Three-alarm fire destroys 1879 building in Carroll

Wood-and-stone structure once was train station, post office, general store

March 04, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A three-alarm fire destroyed a historic wood and stone building early yesterday that formerly was the Greenmount train station, post office, general store and granary off Route 30.

The building, used as an antiques and crafts shop between 1983 and 1993, has been vacant since then. Greenmount is just north of Hampstead.

State fire marshals said the fire broke out on the east, or railroad track side, of the building and spread throughout the post-and-beam structure.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, said K. Arthur McGhee, deputy state fire marshal, who estimated the age of the two-story building at about 125 years. He said he had seen an 1880 photograph and said someone else told him it was built in 1879.

An employee of a nearby business reported the fire at 2 a.m. More than 60 firefighters responded from Hampstead, Manchester, Lineboro, Westminster, Reese, Arcadia and Boring in Baltimore County and Pleasant Hills in York County, Pa. The fire was under control in about an hour, fire officials said.

Damage was estimated at $100,000. Firefighters saved a vintage car that was stored in a walk-out basement that had been converted to a garage.

Carroll County Del. Joseph M. Getty, a local historian, said the station adjoined a canning factory and was the center of Greenmount early in the century.

"It was a nice little frame building with a gabled front and a porch." he said. "It was a primary access for Manchester for travel or commercial business, to carry mail, whatever."

He said a hack, a horse-drawn carriage, ran between Manchester and Greenmount, carrying people and products.

"The station served the Manchester community," he said.

Getty said he believes the rail line came through about 1888.

Charles Bevard of Hampstead said the postmaster would stand on the porch and hand mail or messages to the engineers without the train stopping.

Yesterday, a red wooden flag, which was raised as a signal for trains to stop, remained atop a post on the southeast corner of the charred rubble.

CSX owns the tracks and uses them for unscheduled freight traffic between York and Baltimore, Bevard said.

Many years ago, across the tracks from the railroad station and post office -- where the Oakmont Green golf course is now -- was May Belle Dairy, Bevard said.

In its heyday, Greenmount Station was a busy place, with its general store and post office, granary and cannery, he said.

"Trains -- it was called the Old Dutch Line then -- would haul in coal as well as salt for the cattle and haul out canned goods," Bevard said.

The general store was operated for a long time by the Dehoff and Rote families, he said. They sold mainly feed and general merchandise. The basement, which had a dirt floor, was used to store salt and a few supplies, Bevard said.

Carlton Denner, who owns the property with three brothers -- Jeffery, Justus and Jon C. Denner -- said his father, William Justus Denner, bought the property in 1970, mainly because it abutted the corner of his land on Greenmount Station Road.

Denner said he and his brothers would meet to decide what to do with the debris and stone foundation.

Contributing writer Ellie Baublitz provided information for this article.

Pub Date: 3/04/99

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