New atlas is a guide to history

January 03, 1994|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

Carroll County's newest atlas is for sale, but if you're looking for the latest in development in the county, you'd won't find it in these maps.

The Historical Society of Carroll County has just released a reprint of the popular 1877 "Atlas of Carroll County," originally published by Lake, Griffing & Stevenson of Philadelphia.

"The reprinting of the 1877 atlas has long been a publication of interest to the Historical Society," said Joe Getty, director.

"The Legacy Campaign and the atlas seemed to go together. Instead of asking for a contribution to the Historical Society without any benefits, we thought we could reprint the atlas and offer a way to document history at the same time," he said.

Begun in November 1992, the Legacy Campaign is an effort to raise $500,000 for an endowment fund to support preservation and educational efforts of the Historical Society.

Publication of the atlas, along with a historical supplement by patrons who contributed amounts up to $10,000, has so far raised $225,000 for the endowment fund, Mr. Getty said.

"This 1877 atlas was [an example of] a popular fad of the 1860s and 1870s," Mr. Getty explained. "The publisher could announce the project, solicit the community for patrons to cover the publishing costs and put the book together as a way to generate the cost of the book."

The 1877 atlas includes information about families, businesses, schools and churches, plus population figures for Carroll County, the other Maryland counties, and all the states and territories in -- the United States.

"The patrons of 1877 had their name, the number of acres they owned, their occupation, post office, where they were from and when they settled in Carroll County listed," Mr. Getty said.

A full Carroll County map is included in the atlas, along with maps of the election districts and the downtown areas of towns, a list of patrons by election districts, plus sketches of well-known businesses, homes, farms and public buildings.

Maps showed precisely where a family lived and/or owned property. Compiling such maps today would be virtually impossible.

Looking at the 1877 maps shows how things have changed in 117 years.

"The main difference [that is] easy to distinguish is the way transportation has affected our environment in post offices, schools, general stores and crafts people, which were conveniently located to reach by horseback or walking," Mr. Getty said.

"Anybody familiar with an area of Carroll County can look at the map and recognize basic changes in the character of the neighborhood."

In addition, the 1993 edition has 54 pages of patron ads that offer biographical and historical information on Carroll families and businesses, many with photographs.

"A lot of entries are interesting," Mr. Getty said. "It was enjoyable working with the families and businesses that submitted entries, because they had to figure out what they wanted to record for posterity."

Johnson Graphics of Westminster printed 2,500 copies of the atlas. More than 1,000 copies went to patrons and another 500 were ordered before publication, leaving about 700 available for sale to the public.

The atlas, hardbound and oversized at 11 inches by 14 inches, costs $40. It will be available in local bookstores within a couple of weeks, Mr. Getty said.

Historical Society members may purchase the book from the society at a 20 percent discount.

The Legacy Campaign, which Mr. Getty would like to see continued with histories of various parts of the county, supports educational, research and preservation projects, as well as daily administrative costs of the Historical Society.

With an annual budget of about $120,000, the society relies largely on fund-raisers, grants, memberships, publication sales and donations for its income. County government provides about $15,000 of the society's budget, Mr. Getty said.

Thus, the Legacy Campaign and latest publication.

"As a research tool, we just wanted to make the atlas more widely available to people," Mr. Getty said.

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