Currently viewing the tag: "rocky ridge"

Richard D. L. Fulton

A great many people in North Frederick County are likely unaware as they go about their daily business or endeavors, that beneath their feet rests the vestiges of an ancient continent that, like the legendary Atlantis, was ultimately destroyed and lost to time.

This particular Atlantis existed during a period of time presently classified as being Late Triassic in age, which occurred some 220 million years ago when one sole continent existed… a continent, dubbed Pangea by geologists.

During this period of time, Pangea was in its “death throws” and was in the process of breaking up, due to the movement of the continental plates beneath it. That breakup led to the formation of a number of subcontinents, resulting in the end of Pangea around 200 million years ago.

But, in Rocky Ridge, one can still walk the ancient shoreline of one of Pangea’s great lakes that existed before its demise and even explore the lake bottom of this huge lake, dubbed Lake Lockatong. 

At the height of this lake’s existence, Lake Lockatong sprawled from Rocky Ridge through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and into New York State. Some geologists believe that this great lake covered an area equivalent to the presently existing Lake Tanganyika in Africa, at some 20,000 total miles in size. 

Over millions of years, the sediments that had been deposited at the bottom of this lake in Rocky Ridge, as well as those of the associated mud flats, solidified into shale, and today provide a “window” into what times were like in Rocky Ridge when it was part of Pangea.

The most dominant vertebrate that abounded on the ancient mudflats of Rocky Ride was, without a doubt, a foot-long lizard called Rhynchosauroides, an animal that is believed to have been an ancient ancestor of the tuatara, which only exists today in New Zealand. 

Hundreds of tracks of this lizard have been found in the Rocky Ridge mudflats, along with rare body impressions made when the lizards rested on the mud in shallow water. 

Another rarer cat-sized reptile that wandered upon the mud flats is classified as dicynodonts, a group thought to have been extinct long before the Rocky Ridge mudflats were formed. It is generally believed that mammals evolved from this group of reptiles.

The Rocky Ridge Rhynchosauroides shared their environment with millepedes (also known today as thousand leggers) and prehistoric crickets and beetles, whose trackways lie scattered among the layers containing Rhynchosauroides tracks. One specimen was found revealing the body impression of a Rhynchosauroides surrounded by fossil cricket tracks!

The shale from the lake bottom found in Rocky Ridge revealed complete fossil fish, fish scales, coprolites (fossil excretion), fragmented bones, and the track of an as-yet unidentified aquatic reptile.  There was plenty of food for these creatures in the lake, as their remains have been found with a multitude of freshwater clam shrimp, snails, and clams.

One particular Rocky Ridge site revealed that an immense conifer forest had existed at the time in proximity to the lake shore, and its branches, complete with leaves, were found in an eddy that had apparently formed off the lake and which was also loaded with freshwater clam shrimp.

Dinosaur tracks have yet to be found in the Late Triassic Rocky Ridge deposits, but dinosaur tracks were collected in the 1800s in a flagstone (rock intended to be used in walkways) that had been quarried only a few minutes away, outside of Emmitsburg. 

A geologist—now retired—identified a layer of green shale in Rocky Ridge that would be the layer most likely to produce dinosaur tracks, but that layer has yet to be excavated.

Because every fossil recovered from the Late Triassic Rocky Ridge sites is new to Maryland and/or new to science, access to one of the richest sites is now presently restricted and is located on private property.

The Keeney Family, who owns Steeple View Farm, was recently featured on a morning show in France for their Miniature Herefords. France Television sent reporters from its Washington, D.C., office to visit the farm in Rocky Ridge. Family members Cora Coblentz and Kynlee Keeney, who are both members of the Ridge View 4H Club, spoke with the journalist about their Miniature Herefords, how they care for them, and why they enjoy showing them.

Kenny Keeney, along with David Coblentz, who owns part of our herd, spoke about the history of Miniature Herefords and the unique differences between the breed and a full-size cattle breed. Since the story has been featured, other French television networks have been reaching out to do additional stories.

A Miniature Hereford—the feature story of a French morning show.

Kynlee Keeney (left) and Cora Coblentz (right) of Steeple View Farm spoke to French reporters about their Miniature Herefords.

French news reporters filming for a news story on a French morning show.

New Find Enhances Record

Richard D L. Fulton

There was a time when Frederick and Adams counties looked more like an alien world than that which exists today.

A primordial lake (dubbed Lake Lockatong) existed from Rocky Ridge, growing in size towards the northeast, as it sprawled through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and into New York State. Some believe that this great lake covered an area equivalent to the presently existing Lake Tanganyika in Africa, at some 20,000 total miles in size.  Often, vast mud flats bordered the huge freshwater lake, giving way to conifer forests (based on fossil evidence gathered outside of Rocky Ridge).

This was during a period of time classified as the Late Triassic, some 220 million years ago.

Based on fossil excavations in Rocky Ridge and another nearby site, fossils recovered indicate that the lake teemed with fish, mostly those related to the present-day gars, sharing the water with five-to-six-foot coelacanths (whose ancestors gave rise to land vertebrates), and an ancient aquatic gator-like (but unrelated) reptile called Apatopus.

It should be noted that the reptiles and dinosaurs discussed are known only from their tracks, with the exception being Rynchiosauroides (noted below) whose body impressions have also been recovered at Rocky Ridge.

Hundreds of two-to-three-foot-long lizards (called Rynchiosauroides) patrolled the shorelines, diving into and paddling their way within the shallows in search of snails, clams, and freshwater shrimp, while prehistoric crickets, beetles, and millipedes scurried about the mudflats.

The lizards were occasionally joined by at least one species of dicynodont reptiles in their quest for more food. The dicynodonts, though reptiles, were also ancestral to the first mammals, and those of Rocky Ridge apparently established that these unique animals survived longer than previously assumed before,  themselves, becoming extinct.

But the local evidence of the beginning of the rise of another group of animals in the Late Triassic —the dinosaurs—can be found a little further north in Adams County.  Most of the dinosaurs during this period of time in the Mason-Dixon area ranged from a few feet in height or length to 12 feet.

The latest evidence of the local presence of dinosaurs occurred on June 9, 2012, when a remarkable bed of dozens of dinosaur tracks was found at an undisclosed, secured site located on private property, southwest of Gettysburg (for security purposes, The Catoctin Banner agreed not to reveal the exact location of the ongoing excavation, although the reporter was permitted to visit the site).

The discovery was initially made by Brian Cole, a member of the Franklin County Rock and Mineral Club, while hunting for crystals in the limestone deposits. Cole stated that the collectors he was with started finding fossil mud cracks and gathered up several specimens to take home. He later discovered one of the slabs had a clearly defined dinosaur track on it.

The find resulted in return trips to the site, which ultimately resulted in the discovery of dozens of dinosaur tracks, along with non-dinosaurian  reptile tracks. To date, more than 40 tracks have either been removed from the site or still remain on-site. How many remain to be found? Only time and further exploration will reveal.

The site in question consists of limey layers of rock which likely represents the shoreline of Lake Lockatong. Aside from the reptiles Rynchiosauroides and Apatopus, the new site added the tracks of two more (non-dinosaur) reptiles to the list, Desmatosuchus (which bore some resemblance to a crocodile with prominent spikes on its back and heavy back armor) and two different species of  Brachychirotherium.

The primary dinosaur present at the site has been identified as Grallator, also known only from its tracks, but it is believed to be related to better-known Coelophysis, whose skeletal remains have been found in New Mexico. There may be what turns out to be species of Grallator at the site, one larger than the other.  The much more plentiful smaller tracks may represent a different species of Grallator than the scarcer larger version.

The Grallator were bipedal carnivores, potentially ranging up to more than nine feet in height, and apparently hunted in packs. Over two dozen tracks were found on one layer at the site, all heading in the same direction. If Grallator was as Eastern Coelophysis, it could have had “feet (with) three main claws and a fourth, smaller claw positioned further up the foot,” and “The arms (that) were adapted for grasping and holding prey but are not thought to have been particularly powerful, a long and thin head, with jaws containing “around 50 small, sharp teeth,” according to

Grallator and Coelophysis are among the oldest known dinosaurs, and it is generally held that they primarily ate insects and other small animals. As has been demonstrated by finds made at the Rocky Ridge site, there was no shortage of insects and small reptiles living in the area during the Late Triassic Period.

In 1895, James A. Mitchell, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, found nearly two dozen, 220-million-year-old dinosaur footprints on two flagstone (shale) slabs found in the pathways leading up to Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Emmitsburg, thus making them reportedly the only dinosaur tracks that had been found in Maryland from this period of time (the Triassic Period).

The tracks appeared to have been those of Grallator. One of the two slabs that were found by Mitchell is presently on display at the Maryland Science Center.

But the first “mother lode” of dinosaur tracks, which also included non-dinosaurian reptile tracks, including dicynodont, occurred in Adams County in Trostle’s Quarry near York Springs when the tracks were discovered by Elmer R. Haile. Haile made his discovery in the summer of 1937 when he and some associates were gathering stone for the Civilian Conservation Corps to be used in a bridge; they were building the bridge on South Confederate Avenue over Plum Run.

The Gettysburg Times reported on August 3, 1937, that three dinosaurs who left their tracks in the quarry were identified by Arthur B. Cleaves, state junior geologist and paleontologist, as Anchisauripus exsertus, Anomoepus scambus, and Grallator tennis, all three being bipedal (standing upright on two legs). The newspaper also reported in December 1937 that approximately 150 tracks were recovered.

The two blocks containing the dinosaur tracks that made it into the top layer of stones on the Plum Run Bridge have been identified as Atreipus milfordensis, a plant-eating dinosaur that walked on all four legs, and Anchisauripus sillimani, another bipedal meat-eater. The Trostle’s Quarry tracks have been dispersed over time to such places as the Smithsonian Institute, the William Penn Museum, the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburg, the Adams County Historical Society, and the bridge on the Gettysburg Battlefield (where they remain exposed and unprotected). 

As an aside, the species names of the dinosaurs (and reptiles) noted in the article can, and may have, changed over time. Paleontology, or the study of prehistoric life, is a constantly evolving science, in and of itself, and as more is learned about a given prehistoric species, sometimes new findings can result in name changes.


Adams County Grallator tracks (new site).

Photo Courtesy of Robert Weams (USGS retired).

Illustration Courtesy of National Park Service.

The Grallator were bipedal carnivores, potentially ranging up to more than nine feet in height, and apparently hunted in packs.


Atreipus tracks (Plum Run Ridge).

Photo by Rick Fulton.

Illustration Courtesy of Columbia University.

Atreipus, a plant-eating dinosaur that walked on all four legs.

written by James Rada, Jr.

A serial fiction story for your enjoyment

4: You Can’t Go Home Again

Thomas Hamilton was in no rush heading back to Rocky Ridge because he had no idea what he would do when he got there. All he knew was that the bridge at Loys Station was the key to him getting home. Scratch that. He was home. He needed to get back to his own time, and the bridge was the way there.

The problem was that he didn’t know how it worked. He had wound up in the 1950s simply by walking across the bridge at the wrong time.

It didn’t make sense to Thomas. He only hoped it was all part of a bad dream he was having and that he would wake up. Maybe a car had hit him while he had been jogging in the fog. He rolled his eyes. How worried must he be if he was wishing he were unconscious by the side of the road?

Until he figured out what was happening, his body still told him he needed to drink and eat. He inquired at the farms he passed whether they needed a hand. Thomas knew farming. He was a farmer, so it was work he could do. No one needed help. Some paid him for odd jobs that he did, like sharpening plow blades or chopping wood, but they were one-time jobs. Thomas wanted to find steady work in the area while he tried to sort through what was happening to him.

He finally came upon a farm along Myers Road that could use his help.

“What do you know about farming?” John Weikert asked him. John had broken his leg earlier in the week and needed help. His daughters and wife were doing their best, but they had other things to do besides work in the field all day.

“I’m a farmer,” Thomas said. “I have a degree in agriculture.”

John snorted. “My youngest has a coon-skin cap, but that doesn’t make him Davy Crockett.”

“I grew up on a farm. I’m working my way out to Western Maryland to help my brother with his farm near Grantsville.”

“I need someone to help until I get this thing off.” He slapped his cast. “I won’t hire someone only to have him leave in two days.”

“I understand, sir.” Thomas didn’t know how long it would take him to figure out what was happening at the bridge. He doubted it would be something he figured out quickly, though.

In the end, John hired Thomas. Thomas got room, board, and what Thomas assumed was a fair wage for the time. He had to adjust his thinking about money. Even expensive things in 1951 seemed cheap when he compared them to 2021 prices.

John showed him to a room in the barn that had been built for a hand to live in, although the Weikerts hadn’t used a hand regularly for years. Thomas unpacked his clothes and sat on the bed. The room was small but comfortable. It was well-lit with a bed, bureau, sink, chair, and desk. John explained that Thomas still had to use an outhouse and the claw-foot tub behind the barn for his other needs. The barn had power, but the waterline had only been run to a spigot behind the barn.

Thomas came into the house at 7 p.m. for supper. He was looking forward to having his first full meal in two days. Up to now, he had been living off what he could scrounge from farms he passed, but the fruits and vegetables weren’t always ripe.

As he walked into the kitchen, John said, “This is Thomas. He’s going to be our hand around here until I get the cast off.”

Thomas looked around at the Weikerts. John and Amelia had three children, and one of them was the young woman Thomas had frightened when he came across the bridge yesterday. Her name was Jessica. He saw by her expression that she recognized him. The Weikerts also had a 10-year-old named Nathan and a 6-year-old daughter named Emily.

As soon as Thomas smelled the sausages and vegetables on the table, his stomach growled loudly.

Amelia laughed. “Someone’s hungry.”

“I guess I am, ma’am,” Thomas said. “It smells wonderful.”

He ate dinner quickly, or as quickly as he could between answering questions from the family. He tried to keep his story as close to the truth as he could. He didn’t want to have to remember too many lies.

He woke up early the next morning and dressed in his sweat clothes. He had washed them in the sink the night before and hung them in his room to dry. They would have to serve as his work clothes until he could find something else.

When he walked into the kitchen for breakfast, Jessica laughed at him. “I thought you knew farming.”

“I do.”

“You don’t look it.”

“It’s all I have right now. I’ll buy something else when I get paid.”

Amelia laid an arm on his shoulder. “Ignore her, Thomas. She’s just mad.”

“About what?”

“She is learning she can’t run this farm by herself.”

Jessica blushed. “That’s not true,”

Thomas tried to suppress a grin. She looked like a young child who was pouting.

John gave them instructions on what he wanted to accomplish for the day. He had Thomas harvesting the corn using a Massey-Harris combine Thomas had only seen as an antique, although this model was fairly new. The children, including Jessica, much to her chagrin, picked tomatoes. John tended their roadside stand, freeing up Amelia to handle the additional work around the house that the children usually did.

It went smoothly. Thomas enjoyed driving the old combine. It also gave him time to think about his predicament.

After dinner, Thomas walked over to the Loy’s Bridge and walked back and forth across it, hoping to find a way to trigger whatever had sent him into the past. Nothing happened.

When he came across the bridge a third time, he saw Jessica standing to the side.

“What is it with you and this bridge?” she asked.

“If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.”

“Why are you here?”

For a moment, Thomas thought she was asking why he was in the 1950s, but then he realized she meant the farm.

“I needed work,” he said.

“We don’t need your help.”

“It looks like you do. Your father can’t work in the fields, and he probably needed the help when he was healthy.”

Jessica put her hands on her hips. “It’s going to be my farm someday.”

Thomas cocked an eyebrow. “Okay.”

“Just in case you had any ideas.”

“About what?”

“About trying to take my farm.”

“Your farm? I think you have quite a few years before it becomes your farm, and even then, your father might split it between you and your brother and sister.”

“No, it will be mine. They won’t want it. I do. I can turn it into a first-class operation if my father would just listen to me. There is so much being done that is helping farmers get more from their land. I intend to grow our farm and make it larger and better.”

“It sounds like you’ll need help.”

“Not from you.”

“Why not me? What do you have against me?”

She stared at him for a few moments and then she said, “I don’t trust you. You are lying about something. You say you’re a farmer, but you don’t dress like one. You say you have a college degree, but you don’t have anything more than the clothes you’re wearing. And you keep coming to this bridge.”

Thomas was about to reply, but Jessica turned away.

And this was the woman who was supposed to be his future. It didn’t look too promising to him.

Look for what happens next in our March issue

written by James Rada, Jr.

A new serial fiction story for your enjoyment

2: Times Past

Thomas Hamilton walked across the Loy’s Station Covered Bridge, ignoring the wooden beams around him. He focused his attention on the other side of the bridge, where the sky was clear and the sun shone. It stood in stark contrast to the thick fog on the side of the bridge he had just left.

He reached the other side and shook his head. It was a cloudless summer day in Rocky Ridge. It wasn’t even overly hot. He looked across Owens Creek and saw that it was now clear. The fog had lifted in the time it took him to walk across the bridge.

He couldn’t see the old man who had encouraged him to cross the bridge and find the love of his life. How could the man have walked away so quickly that he was out of sight? Thomas looked back across the bridge, wondering if the man had followed him, but it was empty.

He shook his head. This was turning out to be an unusual day. First, his girlfriend had broken up with him via a text message. Then, he had met the old man with his message that Thomas would find the love of his life on this side of the bridge. And, finally, Thomas had seen the odd fog that had moved in quickly, stayed on one side of the creek, and disappeared just as quickly.

The woman he had seen walking across the field was closer now. She was an attractive redhead who had her hair tied up in a kerchief. She wore overalls and work boots. He had grown up in the same house his father had grown up in. He thought he knew just about everyone in the area, but he didn’t recognize this woman.

“Where did you come from?” she asked.

Thomas shrugged. “I just walked across the bridge. You had to have seen me. You were looking right at it.”

“I must not have been paying attention. It was clear and then, suddenly, you seemed to be standing in front of it.”

She looked him over and then her nose wrinkled. Thomas realized he must still be sweaty from his run.

“Sorry about that. I was running earlier.”

“Running? From what?”

“For exercise.” She looked at him like he was crazy and stepped back. “I don’t recognize you. Do you live around here?” he asked.

“All my life. You’re the one who’s not from around here.”

“Of course, I am. My name is Thomas Hamilton. I live out on Old Mill Road.”

“I know the Hamilton Farm, but not a Thomas Hamilton.” There was only one Hamilton Farm on Old Mill, and it was his family’s farm. The woman cocked her head to the side. “You don’t look like a farmer. You look like someone dumped a can of fluorescent paint on you.”

He looked down at the reflective vest he was wearing. He didn’t think it looked that unusual, and it helped protect him from getting hit when he ran.

“You should talk. You look like someone trying to imitate Rosie the Riveter.”


“It doesn’t matter. What’s your name?”

She raised her chin and glared at him. “I’m not sure I should say.”

Thomas shrugged.

“Whatever.” He had been crazy to give that old man any credence. This woman was the love of his life? Not likely.

He turned and walked back across the bridge. When he reached the other side, he still didn’t see the old man, but other things were different, too. The road wasn’t paved. It was macadam. And the playground in the park off the right was gone.

“What gives?”

He hadn’t thought things could get weirder. He was wrong.

He jogged back to his house to shower and change. Even the house looked different, particularly when he walked inside. All of his furniture was missing, replaced with the type of stuff he would see in an antique store. Wallpaper, not paint, covered the walls. He smelled ham cooking when he knew he had left nothing in the oven.

A woman screamed, and Thomas spun around. She had walked out of the kitchen, her face red from the heat from the oven and stove.

“What are you doing in my house?” she shouted.

“I–I live here,” Thomas said, even though he wasn’t sure of that any longer.

“You do not! This is my family’s house. Leave this instant before I call the police.”

“But this is the Hamilton Farm. I…” He was about to say “I live here” again, but while the house itself might match his home, these furnishings and the wallpaper all said someone else lived here and had for some time. Certainly, longer than the hour Thomas had been out.

“Can you…?” he started to say.

The woman ran back into the kitchen and came back with a rolling pin covered in flour. She waved it at him.

“Get out now!”

Thomas held up his hands and backed toward the door. Once he stepped out onto the porch, the woman slammed the door, and Thomas heard the lock engage.

He sighed and walked back down the driveway to the road. He headed toward MD 77, although he wasn’t sure what he would do when he got there. Something unusual was happening, but he had no idea what it was.

He walked along the road toward Rocky Ridge when a vintage truck pulled up alongside him.

“Need a lift?” the driver asked. “I’m headed to Thurmont.”

Thomas didn’t recognize the man, but he had friends in Thurmont who might help him, or worst-case scenario, that’s where his doctor’s office was located.

Thomas climbed into the truck bed, and the driver started off. A confused Thomas looked over the countryside. He recognized the landscape and many of the buildings, but others were different. It was like he was in Rocky Ridge, but not his Rocky Ridge. It became very obvious as they entered Thurmont. The two elementary schools, police station, and housing development on the east side of town were all missing. The truck pulled over to the side of the road and stopped across from the middle school, which now had a sign that said it was the high school.

The driver hopped out and said, “This is as far as I go. I have to arrange for some lumber.”

Thomas jumped out of the bed to the ground. “Thanks. I appreciate the ride.”

He walked toward the center of town. He grew more nervous with each step. This was all wrong. He stopped when he saw a sign in the window of a clothing store. “New Styles for 1951 Are In!”

Thomas staggered and had to lean against the wall. It couldn’t be, but in the back of his mind, he had been seeing the signs and ignoring them.

He was in 1951…48 years before he was born.

Look for what happens next in our January issue

Airman First Class Ballenger

From Rocky Ridge to Japan …and Beyond

by Richard D. L. Fulton

Life-long Rocky Ridge resident, Emily Ballenger (pictured right), during a short two-year span during which she lived in Texas, decided to seek out a career move, and subsequently signed on with the United States Air Force.

Ballenger is the daughter of John and Linda Ballenger, owners of Buck Forest Farm in Rocky Ridge, which now also serves as her home. Her father served aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Saratoga in the 1960s.  Her brother, John “Jay” Ballenger, served in the Army in Afghanistan.

Ballenger signed up for the air service in Dallas in 2003 and trained at the Lackland, Texas, Air Force boot camp in Bexar County, Texas, for a half dozen weeks before being assigned to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. 

Ballenger spent eight weeks in Biloxi, six weeks training and two additional weeks awaiting an assignment. When the assignment came through, she found herself enroute to Misawa Air Base, located in the northern part of the island of Honshu in Japan, where she was attached to the 35th Communication Squadron which is a component of the 35th Mission Support Group, 35th Fighter Wing. 

The base is a joint service installation and houses three United States military services—Air Force, Navy, and Army—as well as the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.  Ballenger noted that there were also American Marines located there.

She served as an Air Force administrative assistant/information manager. Ballenger described the installation as a “fairly large base… nicely laid out,” which was “very quiet.” She said the base was being constantly upgraded throughout the time she was there.

She was able to spend some time touring, her main form of off-base entertainment, and even purchased a motorcycle there for simply getting around, touring the area. “I loved it in Japan,” she said, adding, “The culture there is amazing.” 

Ballenger said that particular area of Japan is primarily agricultural, which made her feel more “at home” (the Buck Forest Farm being some 140 acres in size).  The town of Misawa, she said, was about the size of Thurmont, noting, “It was so nice. It was like being at home.”

She served in Japan two years before being discharged and sent home. The only downside to her service in Japan was contracting “stress-related arthritis and fibromyalgia, which resulted in her having been diagnosed as being 50 percent disabled.

Ballenger was honorably discharged from the Air Force at Misawa Air Base in August 2006.

Following her return to the United States, Ballenger served as a photographer for the (now defunct) Emmitsburg Dispatch, photography being among her obsessions. She now runs her own photography business, Twilight Photography, primarily focusing on outdoor events and subjects. 

“My love of photographing nature and horses brought me to share my passion with others,” she said, adding, “I would have to describe my photography style as a bit of photojournalism mixed with fine art and a sprinkle of spontaneity.”

Her other obsession includes horses. Her home, Buck Forest Farm, served as a boarding facility for horses for many years. Presently, Ballenger also offers riding instructions, and currently has three horses of her own.

She said her experience in the Air Force has “taught me a lot about integrity and working hard.” As an administrative business professional, she learned skills related to initiating and managing a business.

For more on Ballenger’s Twilight Photography, visit  For riding lessons, contact Emily Ballenger at 301-473-1504.

The “REAL” in Real Estate

By Sandi Reed Burns,

Realtor, Climb Properties Real Estate

Happy spring, everyone! Let’s spring right into what’s going on in your area as of March 22, 2022, according to Bright MLS data.

Thurmont: 29 total listings—made up of land, leases, commercial, and residential. If we only look at residential sales, there are a total of nine and four of them are “coming soon.” (This excludes the new builds under construction, as they are not on the MLS).

Emmitsburg: 16 total listings—made up of land, leases, commercial, and residential. Again, if we only look at residential sales, there are four active listings and zero “coming soon.”

Rocky Ridge: 7 total multiple listings types.

It certainly doesn’t look like much of a “Spring Market,” does it? This low inventory remains to keep the prices higher and limits buyers’ options of available homes.

Here’s a snapshot from National Association of Realtors: “February 2022 brought 6.02 million in sales, a median sales price of $357,300, and 1.7 months of inventory. The median sales price is up 15% year-over-year, and inventory was down 0.3 months from February 2021.”

I’m going to spring right to the point. We need more inventory in order to balance out the market. So, if you’re thinking about selling, please contact your local Realtor® for advice, and thank you for being part of the solution.

Kelsey Troxell, Rocky Ridge Progressive 4-H Club Reporter

For April, our 4-H Club was unable to meet and have our regular monthly activities due to COVID-19. This will surely go down as one of the most unusual times in 4-H history. All Frederick County Clubs have had to stop all in-person activities, and all our animal shows have been canceled and postponed to a later date.

Since my club was unable to do our monthly activities, I decided to interview one past Frederick County 4-H’er and three current Rocky Ridge Progressive 4-H members.

Chad Umbel

Chad Umbel is a past Frederick County 4-H’er, a past State of Maryland and Catoctin FFA member, the current Chief of Vigilant Hose Company in Emmitsburg, the current Assistant Chief of Operations at Fort Detrick Fire Company, and a dairy farmer. Let’s just say that Chad is a very “essential” worker at this moment. Here is a little background on Chad’s 4-H years. Chad was a member of the Toms Creek 4-H Club. His projects included Dairy Cattle and Public Speaking. He served as a past secretary and treasurer. In FFA, Chad was a part of many teams at Catoctin High School. He also attended State and National Conventions, where he was awarded a State FFA degree. When asking him what his favorite part of 4-H was, he stated he “enjoyed meeting new people and talking with others.” All those years in 4-H helped to influence Chad’s life now in many ways. Chad said he has used the skills he learned for his leadership role at his job today. “Learning how to talk to people so that they understand you and know what you mean is very important,” Chad said. Chad and his family are still involved in agriculture today. Chad helps to run a dairy farm that is in his family. He still attends some state and national dairy shows, and his daughter, Kayla, has participated in many dairy shows. They have quite a few winning cows in their barn, with the help from family and friends. Chad has been a firefighter for over 25 years. Chad has a strong work ethic and encourages others to work just as hard. When I asked what he thought the best way was to get more young people to join 4-H, Chad simply said, “Go talk to them, tell them what you do, and how it has impacted your life.” I can’t thank Chad enough for taking the time out to be interviewed by me, and for all he does for our town and community. Oh, and I can’t forget…next time you see Chad out, ask him to sing a few tunes for you. I hear he is a fabulous singer in the tractors, with friends, and on stage. This information comes from some reliable past 4-H’ers/FFA members!

I asked Preston Clark, Lexi Bureau, and Sierra Carter to do a “Rocky Ridge Club 4-H Lightning Round” for me, where I asked them six questions each, and they were supposed to respond quickly.

Preston Clark

Preston has been in 4-H since he could breathe…not really, but I’m sure it feels like it. I can remember being in Poppies when I was younger, and Preston was there with his sister, Caroline. Preston’s projects are anything and everything to do with sheep, crafts, sewing, baking, and field crops. Preston’s favorite thing about 4-H is craft meetings and making “cool things.” I asked Preston what he tells his friends about 4-H, and he said, “I love being in 4-H; there is so much that you can do. It is for everyone.” When Preston grows up he wants to have a farm of his own. I have no doubt this will happen.

Lexi Bureau

Lexi Bureau has been in 4-H since the 3rd grade, and her brother is also a member. Her current projects are Beef Heifers and Steers and Craft Group. Lexi’s favorite part of 4-H is “friends, animals, and learning about other animals.” Lexi is a great friend to have in 4-H, she is very helpful and lots of fun to be around, I can personally say that. When I asked her what she tells her friends about 4-H, she said, I tell them it’s about “taking care of animals and the community. It’s for kids 8-18, and you get to talk about agriculture.” Lexi said when she grows up, she wants to be a veterinarian. I’m sure Lexi would be a great voice for both animals and people; she is very smart.

Sierra Carter

Sierra Carter has been in 4-H since she was eight years old. She has two beef steers, and has attended many shows locally and nationally. Sierra is one of our clubs’ senior members, and she is a great role model for us all. Sierra says her favorite part of 4-H is “making new friends and the exposure to all the opportunities.” Sierra said that she tells others what a great opportunity 4-H is, that is teaches many life skills. Sierra is a graduating senior at Catoctin High School this year. She plans to attend FCC in the fall, and then transfer to a four-year college to focus on Ag Business. Sierra has a bright future in front of her and lots of ambition. She will go far and help agriculture be better.

Lastly, I asked Preston, Lexi, and Sierra to give me one word that they would use to describe the Rocky Ridge Progressive 4-H Club…Family, Loyal, and Awesome!

Joan Bittner Fry

This is interesting information published in 1878 as a Frederick County, Maryland, resource. It makes one realize just how much things have changed in more than 100 years.

Frederick County ranks with the largest Maryland counties, having an area of 642 square miles, and is bounded on the north by Pennsylvania, on the east by Carroll, south-easterly by Montgomery, south by the Potomac River and Virginia, and on the west by the Blue Ridge, or South Mountains, separating it from Washington County.

This is one of the richest and most beautiful counties in the state. The soil is mostly limestone, with some slate and considerable “red lands.” The surface is undulating, partly mountainous — the Catoctin Mountains dividing the county into two broad valleys that to the westward being known as the Middletown Valley, which is drained by the Catoctin River and its branches; and that east of the Catoctin range is the valley of the Monocacy. Both rivers flow southward into the Potomac.


Emmitsburg is situated at the terminus of the railroad of that name, and 7 miles from Rocky Ridge on the W. M. R. R. The location is in a fertile and diversified country, the surroundings of which are rich in mountain and valley scenery. To the west, Jack’s Mountain and Carrick’s Knob may be seen towering hundreds of feet in the skies and then sloping in graceful lines to the productive and beautiful valley below. The magnificent scenery, purity of the atmosphere, good mountain water, cordiality and refinement of the people make it a great place of summer resort; it is also enriched by educational institutions of great merit and celebrity. St Joseph’s Academy, conducted by the Sisters of Charity, and Mount St. Mary’s College, an institution of high endowment and character, are both near the town. There are also two public schools for whites, one for colored, and a Catholic Parochial School. The land adjacent is composed of red sandstone, quartz, and limestone; varies in price from $20 to $60 per acre, according to location and improvements; yields 15 to 30 bushel wheat, 20 to 40 oats, 50 to 150 potatoes, 20 to 50 corn; and 2 tons hay. Massasoit Tribe 41, I. O. R. M.; Junior Building Association. Population 900. Samuel N. McNair, Postmaster.

Pastors: M. E., Rev. H.P. West; Presbyterian, Rev. Lutheran, Rev. E. S. Johnston; Reformed, Rev. A. R. Kramer; Roman Catholic, Rev. Father Daniel McCarthy.

Town Officers: Burgess – John Hopp. Commissioners – Wm. Lansinger, J. H. T. Webb, Daniel Sheets, Isaac Hyder, Thomas Fraley and R. H. Gelwicks. Bailiff – Wm. Ashbaugh.

Agent R. R. and Express: Zimmerman, E R.

Barber: Parker, S A.

Basket Maker: Ellower, John.

Bakers and Confectioners: Hoke, Peter, Seabrook, J A, Tawney, JAS.

Blacksmiths: Adams & Zeck.

Brick Makers: Bell & Keilholtz.

Brick Masons: Lingg & Myers, Seabrook, Samuel.

Boot and Shoemakers: Bishop, George, Gelwicks, Theopholis, Hopp, J. F., Hoover, John, Lantzer, Jacob, Rowe, Jas. A.

Broker: Horner, WG.

Cabinetmakers: Bushman, Thomas, Sweeney, Martin.

Carpenters and Builders: Snouffer, Joseph, Tyson & Lansinger.

Carriage and Wagonmakers: Baker, L A F, Baker, Nicholas, Harley, Wm, Hess & Weaver, Houck, Wm H.

Cigars and Tobacco: McNair, SN, Scheek, Francis.

Clothing, Hats, & C: Rowe, J & CF.

Constable: Gillelan, Geo L.

Dentists: Bussey, JT.

Druggists: Eichelberger, CD, Elder, James A.

General Merchandise: Annan, IS & Bro, Bussey, Mrs. JP, Helman, JA, Rowe, GW & Sons.

Groceries and Produce: Hays, JT, Hoke, Peter, Waddle, JS, Zeck, Dietrick.

Hotels: Emmett, CS Smith.

Western Md: DG Adelsberger.

Justices of the Peace: Adelsberger, MC, Knauff, James, Stokes, Henry.

Livery and Sale Stables: Guthrie & Beam.

Lumber, Coal: Motter, Maxell & Co.

Marble Worker: Lough, N A.

Machinists: Praley, Thos & Son, Rowe, Nathaniel.

Millinery and Fancy Goods: Hoke, JL, Offutt, Miss H, Winter, Miss SA.

Millers: Bell, John M, Grimes, Charles, Hovise, Francis, Maxwell, Samuel, Motter, L M, Myers, Jacob, Sell, Peter, Septer, James.

Photographers: Rowe, J & CF.

Physicians: Annan, Andrew, Annan, RL, Brawner, John B, Eichelberger, CD, Eichelberger, James W, Eichelberger, James W Jr.

Restaurant: Lawrence, Daniel.

Saddles and Harness: McGuigan, James S, Stokes, Henry.

Stoves and Tinware: Adelsberger, Jas F, Hays, JT.

Tailors: Favorite, H J, Webb, J H T

Tanner: Motter, Lewis M

Watches and Jewelry: Eyster, G T & Bro.


Foxville is situated near the Washington County Line, 4 miles from Smithsburg on the W. M. R. R. Land ordinary, one-half cleared; sells at from $10 to $30 per acre, produces 14 bushel wheat, and 40 corn. M. E. and Lutheran Churches. Two public schools Population 250. Harvey Buhrman, Postmaster.

Attorney at Law: Harbaugh, John C.

Blacksmiths: Krise, E, Weller, Jacob.

Carpenters: Wolf, Henry, Wolf, Upton.

Constable: Hayes, H Clay.

General Merchandise: Brown, H , Fox, Thomas C, Ridenoner, Jacob.

Justice of the Peace: Fox, George H.

Physician: Buhrman, Harvey.

Shoemakers: Prior, Emanuel, Renner, Elias.

Timber Merchants: Brown, WB, Bussard, Samuel, Fox, George L. Moser, Ezra, Wyant, Yost.


Lewistown is situated on the Emmittsburg Road, 10 miles from Frederick and 5 from Harmony Grove. Land, red clay, and limestone sells at from $10 to $100 per acre; produces 12 to 30 bushel wheat, 50 corn, 40 oats, 100 potatoes and 2 tons hay. Crops are generally good. M.P. Church and two public schools. Population 175. A.N. Cramer, Postmaster.

Blacksmiths: Layman, Jacob, Weller, J P.

General Merchandise: Cramer, AN, Zimmerman, GT.

Justice of the Peace: Cator, Henry.

Physician: Leatherman, ME.

Boots & Shoes: Bishop, Jacob, Shaeffer, Jno FD.

Hotel: Clemm, Geo. H.

Millers: Gonso, George, Leatherman, Daniel, Taylor, CW.

Saddles & Harness: Maine, HM.


Mechanicstown (now Thurmont) is on the W.M.R.R., 56 miles from Baltimore, 15 by pike from Frederick and 27 by rail, and three-fourths of a mile from the Catoctin Mountains. The nearest streams are the Hunting and Owing’s Creeks; it is located in a pleasing and thriving country. The climate and health are good, business fair. Soil is of red shale, yellow slate, alluvial, and some limestone. The land is principally cleared, ranges in prices from $30 to $60 per acre, and yields 8 to 20 bushel wheat, 10 to 40 oats, 80 to 50 corn and 1 to 2 tons hay. The Catoctin Furnace is within 2 miles and in operation. The timber now remaining consists of oak, hickory, walnut, chestnut, poplar and beech. Population 700. John Root, Postmaster.

Agent-R. R. & Express: Horn, WA.

Barber: Lucas, Amos.

Blacksmiths and Wheelwrights: Firer, Benj F, Hess, Wm, Horn, Wm Loy, Wm, Webb, Wm.

Bricklayers: Eigenbrode, Dan’l, Moser, Cyrus.

Brick Manufacturer: Fleagle, John A.

Butcher: Damuth, Wm.

Carpenters & Undertakers: Creager, James, Dorsey, Geo B, Shaw, Thomas, Smith, E M, Weddle, Joseph A, Weller & Creager, Weller, Simon A.

Cigar Manufacturers: Orndorff, AF, Whitmore, KS.

Confectionery: Martin, JE, Constables, Peddicord, Caleb, Renner, John A.

Dentist: Radcliffe, Dr. HG.

Druggists: Gilds & Co.

Flour, Feed & Fertilizers: Cassell, Chas E, Stocksdale, Geo W, Witherow, SH.

General Merchandise: Gilds, NE, Johnson, Geo H, Root & Groff.

Harnessmakers: Freese, Joseph, Martin, DC.

Hotels: Central, Jacob Sprow, Gilbert, John B Gilbert.

Huckster: Damuth.C A

Justice of the Peace: White, Frederick.

Marbleworker: Hammaker, BF.

Millers: Jones, John, Martin, J & DC.

Milliners & Dressmakers: Gernand, Miss Jennie, Hesson, Miss Kate, Lony, Miss Mary, Stokes, Miss Susan.

Millwrights: Biggs & Carmack.

Painters: Adelsberger, Jas, Mackley Bros.

Photographer: Boblitz, BL.

Physicians: Marsh, Wm H, White, Wm, Zimmerman, AK.

Shoemakers: Cover, BN, Cover, JH, Picking, Leonard, Stull Bros.

Stock Dealers: Anders, Thomas, Barton, Isaac N

Stoves and Tinware: Osler, VP.

Surveyors: Landers, John, Picking, Leonard.

Tailor: Sleek, AB.

Tanner: Rouner, John.

Telegraph Operator: Horn, WA.

Wagonmaker: Stokes, Joshua.

Watches & Jewelry: Hoff, David T.

rocky ridge

Rocky Ridge is on the W. M. R. R., at the junction of the Emmittsburg Road, 51 miles from Baltimore and 7 from Emmittsburg and 16 from Frederick City. The soil is red slate and is valued at from $20 to $50 per acre; produces 8 to 25 bushel wheat, 15 to 30 oats, 80 to 40 corn and 2 tons hay. Lutheran, Reformed and Baptist Churches and public school. Population 60. H. D. Fuss, Postmaster.

Agent Express & R.R.: Eichelberger, MJ.

Blacksmith & Wheelwrights: Appold, George, Campbell, JE, Wood, Basil.

Carpenter & Builder: Engler, OA.

Commission Merchants: Biggs & Eichelberger.

General Merchandise: Fuss, HD, Lickle Bros.

Hotel: Ecker, Hanson.

Justice of the Peace: Norris, AL.

Millers: Biggs, Joshua, Martin, Jeremiah.

Shoemaker: Troxell, Frederick.


Sabillasville is on the W. M. R. R., 66 miles from Baltimore. Land is mostly cleared, can be purchased at from $15 to $40 per acre, and produces 12 to 25 bushel wheat, 20 to 50 oats, 100 to 200 potatoes, 20 to 40 corn, and 1 to 2 tons hay. German Reformed Church, Rev. H. Wissler; United Brethren, Rev. Mr. Freed; and a public school. Population 50. H. S. Duphorne, Postmaster.

Blacksmiths and Wheelwrights:  Arnsparger, Dallas, Freshour, Nelson.

Broom Manufacturer: Stein, Henry.

Carpenter: Willard, Joel.

Constable: Stotelinger, JC.

Dressmaker: Homerick, Susan, Manahan, Jane.

General Merchandise: Crawford & Bro, Hiteshew, Charles.

Hotel: Stern (Stem), John.

Justice of the Peace: Luckett, WF.

Miller: Kenna, Simpson.

Physicians: Luckett, WF Watson, J.G.

Shoemaker: Duphorne, RS.

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.

by James Rada, Jr.

The End of Rocky Ridge

Rocky Ridge disappeared in 1913. “So far as railroad matters are concerned, Rocky Ridge does not exist and hereafter that station will be known as Emmitsburg Junction,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.

The Western Maryland Railroad (WMRR) station had opened in Rocky Ridge in 1870, with Sheridan Biggs serving as the first freight agent and telegraph operator. He served in that position until 1907. Over the years, he had had to deal with confusion over passengers knowing that they needed to switch trains in Rocky Ridge in order to get to Emmitsburg on the Emmitsburg Railroad. They boarded a small train made up of an engine, baggage car, smoker/mail car, and parlor car.

Though only a few miles long, the railroad was well run. The Adams County News noted in 1916, “…there is to-day a short distance from Gettysburg a railroad planned, built and financed through the efforts of women, a road which was built some 40 years ago and which to-day untroubled by strikes and other unpleasantness, is paying steadily 4 per cent on the original investment.”

The Daughters of Charity owned 70 percent of the stock in the railroad, according to the Adams County News. This is not surprising since one of the stops on the line was at St. Joseph College. Students traveling to Mount St. Mary’s College also used the railroad traveling to and from school.

“It is probably the only road in existence where the possession of an ordinary ticket entitles one to parlor-car accommodations,” the Adams County News reported.

But something about the location confused passengers, despite the conductor often calling out, “Rocky Ridge, change for Emmitsburg.”

A.V.D. Watterson, Esq., a Pittsburgh attorney and president of the Mount St. Mary’s Alumni Association, lobbied to the Western Maryland Railroad for years to change the name of Rocky Ridge to Emmitsburg Junction to make it clearer that the station was a changing point for passengers.

In 1913, he wrote the directors of the WMRR again. This time, he noted in his letter, “Since a through line is now established from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, which will permit of persons going through to Emmitsburg with only one change of cars, it is important to your Company to make a change of this kind, and I, therefore, again call your attention to it.”

This time, the directors agreed with his reasoning and renamed Rocky Ridge Emmitsburg Junction on all of its documentation and schedules. However, the post office remained Rocky Ridge, so anything being mailed to Emmitsburg Junction had to be sent to Rocky Ridge.

The Clarion noted that the change might have come too late. Thurmont might soon become the transfer point for rail travelers if the Frederick and Hagerstown Railway continued to grow.

“It is hoped a trolley road will soon be built from Thurmont to Mt. St. Mary’s for the benefit and convenience of the hundreds of students attending college at that place, and also for the benefit of the many people residing between these two points,” the newspaper reported.

This did not happen, but with the growth of automobile travel, so few people were using the Emmitsburg Railroad by 1935 that it became freight only. It ceased operation in 1940.

Even then, not all the stations along the Western Maryland line were alerted to the change.

In 1959, Mrs. James Tucker and her daughter, both from Boston, traveled to New York City, where they purchased a ticket to Emmitsburg via Emmitsburg Junction. They boarded the train for the five-hour trip to St. Joseph College.

When the New Englanders arrived at Emmitsburg Junction, they found a worn out railway station but no railroad, not even a track,” the Gettysburg Times reported.

Luckily, they met Guy Baker, who was driving a mail and express truck. He offered to take the ladies to the college.

Emmitsburg Junction still continues to pop up on modern maps from time to time, although it should have ceased to exist along the railroad. A 1992 Frederick County trash map showed Emmitsburg Junction as north of MD 77, while Rocky Ridge was south of the highway. Even today, if you type Emmitsburg Junction into Mapquest, it will take you to Rocky Ridge.

Rocky Ridge WM Station.

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

Grace Eyler

On the evening of January 25, 2018, Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company (RRVFC) opened its doors and warmly welcomed their volunteers and friends “home” for their annual banquet. The room was filled with over 200 familiar faces, ready to celebrate achievements and share stories from the past year. The aroma of a homemade dinner from GT’s Catering filled the room. After everyone had finished dessert, President Dale Kline opened, “This marks sixty-eight years of our service to our community of Rocky Ridge…We are very proud to say we are one of five volunteer fire companies in Frederick County.” He stressed the importance of the volunteers, not only within the fire company itself, but the local churches in the proximity of the town that all come together during carnival time to make the event so prosperous. “Without that outside help in a small community, we could not have done what we have done in sixty-eight years.”

The RRVFC relies heavily on funds made from the carnival in August. Other fundraisers held throughout the year include butcherings in November and February; and fantastic breakfasts, hosted by the Auxiliary; as well as Ridgefest; gun raffles; Santa Detail; and various bingos. “The ones who make sure everyone’s happy is our great, great, Ladies Auxiliary…” said Kline, as he gave praise to the hard-working women of the RRVFC.

Ladies Auxiliary President Betty Ann Mumma stood with Dale at the podium, “We are just so fortunate that we have so many who are so willing to help us,” she said. She joked about the President’s earlier comments, bantering back, “Sixty-eight years! Wheew! I’ve been here for fifty of it, in this position for forty-four of it!” The crowd chuckled and clapped for light-hearted Betty Ann, who has been such a vital part of the RRVFC for most of its years. After giving many thanks and credit to the rest of the auxiliary and President Dale Kline, she then handed him a check for $15,000 to help with expenses for the fire company.

Kathy Afzali [State Delegate] took a ride from Annapolis to present RRVFC with a citation from the Bureau of General Assembly in recognition of their continued work to protect their community, and other surrounding communities, for over sixty years. Also in attendance, County Executive Jan Gardner, County Councilmen Kirby Delauter and Billy Shrieve. Another familiar face, Chip Jewell, recently-retired Director of Volunteer Fire Services.

Preceding the citation, President Kline recognized his operational and administrative officers. Company 11 filled in.

Denny and Paulette Mathias awarded the following recipients 5 year pins; 10 year pins were presented to Amber Youngerman, Westly Burrier, Emily Grant; 15 year pins -Tammy Smith; 20 year pins – Rev. James Russell, Melissa Mathias, and Eric Martin. 25 year pin – Matthew Moser and Nelson Smith. One 35 year pin was given to Kevin Albaugh. A 40 year pin to Chief Alan Hurley and  45 year pin for Bernard “Bun” Wivell.

After the 5-year pins, Chief Alan Hurley came forward to present the “Chief’s Award”.  Chief Hurley called out to his line officers to join him up on this evening’s “Front Line”.  Top ten responders included Matt Moser (169 calls), Chief Alan Hurley (141 calls), Christina Hurley (126 calls) Kevin Albaugh (110 calls) Bonny Hurley (107 calls), Larry Humerick Jr. (97 calls) Wesley Burrier (61 calls) John Reese (50 calls) Leon Stover Jr. ( 47 calls) and Craig Hovermale (44 calls).

“Company 30, we have a deep appreciation for you for standing by during our carnival and other times we need you…” said Alan Hurley who recognized Thurmont Community Ambulance Company for their partnership throughout the years. Other companies that were recognized included Vigilant Hose and Independent Hose for their work with RRVFC.

Luke Humerick, leader of the Junior Fire Company took the opportunity to congratulate this year’s young volunteers. “I had a great group of kids this year. They’re all hardworking and ready to help with any task we have.”  Even though three of his members were promoted into RRVFC last year, he’s still proud of all of his kids accomplishments – including Breezy Combs who was elected “Frederick County Fire Prevention Queen.”

The President’s Award was presented to Chief Alan Hurley. Dale reminisced, “This young man asked me at a bingo one night – “What is it that I have to do to become chief?” He presented Alan with the award, concluding “… as you can see, this was many years ago…” in reference to Chief Hurley who has been in the position for many years.

Linda Northrup and Bonny Hurley presented the Robert Albaugh. Volunteer of the Year award to Nancy Baker. Nancy was recognized for her dedication to the company, currently serving as the Auxiliary’s Assistant Chaplin, and has donated 335 hours this year. The Outstanding Junior award was presented to Wayne Lewis. He joined the company in 2015 and has donated 135 hours of time during 2017. The Charles Mumma Firefighter award was presented to Matt Moser, a member for twenty-five years, and a top responder for most of them.

The evening concluded with the induction of the new officers for 2018: President; Dale Kline; Vice President, Denny Mathias; Secretary; Paulette Mathias; Asst. Secretary, Christina Hurley; Treasurer, Bun Wivell; Asst. Treasurer, Bonny Hurley; Chaplin, Rev. James Russell; Chief, Alan Hurley; 1st Asst. Chief, Luke Humerick; 2nd Asst. Chief, Kevin Albaugh; Captain, Jim Rice; Induction was provided by Bob Jacobs, past President of Frederick County Fire Association.

As volunteers shook hands and gave hugs goodbye, all knew they’d be back soon, in one way or another, to show their support and volunteer during the upcoming year’s fundraisers and social events.

2018 Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company Officers

Linda Northrup presents the Robert Albaugh Volunteer of the Year Award to Nancy Baker.

President Dale Kline presents the President’s Award to Chief Alan Hurley.


Priscilla Rall of Rocky Ridge finished her cookbook, and it has been printed. “This has been a labor of love and a long time in the making. It includes a chapter (with my illustrations) on open hearth cooking, its tools, ingredients, methods, etc. Then, there are 178 recipes, including ones for hoe cakes, all kinds of steamed puddings (like fig, hasty, and pease), ginger cake, homemade yeast, beaten biscuits, apple fritters,schnitz un knepp, venison, broiled eels, squirrel, blackbird pie, shad, pickled peppers, sauerkraut, cranberry ketchup, horse cake, green tomato pie, my great grandmother’s kaffee kuchen, corn and locust beer, elder and dandelion wine and much more!” Rall said. “My book is profusely illustrated with vintage botanical illustrations, my own photos, Uncle Wiggely (remember him?), and lots of nursery rhymes. There are some old fashioned remedies, also. It has a spiral binding, so you can open it up flat—the better to read it by.

Learn the history behind our ancestors’ cooking, what they ate, and how they prepared it. This isn’t your Monticello or Mt. Vernon cookbook, but one with seldom seen recipes for everyday folk. Also invaluable for the living history reinactor.

The price for this cookbook is $36.00. “Wish it was lower, but I had to have it printed privately, so no room for wholesale pricing,” explained Rall.

Rall will be scheduling an open hearth cooking workshop this winter, just looking for a nice venue. If interested, let her know at 301-271-2868.

Thurmont Baseball is actively planning to make 2017 their best year ever. Registration is now open and is in full swing until February 24, 2017. Visit their website at to register, and please share the message with your friends. Additionally, they will be offering in-person registration on February 5 at the TLL clubhouse (above the concession stand) from 10:00 a.m.-noon.

Players from Emmitsburg, Thurmont, Rocky Ridge, Woodsboro, Taneytown, and Union Bridge are welcome to register. They also offer a sibling discount that applies to families with more than one player. The 2017 League Divisions: All games played at the Thurmont Complex — Tee-Ball (ages 4-6): typically 7 to 10 teams; Instructional League (ages 5-8): typically 6 to 8 teams; Minor League (ages 7-11): typically 8 to 10 teams; Little League Major (ages 9-12): 6 teams; Babe Ruth (ages 13-18): typically 3 to 5 teams.

At the Tee-ball, Instructional, Minor, and Major divisions, all of their games are played in-house at the Thurmont Baseball Complex. This provides their families the convenience of not having to travel around the county for games during school nights. They also have their beautifully renovated concession stand, serving some of the best concession fare in Frederick County. New in 2017, they will be offering some healthier dinner options for families—but don’t worry, the pizza and nachos aren’t going anywhere!

Thurmont Little League is looking forward to seeing your player on their ball fields. Feel free to call Ed Lowry at 267-664-5059 with questions or email them at View their advertisement on page 28.

It’s cold out, but it’s warming up at Thurmont Baseball! Let’s be honest, it’s January and it’s cold; who in their right mind is thinking about baseball? That question could be a loaded one depending on who you ask. In the Thurmont-Emmitsburg region, that passion for baseball runs pretty deep. True, the cold weather has arrived, but at Thurmont Baseball, they are gearing up for their sixty-sixth season of baseball. They are actively planning to make 2017 their best year ever. Registration is now open and is in full swing until late February. Visit their website at to register, and please share the message with your friends.  Additionally, they will be offering in-person registration on the following dates/times to accommodate our community members who would prefer that method of registration: January 7 and February 5—at the TLL clubhouse (above the concession stand) from 10:00 a.m.-noon.

Players from Emmitsburg, Thurmont, Rocky Ridge, Woodsboro, Taneytown, and Union Bridge are welcome to register. Act now to get your $10.00 off registration through the end of January.  They also offer a sibling discount that applies to families with more than one player. The 2017 League Divisions: All games played at the Thurmont Complex — Tee-Ball (ages 4-6): typically 7 to 10 teams; Instructional League (ages 5-8): typically 6 to 8 teams; Minor League (ages 7-11): typically 8 to 10 teams; Little League Major (ages 9-12): 6 teams; Babe Ruth (ages 13-18): typically 3 to 5 teams.

At the Tee-ball, Instructional, Minor, and Major divisions, all of their games are played in-house at the Thurmont Baseball Complex. This provides their families the convenience of not having to travel around the county for games during school nights. They also have their beautifully renovated concession stand, serving some of the best concession fare in Frederick County.  New in 2017, they will be offering some healthier dinner options for families. Don’t worry, the pizza and nachos aren’t going anywhere!

Thurmont Little League is looking forward to seeing your player on their ball fields. Feel free to call Ed Lowry at 267-664-5059 with questions or email them at

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

The Western Maryland Comes to Mechanicstown

by James Rada, Jr.

Photo Courtesy of

looking-back-columnThurmont’s stop on the Western Maryland Railway makes up only a paragraph in the history of the railroad. For Thurmont, however, it was a major event that not only helped shape the town’s future but also gave it its unique name.

The Western Maryland Railway began in 1852 as the Baltimore, Carroll, and Frederick Railroad. The goal at that time was to build a railroad from Baltimore to Washington County.

The Maryland General Assembly changed the name to the Western Maryland Rail Road Company the following year. For many years, the terminus of the railroad was at Union Bridge, where it had reached in 1862.

However, this was not the goal of the railroad. Mechanicstown knew that it was positioned along the proposed route of the railroad and wanted to see it completed, as did many other people. The original charter in 1852 called for the railroad to be built to the headwaters of the Monocacy River, which meant that the terminus would be at Mechanicstown or Rocky Ridge.

An 1871 article in the Catoctin Clarion noted, “May it not be said of the people of Mechanicstown that they have pinned their faith to the Western Maryland Railroad? This great artery of travel and commerce, hampered as it has been and still is, has done much for the section of the country through which it passes…”

Lobbying was begun to try and get construction to resume once more on the railroad, and on February 24, 1872, the Catoctin Clarion announced, “Rejoice, people of Mechanicstown!” A vote had been taken a few days earlier in Baltimore that was overwhelmingly in favor of continuing the construction of the Western Maryland Railway to Hagerstown and beyond.

“This vote is the harbinger of a new era for this great enterprise,” the newspaper reported.

The announcement brought with it some immediate economic activity in town. “Already on the strength of this news, several parties in our town and vicinity have commenced, sinking shafts in close proximity to the road for the discovery of ore and ore banks, which, we are persuaded, exist in quantities in our very midst,” according to the newspaper. These speculators were searching for iron that could be smelted into pig iron at Catoctin Furnace and used for making rails.

When the railroad opened to Mechanicstown later in 1872, George Wireman wrote in Gateway to the Mountains, “A group of civic-minded citizens arranged a reception and a banquet for the railroad officials and their guests. This event took place in the local warehouse and a gala celebration was enjoyed by all who attended.”

The depot was built on the site of an old cannery, and a water tower was built just to the north of it. The Mechanicstown Station also had a freight yard and engine house.

The railroad brought so much business and travelers into the area that a new depot and associated facilities eventually had to be built near Carroll Street.

“The new depot was built along the main line near Carroll Street and featured two waiting rooms, stationmaster and telegrapher’s office, and sanitary facilities. The grounds were graced with four large grass plots, one on the east, one on the west side of the station, and two in the front. These plots were beautified with ornamental grasses and flowers, protected by low guard rails. The front plots had large lawn vases in the center with blooming flowers,” Wireman described the new depot.

Besides the increased business, the Western Maryland Railway had another major change on Mechanicstown in 1894. Because of the number of towns along the line with names similar to Mechanicstown, the Post Office Department requested that the name be changed. Thurmont was chosen after much debate and a town vote.

The Western Maryland Railway served Thurmont until 1967 when the station closed.

Theresa Dardanell

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.

James Rada, Jr.

It is estimated that more than 1,100 World War II Veterans die each day. The United States and Frederick County is quickly losing its “greatest generation.”

The Frederick County Veterans History Project is working to make sure those important histories are not lost. Working with the Library of Congress, these county volunteers have set out to record interviews on DVD with every Veteran they can find in the county. Their primary focus is WWII Veterans, but they are also interviewing any Veteran who is willing to share his or her story.

“We interview any Veteran,” said Priscilla Rall, director of the Frederick County Veterans History Project. “It doesn’t matter whether they were stateside, in the Cold War, anywhere.”

The group of volunteers was founded in April 2003 and, at this time, has interviewed more than three hundred twenty-five of Frederick County’s Veterans. Members currently meet bi-monthly in Rall’s Rocky Ridge home.

While there are committees with other organizations, such as the DAR, that also conduct interviews, Rall said, “To my knowledge, we are the only organization formed in the country just to do Veterans History Project interviews.”

The National Veterans History Project was formed in 2000 as part of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center. The goal of the project is to collect, preserve, and make accessible as many personal accounts from Veterans as possible so that their first-hand knowledge is available to future generations.

Rall, who has conducted more than one hundred interviews, said that her most-interesting interview was when she sat down with Howard Baugh, who flew one hundred thirty-five missions with the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American military pilots in the armed forces.

“The white corps had a limit on the number of missions they would fly before they went home,” Rall said. “The Tuskegee Airmen didn’t have a limit and so they flew a lot of missions.”

Rall said that she was also very impressed with the Veterans who fought in the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.

The Frederick County group is always looking for the names of Veterans who are willing to share their stories. A volunteer will schedule a time to sit down with the Veteran and record the interview on a DVD. Copies of the interview are then sent to the Library of Congress’ Veteran History Project, the Maryland Room in the C. Burr Artz Library, and to the Veteran who granted the interview. A copy is also kept with the group.

“These Veterans have opened their hearts to us, usually painfully,” Rall said. “We should continue to give them our thanks and gratitude.”

The Frederick County Veterans History Project is always seeking volunteers to help conduct interviews, as well as the names of Veterans who would be willing to share their stories.

To help out, call Rall at 301-271-2868 or e-mail her at

The Thurmont Little League (TLL) All-Star season is still underway, but TLL is gearing up for an exciting season of fall baseball. Thurmont Little League is open to players from Thurmont, Emmitsburg, Sabillasville, Woodsboro, Rocky Ridge, Taneytown, and Union Bridge.

“Thurmont Little League and Little League International thrives by building virtues of character, courage, and loyalty to the community, which is why the board of directors here at TLL feel so strongly about the Little League mission and the benefits it provides to our servicing communities. When we extended our league’s boundary to the outlining communities, we broadened the Little League virtues and exposed our players to those qualities with the intent of bettering the overall communities in our region. Our goal is to make these youth athletes successful on the field and, more importantly, successful off the field,” said Ed Lowry, president of Thurmont Little League.

The TLL fall baseball season is a great opportunity for players to continue and enhance their baseball skills. We strongly encourage players to sign up for the division they wish to play in the 2016 spring season, so they can get a better idea of the game rules and procedures of that division.

You may register online at (through August 23). In-person registrations are now taking place every Monday evening through August 17 at the Thurmont Little League clubhouse, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Our fall baseball season will begin late August and run through the end of October and cost $60.00 per player (players can receive a $10.00 discount if they register before July 31). Visit for more details. If you have questions, please call league President Ed Lowry at 267-664-5059 or email

James Rada, Jr.

Hundreds of millions of years ago, dinosaurs walked the earth, and hundreds of millions of years before that, prehistoric clams filled a vast lake that covered all of Central Maryland and a mud flat that stretched from North Carolina to Connecticut. The lake, known as the Lockatong, sat in the middle of Pangaea, an immense, C-shaped supercontinent.

Then came the drastic climate change that dried the lake, leaving the clams, fish, and other creatures laying in mud where they died. Small land animals moved across the mud flats, seeking water and leaving behind their prints in the mud.

Today, a portion of the former lake is a lush, green farm owned by John and Linda Ballenger in Rocky Ridge. Although the lake is gone, a small stream runs through the property bordered by layers of shale that are slowly yielding their secrets.

Although the Ballengers call their property Buck Forest Farm, among geologists, archeologists, and research papers, the property is referred to as The Fulton Site.

In 1994, John Edwards with the Maryland Geological Survey told Linda Ballenger that there might be dinosaur tracks on her property. Linda examined the area Edwards identified, but didn’t do anything with the information for ten years. That’s when she read an article by Richard D. L. Fulton about an Emmitsburg quarry where fossils had been found. Linda contacted Fulton and told him that her farm might have dinosaur tracks.

Fulton came out to the farm and confirmed what Linda had been told. He then asked permission to begin studying the farm for other prehistoric fossils. Since 2004, his search has yielded thousands of reptile tracks, skin impressions and bones, millipede and insect tracts, plant fossils, and fossil freshwater shrimp and fish.

The site has also attracted attention from researchers in the United States and abroad. Most recently, a group of graduate students from the University of Nebraska toured the site on May 13. They picked at the shale with their hammers and studied the pieces through loupes to see what had been unseen for millions of years.

Jean Self-Trail, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, led the group, which was touring geological sites from North Carolina to Pennsylvania.

“This is part of a field course for these students to look at different types of geology,” said Self-Trail. “They usually go someplace like England or Spain, but, this year, we wanted to study the East Coast.”

In between digging at some of the sites, the students are engaged in various study exercises.

The visit to The Fulton Site was productive in that some additional fossils were unearthed. Robert Weems of the U.S. Geological Survey found fossils of tiny prehistoric shrimp called Cacostrian (or freshwater clam shrimp) that made faint half-moon impressions in the shale.

“We hit pay dirt both literally and figuratively,” Weems said, as he held up the find. Some researchers believe the clam shrimp found on the property to be a unique species.

Some of the other finds at the site include a nicely preserved imprint of a fish about four inches long. The fins, teeth, and scales can all be seen. Paul Olsen of Columbia University said that it represents the oldest dinosaur-age fish found to date east of the Mississippi River. The head of a second smaller fish appears to be jutting out of the head area of the four-inch fish, suggesting it may have been in the process of being eaten by the larger one.

The footprints of two types of reptiles, resembling dicynodonts—one a mouse-size species and the other a larger animal, about the size of a cat—have been found as well, along with the fossils of coelacanth scales.

Following the exploration of The Fulton Site, the group traveled up to the Fairfield Quarry in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, to view the dinosaur tracks that were found there decades ago.

“Today typifies the experience we have had doing research at this site for eight years. We can seem to get twenty Nebraska university students from 1,000 miles away to work on the site, but haven’t even been able to get but one Maryland university student from some 50 miles away to work on the site,” said Fulton, who is the lead lay-professional paleontologist.

Dino Bones 1

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

Registration for the 2015 Spring Thurmont Little League (TTL) is now open. Online registration is available at their website until Friday, February 20, at

Players for Thurmont, Sabillasville, Emmitsburg, Rocky Ridge, Woodsboro, Taneytown and Union Bridge are welcome to register. Come be a part of the Little League experience.

At the T-ball, Instructional, Minor, and Major divisions, all of their games are played in-house at the Thurmont Little League Complex. This provides families the convenience of not having to travel around the county during school nights for games. Each division’s coaches follow a strict core of coaching objectives developed by their program to ensure all children are taught the same basic skills to develop their baseball talents.  The TLL Coaching Coordinator oversees the implementation of this program at all levels. Each level provides flexibility with respect to age, so players advance according to their ability. Young players who master the skills are able to advance and are not held back simply because of their birth date.

Additionally, they have undergone major improvements to their facilities to ensure their ball players get to take advantage of the best facilities their program can provide. More improvements are on the way come spring.

All games are played at the Thurmont Complex: T-Ball (ages 4-6):  typically 7-10 teams; Instructional League (ages 5-8): typically 6-8 teams; Minor League (ages 7-11): typically 6-7 teams; Little League Major (ages 9-12): new this year, they will field 6 teams.

If you cannot sign up online, please visit them for the following in-person registration dates: Saturday, February 7, from 12:00-2:00 p.m.; Sunday, February 8, from 12:00-2:00 p.m.

Minor and Major tryouts will be conducted on February 21 and February 28. First-time Minor or Major players must attend one tryout.

Both in-person registration dates will take place at their Clubhouse, located at 275 Westview Drive in Thurmont. The Thurmont Little League looks forward to seeing your player on the Little League ball fields.

Feel free to call 267-664-5059 with questions or email them at You can find them on Facebook at Thurmont Little League and on Twitter/Instagram at theTLLnetwork

by James Rada, Jr.

— 1938 —

The End of a Generation in Thurmont

When Thomas H. Shelton died on February 19, 1938, Frederick County lost its last Veteran of the Civil War, seventy-three years after the war ended.

Shelton died at the home of his daughter-in-law, Stella Shelton, who lived near Rocky Ridge. The ninety-seven-year-old had been healthy at the start of the month, but then his health had quickly turned, and he had been sick for about a week prior to his death.

As a young man of eighteen, Shelton had served in Company I of the 1st Maryland Regiment. He had missed fighting at the Battle of Antietam in 1862, because he had been taken as a prisoner of war at Harpers Ferry the day before.

Eventually he was paroled, and he returned to his company and was with them when they fought at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. His company did not fight in the other nearby battle at Monocacy in 1864.

When the war ended and his regiment was discharged, Shelton re-enlisted with the 13th Regiment.

Shelton was buried with full military honors in the Garfield Mt. Bethel United Methodist Cemetery. He had outlived all of his children, but he was survived by nine grandchildren, twenty-seven great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.

Frederick County had lost its last two Civil War Veterans within four months of each other.

Although Shelton hadn’t been a native Frederick Countian, Henry Clay Fleagle of Thurmont had been. He had been the second-to-last Civil War Veteran in the county, and the last one who had lived his life here.

Fleagle died in November 1937 at age ninety-four. He was a first-generation American whose parents had been born in Holland.

He had been born in Unionville and served in the Civil War under Capt. Walter Saunders.

“He served for nearly the entire four-year duration of the war, charging with the line of blue at Gettysburg,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.

The end had been a relief for Fleagle. The Frederick News reported that he had been only partially conscious the week before his death at the home of his son, George Fleagle.

Henry’s wife, Lillie Creager, had died two years earlier. He was survived by one daughter, who was married to Wilbur Freeze, four sons, nineteen grandchildren, and twenty great-grandchildren.

Henry was also the last member of the Jason Damuth Post of the Grand Army of the Republic in Thurmont.

It would still be nearly two decades before the last Civil War Veteran died. The final Veterans of the Confederate States armed forces died in the 1950s. A number of men claimed to be last remaining Confederate Veteran. These men died throughout the 1950s. Many of their claims were debunked as more information about their births was uncovered. The largest problem in verifying their claims was that many Confederate records had been destroyed or lost, because the Confederate government had no official archive system.

Pleasant Crump of Alabama died at the end of 1951 at the age of 104. He was the oldest of the group of Confederate Veterans who had a verified service record.

The last Union Veteran was Albert Woolson, who died in 1956 at the age of 109.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, following Woolson’s death, “The American people have lost the last personal link with the Union Army … His passing brings sorrow to the hearts of all of us who cherished the memory of the brave men on both sides of the War Between the States.”


Photo is from 1916 and shows a group of Civil War Veterans posing in front of the grocery store that stood on North Church Street. This building was located in the now-vacant lot next to the Historical Society building.


Veterans Gathering 1916

A view of Veterans standing in front of the old town hall.

Photos Courtesy of

MountainFest Weekend in Sabillasville

by Chris O’Connor

COLUMN mountain fest -Juanita Pfister and daughter OliviaA rather inauspicious opening day of MountainFest at Sabillasville Elementary School in Sabillasville, Maryland, deterred many visitors due to the chilly, misty weather.

Sunday, the overcast skies gave way to sun and warmer temperatures and attendance typical of the decades old annual arts and crafts festival sponsored by the Northwestern Frederick County Civic Association (NFCCA).

The NFCCA headed by President George Kuhn describes the gathering as a unique alternative for artisans and crafters to display their wares in an ideal environment without the crush of crowds and parking fees.  He considers the relaxed country setting a perfect place for friends and neighbors to gather and enjoy local churches’ baked goods, live music, an affordable meal, and ice cream from Antietam Dairy, an ever-welcome fixture at MountainFest.

Robert Eyler of Rocky Ridge provided fare from his food truck on Saturday and Sunday.  The menu included hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, and other items, but he sold out of pit beef and soup both days, a testament to the popularity of Eyler’s chow.

MountainFest is the only fundraiser held by the NFCCA.  It primarily benefits students through the Catoctin feeder school system who choose to apply for scholarships. George, whose duties include vendor registration and assignment of spaces, explained that there are three categories of scholarships, including academic, auto industry, and the lesser known designation for individuals wishing to continue their education.

There were approximately twenty-five exhibitors at the show, including George who had a wide array of antiques and collectibles that he’s found at a variety of sales. He claims no special knowledge, but happily enjoys the quest and how interesting he considers the individual items he finds.

MountainFest draws in crafters and artisans from towns hither and yon.  Jack and Holly Olszewski of Cascade, Maryland, displayed their fossils, crystals, minerals, and massive teeth from the ancient megaladon.

Jerry Stiffler from Wellsville, Pennsylvania, builds distinctive cupboards and shelving fashioned from salvaged antique wood from deserted barns and other buildings slated for demolition.  He strives to learn the age and history of the structure and includes that information with the purchase of each piece.

Another popular draw was hand-crafted jewelry by Deanna Maginnis from Myersville, Maryland, who designs and fabricates her own jewelry from a variety of beads to semi-precious stones, including freshwater pearls to Swarovski crystals.

Sunday, the emerging sun illuminated glistening chrome and shiny paint jobs, highlighting another popular feature of MountainFest, the much anticipated annual car show, founded over thirty years ago by the late Kenny Tressler.

George Kuhn credits the continued success of the car show to current chairman Jason Worth of Sabillasville, who registered 110 antique and classic rides this year. Funds raised from the car show go toward the NFCCA scholarship fund.

Jason, who has helped with the annual car show for six years and been the chairman for three, points out that the show isn’t limited to antique or classic cars, or what car lovers describe as “Detroit Muscle.”  Any car can be entered in the show for a $10.00 fee, which allows the entrant to vote for twenty-five awards and a chance at a variety of door prizes offered by local businesses from Thurmont; Emmitsburg; and Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, who generously provide goods and services.

Jason extends his gratitude to everyone who contributed cash and/or door prizes, the gathering of which involves friends and family who volunteer to visit the local businesses and cites ultimate beneficiaries:  students looking for a financial boost in their respective hopes to further their education with NFCCA scholarships.

Three additional awards included one for the vehicle that traveled the greatest distance, which hailed from Bunker Hill, West Virginia. The Oldest Vehicle award was bestowed on 1927 Ford Model A. Voted Best in Show was a ’69 Chevelle.

A fitting finale to a beautiful Sunday at MountainFest was punctuated by rumbling thunder from the exhaust systems of the cars, a veritable symphony to any car enthusiast’s ears as the participants departed the show grounds.

The descending sun reflected in the cars spotless paint jobs and flashed like lightning as the show cars headed toward the horizon.

For information, contact George Kuhn at 301-241-3997 or Jason Worth at 301-241-4537.