Heritage Tour Opens Doors To The Past

December 04, 1991|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff writer

TANEYTOWN — Come Dec. 15, visitors can step back two centuries to the nation's Revolutionary era.

Several homeowners will open their doors, givinga glimpse of Christmas past, during a tour organized by the Taneytown Heritage Committee.

First stop on the tour, which runs from 12:30 to 6 p.m., is the former A dam Good Tavern. And, yes, George Washington actually slept there in 1791. The Frederick Street location is now Come Saturday Morning Antiques.

Keysville United Church of Christ and seven homes, most dating to the days when Francis Scott Key made his home here, will be featured on the tour. Key himself helped forge the history of several of the spots.

The original church, a log building, dates to 1828, when Key and his mother deeded a half acre of their land to erect a school and meetinghouse for preaching, said Jean Brown, who helped organize this year's tour.

Owners promise to flavor the tour with historical tales.

"When Adam Good hung his open-for-business sign above his inn, he left a little space after the first letter of his name," said Brown. "To everyone's amusement, it became a damn good tavern."

For six years, Jim Fogle has called the tavern home, bothto himself and to his antiques business. He recently sold his predecessor's original billboard to a customer who may have traveled the same route the general used to get here from the nation's capital.

"Route 194 was a major highway in Washington's time," said Brown.

The tavern was destroyed in a fire about 1838. Soon after, a house andother businesses, including a bowling alley, took its place. Fogle has renovated the building one room at a time.

"The house is not where I want it to be yet," said Fogle, who still has three upstairs rooms to go. "But I was pleased when the committee asked me to join this year's tour."

He lives among the antiques he sells: a dining table is set with Wedgewood china, and a living room is furnished like aformal parlor. Antique cooking utensils hang from the kitchen ceiling.

The old bowling alley, behind the living quarters, has its original wooden floors. But instead of balls and pins, visitors see rows and rows of antiques.

"I am comfortable living with the past," he said. "I use the whole house."

On tour day, though, he will put the "for sale" tags away and encourage visitors to walk through the rooms and sense the history.

Five other homeowners also will show offrenovations made to their residences, many of which include originallog portions.

The Williams family of Mumma Ford Road are tour veterans. Their 1788 stone home, with much of the original woodwork, floors and mantels, was featured last spring on the Maryland Home and Garden Tour. For their Christmas visitors, the owners also will displayminiature rooms furnished in 18th-century styles.

Tickets, $8 each, and maps are available at any stop on the tour. Tourists also are invited to lunch at the church on Keysville Road, where members will serve complimentary refreshments.

For patrons who want to emulate the Christmas decor of their ancestors, the Silver Fancy Garden Club will be selling greens and decorations, also at the church.

Information: 756-2134.

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