THEY CAME, THEY SAW, they planted.
Members of the Carroll Garden Club, boys from Bowling Brook School in Middleburg and volunteers from Union Bridge turned out on the last day of September to dig in the dirt and plant dozens of perennials around the new Town Hall.
Their efforts marked the first phase of landscaping that will set the scene for summertime ice cream socials, beautify the entrance and, eventually, welcome visitors to a new town museum, which will be adjacent to Town Hall on Locust Avenue.
The landscaping project is a natural outgrowth of the town funding committee's efforts to keep the cost of town government down.
The committee's effort to reduce the mortgage on Town Hall is almost legendary -- through pancake breakfasts, ice cream socials and other fund-raising events, the committee has reduced the mortgage on the building without spending a single tax dollar.
Union Bridge residents such as Jo Israelson and Elaine Holmes, Town Hall funding committee chairwoman, keep the energy high for such projects.
Ms. Israelson says, "If you want something done, do it yourself, with the help of others."
She solicited perennial plants and flowers from townspeople, expecting to recruit folks to plant them in an informal fashion on Town Hall property one day this fall.
When the Carroll Garden Club got hold of the idea, the landscaping plan went professional -- the Carroll gardeners' president, Mary Ellen Bay, designed a three-phase plan for the site, with garden club members and others doing the labor.
The spirit of the outdoor design compliments the mood of the interior of Town Hall. Ms. Holmes led me through the building, pointing out the old map of Carroll County, paintings by Union Bridge portrait artist Richard Eichman, and curtains and flower arrangements made by residents.
The simplicity of the design of the structure, with its wood doors and brass hardware, echo the old architecture of Union Bridge homes and shops.
The garden will enhance the hall, with old-fashioned perennials, a shade garden, brick pathways and a patio.
The efforts of many people pulling together for a common cause ring with a Norman Rockwell flavor that many communities would envy. The students from Bowling Brook removed rocks and worked the soil, homeowners lent their tools for the effort, Elwood Myers of Jubilee Foods provided snacks, Dennis Bowman of Big Spring Farm donated and delivered compost; Lehigh Portland Cement Co. will provide a backhoe and dirt for the patio.
"It's amazing what you can accomplish with volunteers," Ms. Holmes said.
Darrell Robertson, a student at Bowling Brook who worked on the project for two weekends, sees a bigger picture.
"This is going to be history pretty soon, and I'll be a part of this. I'll come back in a couple of years and see what I did."
The garden needs mulch, a rotary tiller, rod cutters, and more. If you want to help, contact Ms. Holmes, 775-7017, Ms. Israelson, 775-1093 or Ms. Bay, 848-1015.
Church anniversary scheduled
St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Uniontown may be one of the prettiest churches in the county, and for the past few weeks it has been getting a face lift.
The building is being scraped, painted and spruced up in time for the church's 125th anniversary celebration. St. Paul's Lutheran Church had its beginning in October 1870 when it called its first pastor, John F. Diener, and became the seventh church in the Uniontown area.
The congregation will take a trip down memory lane for seven Sundays, as it worships in the historic building and uses replicas of the Lutheran Church Book printed in 1868. On Sunday, members will dress in Victorian clothing to create the atmosphere of the times when the church was founded.
Other celebrations include guest preaching by Bishop George Mocko and the Rev. Morris G. Zumbrun, bishop emeritus.
Worship services begin at 11 a.m. at the church at 3330 Uniontown Road. Information: 840-9019.
Raffle for groceries
Just in time for the holidays -- a $600 spending spree at Jubilee Foods in Union Bridge.
You can buy a raffle ticket for $1 in hopes of winning the prize sponsored by the Marine Corps League of Carroll County and Jubilee Foods.
If you win the prize, but don't want to race through the store loading a shopping cart, you can choose $300 cash instead.
Raffle tickets are available at Jubilee Foods in Union Bridge or from David Bennett, 3481 Uniontown Road. The drawing will be held Nov. 16 at the store (you need not be present to win); the spree is held two days later.
The raffle raises money for charitable projects sponsored by the league. The 6-month-old Carroll County League is the fastest growing league in the country, Mr. Bennett says.
Reminders: Open house at the old Elmer Wolfe Elementary School will be held Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Information: 775-7892.