Westminster Once Flourished As Farm Trading Center

County's Seat Named After Founder William Winchester

May 05, 1991

Westminster, the seat of Carroll County, is named after the British birthplace of its founder, William Winchester, who purchased the town's first 100 acres in 1754.

After the creation of Carroll County in 1837, Westminster became a trading center for farm products and a stopping-off point for wagons traveling between the grain-rich fields of central Pennsylvania and the port of Baltimore.

Many of the city's first settlers were Germans from Pennsylvania and Scotch-Irish from the Tidewater areas of Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Government

As the county seat in the center of Carroll, Westminster is the largest municipality, with a 1991 population of 13,250.

Its fiscal 1990-1991 (budget year starts July 1) city property tax rate is 91 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which is in addition to the county property tax; homes are assessed at 40 percent (as of July 1) of market value.

The owner of a typical $134,000 home (assessed at $53,600) pays $488 annually in city property taxes, plus $1,260 in county property taxes.

The city contracts for trash pickup, twice weekly for residential customers.

The cost of trash pickup is included in the city property tax.

Incorporated in 1838, Westminster is run by a mayor and five-member council serving staggered four-year terms.

An appointed city manager serves as Westminster's administrative officer and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of government.

The mayor is paid $10,000 annually, while City Council members get $2,400 (the president gets $3,000).

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

The City Council meets at 7:30 p.m.the second and fourth Monday of each month at City Hall, 100 Longwell Ave., 21157, telephone 848-9000.

* Mayor W. Benjamin Brown: since 1989, term ends 1993

* Council President Kenneth J. Hornberger: since 1983, term ends 1991

* Councilman Edward S. Calwell: since 1989, term ends 1993

* Councilman Samuel V. Greenholtz: appointed September 1986, term ends 1991

* Councilman William F. Haifley: since 1985, term ends 1993

* Councilman Mark S. Snyder: since 1987, term ends 1991

* City Manager Philip Hertz

* Clerk John D. Dudderar

* Public Works Director William S. Mowell

* Finance Director Stephen V. Dutterer

* Director of Planning Thomas B. Beyard

*Housing, Community Development and Personnel Supervisor Karen K. Blandford

* Recreation and Activities Supervisor Carol A. Donovan

* Police Chief Sam R. Leppo

* Attorney John B. Walsh Jr.

Tourist attractions

* Ascension Church (1844): 23 N. Court St. Built by Robert Carey Long Jr., Baltimore architect; interior includes period furniture and stained glass windows dating to late 19th century.

Regular Sunday services are 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Interior viewings of the church are by appointment only.

Information: 848-4500 or 876-2085.

* Carroll County Courthouse: Cornerstone for this structure, which is still in use, was laid in 1837.

The original building is now the centerpiece of the current structure.

* City Hall: Center of the city, on Longwell Avenue.

Purchased by the city in 1939 and formerly called "Emerald Hill," the mansion was built in 1842 by Col. John K. Longwell.

* Opera House: 140 E. Main St. Originally site of the Jacob Mathias' tanyard, shop and residence before conversion to opera use in the 1850s.

* Shellman House: 206 E. MainSt. One of the city's oldest standing structures.

The museum features period oil paintings, sculpture, engravings, fixtures, tools andfurniture.

This was the home of Mary Bostwick Shellman from aboutthe time of the Civil War through World War I.

Up the road, at 210 E. Main St., lies another well-preserved 19th-century home -- the Kimmey House.

Operated by the Carroll County Historical Society, both houses are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday throughout the year; July-September, also open Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

The Kimmey House contains the society's administrative offices.

Admission fees are $2 for adults, $1.50 for senior citizens, 50 cents for children.

Information: 848-6494.

* Walking tour: Many of the city's sites, as well as other historic structures (including the Old Jail and the Post Office), are part of a walking tour of Westminster; pamphlets are available.

Information: 848-4500 or 876-2085.

* Western Maryland College: Chartered in 1868, was the first coeducational college south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

The college presents drama, film series, workshops and festivals and has a full intercollegiate sports program, all open to the public.

This scenic, shady campus contains five buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

Information: 848-7000.

Special events

* May 27:Memorial Day parade sponsored by the American Legion, with ceremony honoring war dead at the Westminster cemetery.

Starts at 10 a.m.

* Sept. 26-29: Fallfest, festival with craft fair, amusement rides and entertainment, including jugglers, clowns and bands, Longwell Avenue Parking Lot and City Playground.

The parade is at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Festival hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

* Dec. 14: Christmas treat, train ride with Santa, free toys and candy for children, Railroad Avenue Parking Lot, 10 a.m.

* April 18, 1992: Easter Egg Hunt, for ages 1-4, 11:30 a.m., Westminster Nursing and Convalescent Center, 1234 Washington Road.

Then at, 2 p.m., a hunt is set for children ages 5-8 at the Westminster City Playground.

A total of 3,500 eggs with 50 prize eggs are planned; bunny pettings also scheduled.

* April 3, 1992: Arbor Day, tree-planting ceremony, KingPark, Chase Street, 1 p.m.

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