Town's Residents Open Their Homes For Historic Tour

New Windsor's Past Comes Alive Sunday

October 02, 1991|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff writer

NEW WINDSOR — Chris Catalfu has spent months papering, painting and "accenting" her Church Street home.

A block away on Main Street, Micki Smith still is touching up a few places with paint and hoping her new shuttersarrive before this weekend.

The homeowners, along with several neighbors, will be showing offSunday when the town opens its doors to hospitality and history. Visitors are invited to the House Tour from noon to 5:30 p.m.

"I am in love with my house, one of the first five built here," Smith said of her Main Street home. "I really like sharing it, too."

Catalfu moved here a year ago from Connecticut following her husband's transfer. She, too, is enthralled with her "new, old" home, built in 1886 for resident Frank Devilbis, whose initials can be found in the stainedglass above the front door.

She said she is "honored" to be part of the tour and anxious to display the many features, including bookshelves made by a local craftsman.

"The previous owners did a wonderful job caring for and remodeling this house," she said. "We redid the kitchen and added touches of our own."

Organizers expect about 200 visitors to amble through town, visiting 11 homes, businesses andchurches.

At Boxwood Antiques, the former Dielman Inn, guests cansee a collection of photos and memorabilia. They also can tap into residents' accounts of the 1863 Confederate raid on the town and the 1869 New Windsor State Bank robbery or hear who was who in town history.

Julia R. Cairns, owner of the shop and a lifelong resident here, is a wealth of information and "our official historian," said Smith.

Cairns' display will include her great-great-grandfather's metalhat tub, shaped like a large, wide-brimmed hat.

She has copies ofthe Union Bridge Pilot, a weekly newspaper which published through the 1950s, she said. The Jan. 17, 1913 issue features a story of Blue Ridge College's move here from Union Bridge. The New Windsor Service Center now occupies the college's buildings.

Several cooking utensils from the inn, established in 1788, will be displayed on a old kitchen table. Servants were photographed in 1880 as they prepared the inn's meal at the same table.

Cairns also has a copy of a $10,000 reward poster, listing the bonds stolen from New Windsor State Bank onJan. 23, 1869.

"A world-renowned burglar, Max Swineberg, later caught in New York, was behind the whole thing," she said. "The burglars fled, using a railroad hand car to get within a mile of Westminster. Then, they took the train to Baltimore."

Cairns, 78, said she would be glad to share her memories and antique photos with visitors.

Several restaurants will be open Sunday, including K & B Corner, where Cairns' uncle once operated Brownie's Corner.

The town's Heritage Committee organized the tour, the third since 1985. Tickets, $10 each, are available at the New Windsor Presbyterian Church, the tour's first stop.

Proceeds of the event benefit Heritage Committee projects, which include creating archives of town history.

"We want to preserve our history for residents, especially the children," said Cairns. "We hope the tour plants some seeds of interest."

Information: 635-6462.

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