James Rada, Jr.
The Thurmont Historical Society needed $60,000 to repair the Creeger House, which houses the historical society.
Ethel Creeger donated the house to the historical society in 1989. The original portion of the house is a log cabin built in the 1920s. Col. John Rouzer, a state senator and Civil War soldier, called the building home. It is not only a historical structure, but it contains artifacts, documents, and genealogy of local interest.
The house currently needs lots of refurbishing. The exterior bricks are deteriorating and, in some cases, turning to sand. The brick cladding on the log cabin is also threatening to pull away in some places. The roof has holes in it, through which sunlight can be seen.
The society hoped to get half of the needed money from a Maryland Historical Trust matching grant. The needed $30,000 was raised, including a $15,000 donation from the Town of Thurmont.
When the Maryland Historical Trust awarded nearly $2.7 million in grants for fifty projects in the state in July, the Creeger House was not among them.
“We were discouraged, disappointed, and I’ll say it, angry,” said Historical Society President Donna Voellinger.
In Frederick County, the following grants were awarded: Catoctin Furnace Historical Society won a $90,000 development grant for the Museum of the Ironworker; Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area won a $100,000 management grant; Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area won a $45,000 marketing grant; The Historical Society of Frederick County History won a $10,095 grant for an activities exhibit room.
The historical society hasn’t given up on the Creeger House. They can’t. The repairs need to be done.
“We still have to do the repairs,” Voellinger said. “We have no choice. We’ll get it done. We raised the original amount in less than four months, so we can do it.” She explained that the historical society has a full board, including some new members who bring new ideas and new energy to the society. That energy has helped develop a set of programs to help raise the remaining $30,000 needed for the Creeger House repairs.
These programs include: a yard sale; a silent auction at the Community Show; and a beer garden during Colorfest weekend.
“Donations are still trickling in, but we’re getting a lot of things ready to raise funds,” Voellinger said