NEW WINDSOR — Since 1790, people have built fine homes here and taken pride in maintaining them.
The first homeowner on Church Street called the area Quality Hill.
Old Main, built in 1848 by Abraham Caylor, the great-grandfather of current Mayor James C. Carlisle, now houses the International GiftShop and is the oldest standing college building in the county.
Dielman Inn, the town's first building, standing at Main and High streets, dates to 1780. Julia A. Cairns, a lifelong resident, transformedthe inn into Boxwood Antiques 30 years ago.
The New Windsor Heritage Committee wants to enhance awareness of the town and give it official recognition by placing it on the National Register of Historic Places, a program managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
"People here have always taken great pride in their homes and in the town," said Cairns, a committee member. "Joining the register would give the town the prestige it deserves."
Nearly three years ago, theTown Council had discussed the proposal and voted against joining, "fearing New Windsor would become another Uniontown," said Councilwoman Rebecca H. Harman.
"People tell me they are afraid of the type of committee control we have seen lead to problems in Uniontown," saidHarman. "We have many lovely historical places here, but we have questions on whether we want blanket coverage for the whole town."
Harman was referring to the Uniontown Historic Commission, which has the final say on any exterior changes to residences.
That commissionfunctions in an entirely different capacity from the register, said Micki Smith, president of the 23-member Heritage Committee. She hopesto clear up the confusion, by educating people on the differences, she said.
"Being listed on the register is formal recognition only," she said. "The register has no governing committee and places no restrictions on residents. If you want to put a porch across the front of your house, you don't have to go before any committee and ask permission."
Another advantage is eligibility for federal and state grants, she added.
Smith put the proposal before the Town Council again at the May meeting.
Council members have delayed a decision, waiting to hear from residents. Harman and Councilman Everett R. Eckersaid they have received little positive response.
"People who have talked to me are all opposed," said Ecker, who detailed the proposal in the town newsletter mailed Friday to all residents. "I have asked them to come to our July meeting and voice their opinions."
Sykesville, Mount Airy, Taneytown and Westminster have all joined the register, said Joseph M. Getty, director of the Historical Society of Carroll County.
"The listing gives a community official recognition at the federal level, giving access to significant historic and cultural resources," he said.
"In the county, the listings have generated a positive renewed sense of community pride and increased awareness of the town's history."