State grant to afford historic site a face life Aid awarded in time for bicentennial

September 22, 1995|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Union Mills Homestead Foundation will celebrate its 1997 bicentennial with a newly restored look, paid for by a $100,000 state grant.

The nonprofit foundation will use the money to install new roofing, paint interiors and landscape gardens, said Esther L. Shriver, executive director of the foundation.

Mrs. Shriver and her son James M. Shriver III announced the award at Wednesday's meeting of the Carroll County Tourism Association yesterday.

"I really commend you," said Barbara Beverungen, administrator of the county Office of Tourism. "Grants are not that easy to get."

The Shriver family established the foundation in 1964 to preserve the ancestral home on Littlestown Pike, a few miles north of Westminster.

"The grant will help us preserve the site for the next 200 years," said Mr. Shriver, foundation president.

Mrs. Shriver estimates replacing and repairing leaking roofs will cost about $40,000. The rest of the money will restore rooms in the home and replant gardens.

"We have already learned a lot as we try to reproduce the most authentic look," she said.

She hopes to have all the work completed in time for the bicentennial celebration, which will begin in about 18 months.

"The timing is just wonderful and certainly fits in with our anniversary celebration," Mr. Shriver said. "We are planning to do as much restoration as we can. All the work will enhance the appearance, but not change the structure of any building."

Mrs. Shriver credits Del. Richard N. Dixon, a Carroll Democrat, with helping the museum land the award, which actually is a bond administered by the state Board of Public Works.

"This is a worthy cause," said Mr. Dixon, who chairs the Capital Budget Committee. "I got behind it as soon as I heard about it."

The bond is one of 118 individual bills for similar projects in the state's $390 million capital improvements budget.

"The homestead is an important tourist attraction both in our county and statewide," Mr. Dixon said. "The site also has great historical value. It played a prominent role in the battle of Gettysburg."

Troops en route to the battle camped on the Homestead grounds.

Pam Shriver, a distant relative of the Westminster Shrivers and well-known tennis professional, has volunteered as honorary chairwoman of the Bicentennial Committee, which is organizing the 1997 events.

The committee, led by Harriet Fauntleroy and Jane Sharpe, already is filling the 1997 calendar with a photo exhibit, an art show, guest lectures, an anniversary party in June and a historical pageant to close the season in October.

"We hope to expand on existing events like the annual corn roast and add a few more for the bicentennial," Mr. Shriver said. "Lectures will be on conservation and preservation and what we do as a museum."

The museum is seeking volunteers for its events, Mr. Shriver said.

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