Tours visit Civil War, religious sites for a glimpse of area's rich past NORTH -- Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro

IN SEARCH OF HISTORY

November 11, 1992|By Linda Lowe Morris | Linda Lowe Morris,Staff Writer

A beagle came out to bark as a big yellow bus bounced past it on a narrow gravel road and came to a stop.

It could have been responding to the words "Bark if you love dogs" woven into the matching scarves worn by trip organizers Jackie Hyatt and Charlotte Collett.

But more likely it was startled to see a group of 20 adults climb off a school bus in this out-of-the-way spot and scramble up a slope to stare at a small carved stone.

The stone -- one of the remaining crown stones placed every 5 miles along the Maryland-Pennsylvania border by British surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in 1776 and 1777 -- was the first stop for a historical tour held Friday as the 11th in a series of trips sponsored by the Northeast Tourist Bureau.

The tour followed Route 30 -- with a few detours -- from the Mason-Dixon Line south through Melrose, Manchester, Greenmount and Hampstead. It ended at the Carroll-Baltimore County line in Arcadia.

Hampstead Town Councilwoman Jackie Hyatt, Manchester Town Councilwoman Charlotte Collett and Anna May Schaeffer, owner of Schaeffer Bus Co., began the tours last June. So far, their groups have toured old grain mills, new subdivisions, small businesses, flower nurseries, local homes and farms, one-room schoolhouses and family cemeteries, and learned something of Civil War folklore and religious history.

Joe Getty, executive director of the Historical Society of Carroll County, was the leader of Friday's tour. Early into the trip he invited members of the group to share their own memories of the area.

When the tour stopped in Wentz for a discussion of the local canning factories, 87-year-old Greenmount resident Marie Eberg recalled how when she was young the canning companies would drop off granny sacks filled with green beans each night to be snapped by family members before being picked up the next morning.

"We'd get 50 cents for a whole big bag," she said.

"The smell, that's my memory of the canneries," someone in the back of the bus called out. "The pea vines fermented. I mean, you would hold your nose."

In Melrose, Irvin Lang, who now lives in Maple Grove, told stories of living in a home owned by the Mennonite Church during the 1940s.

Melrose, Mr. Getty said, was once a boom town.

"The rail line that went through Melrose created a commercial center here that was for a time more prominent than Manchester or Hampstead."

Very little research into local history comes from books, Mr. Getty explained as the tour came to Manchester.

"A lot of what you do is look at things to interpret how people lived. I like to look at buildings and at towns."

While Hampstead and Manchester may look similar at first glance, there are differences, he said.

"Architecturally," he continued, "Manchester is a typical Pennsylvania German town. The houses are very close together and very close to the road. Hampstead is much less dense. It has a few houses similar to [those in] Manchester, but it's mostly Victorian.

"Manchester was the most significant town in the region -- bigger than Westminster -- in the early 1800s. It attracted blacksmiths, weavers and builders. But after Hampstead got the railroad, it took off and some businesses in Manchester relocated to Hampstead."

The group stopped in Manchester in front of a frame house that's now painted tan with red shutters.

"This is one of the earliest houses in town," Mr. Getty said. "It's a log house underneath, and the addition on the side was a tobacco shop."

It was common in Manchester for people to have their businesses in their homes or in smaller buildings on the property, he explained.

After a lasagna lunch at Nick's Pizzeria, the group went on to Hampstead and Arcadia.

While there is still one more tour on this season's schedule of trips, Ms. Hyatt, Ms. Collett and Ms. Schaefer are already thinking of next year.

"We enjoy doing it and hope to be doing at least 10 trips next summer," said Ms. Collett.

The last tour of the season, the Christmas light tour, will be held Dec. 19. The bus will leave the Ames parking lot in the North Carroll Shopping Center at 2:30 p.m. and return about 10 p.m.

"We'll tour homes and churches, meet Santa Claus and sing some carols," said Ms. Collett. "And then at the end we'll go see the live nativity scene in Greenmount."

An evening meal at Dean's Restaurant at 5:30 p.m. is included in the $15 cost. For more information, call Jackie Hyatt at 239-3938 or the Manchester town office at 239-3200.

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