Blossoming Dutterer park is florist family's legacy


August 02, 1999|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THROUGHOUT THIS year, I have watched the Dutterer Family Park blossom with grandeur like the flowers that once filled the field owned by the Dutterer family.

First came the ball fields and then a walking path that weaves around the 6 1/2 acres. Then came the play equipment, the new trees and the park benches.

In April, brick columns and a wrought-iron arch heralding "Dutterer Family Park" appeared, followed by wooden signs that document a little of Westminster's past as well as a tribute to the park's future.

"Stewart and Edna Dutterer began their flower business in 1919. Cut flowers and plants were grown on this site by the family and distributed throughout Maryland and neighboring states," one sign reads. "Through the generations, the retail shop continues to serve the beauty of flowers to Carroll County."

Dutterer Family Park is "dedicated to the Dutterer Family, employees, community and especially to Stewart and Edna Dutterer for their vision and perseverance through the years," the second sign states.

Located on Monroe Street near West Middle School, Dutterer Family Park looks complete, but there is much more to come, said Ron Schroers, director of city parks and recreation.

"We are looking forward to a gazebo with bathrooms and a concession stand," Schroers said. "This is a showcase park, and it has taken a whole consortium of people to make it happen. I love taking an area of weeds and trees and making something out of it."

Initially, a 75-unit housing development was planned for the property, but the Dutterers' daughter, Eileen Dutterer Gist, decided she wanted to give something back to the community, especially the children on Pennsylvania Avenue.

"When I had children and lived on Pennsylvania Avenue, there was no place to play except in the backyards," said Gist. "I have always dreamed of giving all the people on that end of town, young and old, a place to go."

Many of the residents on the west end of town have worked, or still work, for Dutterers florist -- Stewart N. Dutterer Flower Shop Inc. -- which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.

"So many people worked for my grandparents over the summer, or for the business over the years -- full and part time," said Gist's daughter, Lori Graham, who is the office manager for the family business. "This park is in honor of them and my family history."

A circle of magnolia trees at Dutterer Family Park reminds Graham of the family lore that her grandmother planted a magnolia tree behind the shop after her sister, Jalna, was born.

"Now the magnolias at the park are in honor of Stewart and Edna Dutterer as well as my father, Emerson Welsh, and other family members who died several years ago," Graham said.

"I hope I'm here 15 years from now to enjoy the shade trees," said Gist. "For now, it gives me joy to see people roller-blading and walking around the park at all times of the day. The park has a special place in my heart."

Box it and drop it

If you are looking for a good reason to clean out the attic, basement or garage, The Shepherd's Staff has one.

The community outreach center wants folks to box stuff and drop it off at the Shepherd's Staff office at 30 Carroll St., between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Saturday.

One hour later, volunteers hope people will stop by the parking lot, enjoy lunch and buy a bunch.

The fun will last until 5 p.m., rain or shine. Items will be as low as 25 cents and no higher than $25. Information: 410-857-5944.

Lisa Breslin's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 8/02/99

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