Today marks the 156th anniversary of the founding of Carrol County. A great way to celebrate would be to visit the Historical Society of Carroll County's exhibit, "Lost Legacy: Architectural Artifacts in the Collection of the Historical Society."
The exhibit opens this afternoon and the displays of building fragments -- bricks, millwork, lintels and nails -- provide an enlightening look at buildings that are now part of history.
Many of these objects were donated as relics -- as souvenirs that linked the object to a "more important" historical event or figure. The door lock from the Adam Good Tavern in Taneytown, for instance, was given to the society shortly after its founding in 1939 because George Washington touched the door handle when he spent the night of July 1, 1791, at the tavern. While there may be symbolic value to the object, this handle also provides us with an excellent example of late 18th century
Another interesting artifact on display is the brownstone door and window lintels of the First National Bank of Westminster building, which was constructed in 1867 at 6 E. Main Street. The building was demolished in 1886, and the three pieces were saved for more than three quarters of a century in the basement of its successor, an impressive Victorian stone structure. The newer building was demolished in 1962 to make way for the construction of the Baltimore Federal Bank building. The history of these pieces tells us volumes about the extent people go to preserve finds from yesteryear.
For anyone curious about discovering more about Carroll County's past, the Historical Society is a fabulous community resource. One way of celebrating the county's birthday would be through a donation to the society's current fund-raising campaign, which has set a goal of $500,000.
The society doesn't receive any government contributions, so it depends on private donations. It is calling the current fund-raising effort the "Legacy Campaign" -- an appropriate name considering the number of people and groups that use its library and materials for everything from genealogical research to historic building preservation. The society needs support to continue protecting and promoting Carroll's heritage and history for many, many birthdays.