Hampstead's first firehouse -- a landmark at 1214 N. Main St. -- is getting a face lift.
Our generation knows the place as Towne Pride Interiors. Back in 1902, it was Hampstead's firehouse, built to house a company that was formed in 1899. A generation later, it was home to "40 active and 150 volunteers," The Sun reported Jan. 16, 1939.
A week ago, when workmen tore off the siding and signage of the storefront, the raised brickwork letters H.F. Co. No. 1 shone over the door like a forgotten pearl. The second floor once housed a meeting room and an office for town councilmen.
The present firehouse was built a block north of this one in the early 1970s. That's when Ken Wright, the owner of Towne Pride, bought the 1902 firehouse.
"We purchased and remodeled it into a retail showroom," he xTC said. "We've been in the building 18 years. That's the last time it was remodeled. We decided it was time to freshen the look."
The company hired Camlin-Arbaugh & Associates Inc., a Westminster architectural firm, to design a new facade.
"We're going to use a plastered, textured finish called Dryvit," said Mr. Wright. The finish is something like stucco.
He also plans a new sign of free-standing letters. A new sidewalk was poured Friday.
Hampstead's first firemen's carnival was held in 1899. It was so well remembered that in 1939, The Sun reported it was "a great carnival . . . the foundation for what now has become one of the greatest annual carnivals in the East."
Almost a century after that first carnival, people still flock to the Hampstead firemen's carnival, which is Aug. 9-14 this year.
What keeps them returning?
There's entertainment every night. There's plenty of country music -- by Dixie Highway Band on Monday, Freewheeling on Tuesday, Paradise Club on Thursday and Branded on Friday. If Top 40 is your style, come Saturday to hear Eclipse. Keeping small town traditions alive, the century-old Alesia Band will play Wednesday.
The Firemen's Parade begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Paraders will step off at Black Rock Road and Route 88, and turn down Gill Avenue to Main Street. Then it will move north on Main Street to Saint Mark's Lutheran Church, where the floats will leave the parade as the motorized equipment continues to Route 482, West Alley and the Town Parking Lot.
Tuesday and Thursday, you may ride the amusements all night for $7. There are games of skill and chance, including a nickel pitch, bottle toss and miniature golf.
Saturday night is the grand prize raffle drawing of $3,000.
The easiest way to get to the carnival, at 1341 Main St., is by parking at North Carroll High School on Route 482. Shuttle service will be available from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. every night.
Overnight, it seemed, the grounds at Four Seasons sports complex had turned into a moonscape.
"We had a meteor shower," laughed Shelly Fulton at the front desk.
Outdoors, pink boulders, weighing at least several tons each, sat nicely spaced upon the lawn.
"We're actually installing a new sport," Ms. Fulton said. "It's called soccer golf. It's like miniature golf, but you kick the ball around obstacles."
Kevin Bidelspach, owner of Four Seasons, described the game. On 16 acres, you kick a soccer ball between the pink boulders, but try to avoid life-sized silhouettes of soccer players in action.
"I'm actually anxious to try it myself," he said.
The game is intended for family play. He'd like to create a family recreational complex, including miniature golf.
Like miniature golf, in soccer golf the ball must plop into a hole. In this game, the holes are 28 inches wide and 18 inches deep to accommodate soccer balls.
Soccer-golf is the brainchild of Mark Moler, a tennis pro and collegiate soccer player from Hagerstown.
The first balls are expected to be kicked around on the course by Sept. 1.