the opportunity to receive back one of the department’s original fire trucks from a very gracious gentlemen that had purchased it.”
I was especially interested in the volunteer opportunities available. The jobs that require training and certification are: Firefighter, Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Medical Technician, Firefighter/Emergency Medical Responder, and Emergency Medical Responder. To find out more about these positions, contact your local fire station. If you have the desire to be a part of the team, you will need to join the department. Training is provided free for members of the department. Certifications are required for all three jobs. Although Frederick County career staff supplement the Lewistown department, volunteers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Raising funds to keep the department running is a monumental task that requires lots of volunteers. Activities at the fire hall include the famous ham, turkey, and oyster suppers; bingos; raffles; weddings; and other private events, as well as school and community events. You don’t need any training to volunteer for events. If you like to cook, you can help with food preparation. Servers and clean-up crew are always appreciated. According to Karen Stull, you can sign up on the website to be a volunteer or just show up. “We will find you something to do and try to make it fun for everybody.”
Company administration includes: Line Officers—Chief Mike Fogle, Deputy Chief Mike Stull, Assistant Chief Wayne Wachter, Assistant Chief Doug Wallick Jr., and Assistant Chief Scott Stonesifer; Administrative Officers—President Donald Stull Sr., Vice President Chuck Jenkins, Secretary Karen Stull, Assistant Secretary Mary Frances Bostian, Treasurer Lena Stull, and Assistant Treasurer Lisa Monday; Board of Director members—Jacob Howell, Donald Martin, Scott Martin, Scott Stonesifer, Steve Stull, and Wayne Stull.
Many of the members are very involved in all aspects of the department. I first met Chief Fogle while he was working in the kitchen during the community yard sale at the fire hall. Steve Stull is not only on the Board of Directors, he is also a firefighter/EMT and works on various committees. If you would like to reserve the fire hall for an event, you can contact Karen Stull. Donald Stull, Sr. is the president, but he said that he does “anything that needs to be done,” including driving the fire truck. Everyone works together to help out. They are a family.
“A Well Manored Family”
by “My Father’s Son”
Most are familiar with the historic site of Rose Hill Manor alongside Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick. This classically southern home— built over eight years, beginning in 1790, for Thomas Johnson’s daughter, Ann, after she and her husband received the land as a gift from her father on the eve of their nuptials—became popularly known as the final home of Thomas Johnson. Rose Hill is a fantastic illustration of early-American residential architecture and the Maryland-style plantation home. Thomas Johnson spent the last twenty-five years of his life, from 1794-1819, living as a guest in the mansion.
Rose Hill is not the only trace of the Johnson family in Frederick County. Thomas Johnson, and his three brothers, had a huge impact on the emancipation of colonial America from the fringes of Thurmont, where their once prominent presence can still be seen. Our northern county region, between Lewistown and Thurmont, holds three sister-houses: Rose Hill’s lost relatives, standing within 1.7 miles of each other along the shoulder of the old Route 15 pavement (present day Maryland 806).
The story of these houses begins with James Johnson. In the late 1760s, James Johnson was a learned ironmaster. So, in 1768, he, along with his brother Thomas, lobbied for a plot of land they believed ideal for iron production. Prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and just in time for the American Revolution whose demand would allow the new iron-furnace to thrive, James began construction of the Catoctin Furnace. The first of the three local Johnson homes was conceived here. Positioned to oversee the daily operations of the furnace, “Catoctin Manor” was built by James on the corner of the “main road” (MD-806) and the “hollow road” (now Catoctin Hollow Road before it’s terminus was disrupted by the Route 15 bypass). The home was a side-hall, three-bay layout, built of stone and finished in a white plaster/stucco coating on the exterior. Some historic documentation questions whether James ever lived in this home, as another was built by him in or around the year 1775.
In 1826, the furnace was out of Johnson hands and bought at a sheriff’s sale in Fredericktowne for the sum of $10,000 by a man named John Brien. Brien greatly enlarged the Ironmaster’s mansion. Two more bays were added to the left of the front façade and, eventually, a large back section, forming the footprint of the house into a large “T” shape. This home stands in ruins at the Furnace Exhibit area of Cunningham Falls State Park, its stone remains crowned with cement for preservation. The still-visible foundation displays the original parameter of the house James Johnson built, as well as the later areas of addition. The Mansion and Furnace were acquired by the State Park in the late 1930s, and the home was once even under consideration to become a “Summer White House.” As the mid-twentieth century approached, citizens began to express concern over the deteriorating Ironmaster’s Mansion since the shutdown of the Furnace only a few years after 1900, one of the home’s last long-term residents of roughly ten to twenty years being the family of acting Superintendent L.R. Waesche. Ultimately, the Park Service had no funds to allocate to the large home, but did remove the stylish boxwoods that surrounded the residence to replant them at the White House.
James Johnson spent the last portion of his life, leading up to his death in 1809 at Springfield Manor, circa 1775 as reported by the Maryland State Archives (MSA). Springfield Manor, currently refurbished into an attractive event venue, vineyard, and distillery, stands proud over the farm fields of nearby Lewistown on Auburn Road. Springfield offers Georgian architecture, built of light-colored stone, once painted white, standing two-and-a-half stories tall, with the half-story constructed of red brick around narrow windows, providing ventilation to the former servant quarters. Springfield offers a centrally located, single-story covered front porch, similar to that of the enlarged Catoctin Manor. Based off the location of a matching stone summer kitchen near the home’s northeast corner, the MSA speculates that a Palladian layout may have been James’ intent for his final mansion. George Washington’s Mount Vernon is a prime example of a Palladian plan. Had Springfield possessed another matching stone structure, mirroring its summer kitchen, and pavilions or breezeways connecting these secondary structures to the main house to comprise two symmetrical wings, Springfield would surely have been the greatest Johnson house of them all.
The final sister, Auburn, came later in 1805. Beginning in 1793, Thomas and Baker Johnson operated the Furnace in a partnership after their brother James left the company. Thomas dissolved the partnership and left Baker in charge; Baker purchased the parcel of land between the furnace complex and his brother’s Springfield property and built Auburn. Auburn is a favorite to many who live in the area and those who frequently travel Route 15 alike. Perched in the trees, mere yards away from the southbound travel lanes, Auburn most resembles its proverbial niece Rose Hill, which is actually five to seven years Auburn’s elder. It is unaware how long Baker lived in his house at Auburn, as his 1809 will stated that all of the belongings of Auburn and the land on which it sat was to go to his son Baker Jr., who was already inhabiting the house at the time of Baker’s death. In recent history, Clem Gardiner and his wife Harriet graciously took care of the large estate before their passing and deserve all credit due to them for their accomplishment; their sons reserve life-estate on the property.
All three homes are of a central hall, five-bay symmetrical main house plan, built on fieldstone foundations with oversized multi-pane sashes and accompanying louver shutters with all but Catoctin Manor having smaller, informal side service-wings, some more ornate than others. Auburn’s service wing consists of both one- and two-story sections, possibly meant to go unnoticed in the grand scheme of the home, insignificant in design to the impressive main house. At Auburn, a centrally located porch, covering the front door and two small ornamental windows, rises two stories to create a columned portico, similar to, but less elaborate than, the Doric and Ionic combination of columns and carefully carved details of the portico at Rose Hill. The resemblance between the quartet of homes is surely not identical, but their liking to one another secures them as a proper collection.
Three men, four houses, and one business venture that tied them all to this area have left us a legacy of iconic treasures to share, so close their holdings once touched, and appreciate. Their beauty, scale, and symbolic wealth deem these homes be regarded with the extravagance and historic value that they represent. It is with hope that the next time one of these locations is passed, it is not with the absentmindedness of local daily normalcy, but with a special acknowledgment to those who left them behind.
Emmy Award winning producer, Chris Haugh, premiered his highly anticipated film documentary, Almost Blue Mountain City: The History of Thurmont, on Sunday, October 26, 2014, at The Springfield Manor Winery & Distillery near Lewistown. The showing was a great success, and everyone left knowing a lot more about the founding of the original Mechanicstown—now Thurmont—as well as how Thurmont got its name and what the lives of the people who worked and raised families in the area was like over the years. The event was sponsored and organized by Donna Voellinger and the Thurmont Historical Society, with representatives in attendance from the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Main Street Thurmont, the Frederick County Department of Tourism, and more.
It was a beautiful, sunny fall day on the edge of the Catoctin Mountains at historic Springfield Manor, former home of James Johnson, one of the original owners of the Catoctin Furnace. He lived in the house from 1793 to when he died in 1809. The manor provided the perfect setting to learn the history of Thurmont in the film documentary, which was comprised of well-researched documents dating back to the early 1700s, as well as video interviews taken over the past fifteen years from long-time Thurmont residents such as George Wireman, Sterling Kelbaugh, Albert Zentz, and many more. Their reminiscing provided interesting, humorous, and poignant insights into the events that have shaped today’s Thurmont. A recurring theme was the overall sense of community and scenic beauty that have characterized Thurmont since it was founded. Interviewee Margaret (Bruchey) Krone spoke of her arrival in Thurmont that, “We felt that we’d moved into Heaven.”
Fine local wine and excellent fare—served by the Carriage House Inn—were provided during intermission. Chris gave an excellent talk on the making of the program and was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation and the first-ever awarded “Frederick County Oscar.” It was well deserved! At the conclusion, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, said, “This is a proud moment for the town of Thurmont and it’s an excellent film. I recommend everyone see it at the first chance possible.”
The documentary is a valuable and priceless film that collects and preserves our local area’s history, trials, tribulations, and ups and downs for future generations. The Almost Blue Mountain City DVD will be available for purchase for $25.00 at the Creeger House during the Christmas in Thurmont celebration on Saturday, December 6, 2014, and for the Museums by Candlelight Tour the following Saturday, December 13. Stop by between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on either day.
Director Chris Haugh and Event Coordinator and Thurmont Historical Society President Donna Voellinger are all smiles at the World Premier showing of Chris Haugh’s film, Almost Blue Mountain City.
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