Union Bridge Has A Big History

May 05, 1991

Before the Revolutionary War, farmers settled in Union Bridge, but it wasn't chartered by the General Assembly until May 2, 1872.

Founded by the Farquhars of Pennsylvania, Union Bridge is a small town, but it has a big history -- much of which centers around the Western Maryland Railroad. For example, the first knuckle railroad coupler is said to have been invented at the line's Union Bridge shops, though local historians do not know exactly when or by whom the device was invented.

The station, built in 1902 to house Western Maryland's offices, now is a museum.

Town government

Union Bridge is the second smallest town in the county, with a 1991 population of 966.

Its fiscal1990-1991 (budget year starts July 1) property tax rate is 72 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which is in addition to the county property tax; homes are assessed at 40 percent of market value. The owner of a typical $134,000 home (assessed at $53,600) pays $386 annually in town property taxes, plus $1,260 in county property taxes.

Union Bridge has a contract with Haden Trash Removal for trash pickup ;a curbside recycling program is in place.

The town is governed bya non-partisan mayor and five-member council serving staggered four-year terms. Council members get $20 per meeting; mayor, $1,200 annually.

Elections are the second Tuesday in May of odd-numbered years;the mayoral and three council seats are up for election in 1991.

The council meets at 7 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month at the Town Hall, 1 West Broadway, 21791, telephone 775-2711.

Town Hall opens 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

* Mayor Edward L. Williar: since 1952 (except from 1971 to 1975), term ends 1991

* Council President Perry L. Jones Jr.: since 1980, term ends 1993

* Councilman Scott W. Davis: since 1989, term ends 1993

* Councilman Bret D. Grossnickle: since 1987, term ends 1991

* Councilman Bonnie M. Hyde: since 1989, term ends 1993

* Councilman Jeffrey M. Six: since 1987, termends 1991

* Clerk/Treasurer Kathleen D. Kreimer

* Attorney John T. McQuire II

Tourist attractions

* The Western Maryland Railroad Historical Society Museum: The Victorian structure contains manyartifacts from the Western Maryland and other rail lines. The restored interior houses photos -- including a collection by noted Marylandphotographer A. Aubrey Bodine -- plans, charts, equipment and other historical items. The museum, on North Main Street, is open Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., May through October and by appointment the rest of the year. For information and tours, contact John G. Gruber at 868-5849.

* The Pipe Creek Friends Meeting House: This was constructed in1772.

* The Farmers & Mechanics National Bank: N. Main Street bank marks original site where the first reaping machine was designed and assembled in 1811 by Jacob R. Thomas.

* The William Henry Rinehart birthplace sign: Rinehart, a world-renowned sculptor, is commemorated with a sign at the town limit.

Special event

* April 19, 1992: Community Easter Sunrise Service, 6 a.m., Community Center, E. Locust Street, 775-2711.

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