Eagle Scout project on right track


April 09, 2002|By Debra Taylor Young | Debra Taylor Young,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LOOKING FOR a project to achieve Eagle Scout, Mike Shenk Jr. placed a call to Sykesville Gate House Museum of History.

Mike, 16, a member of Boy Scout Troop 735 in Gamber, thought that he could clear brush that had grown around the museum or tackle other unfinished chores.

His request yielded an interesting project.

Museum curator/archivist Jim Purman told Mike about efforts to clear a spur of a railroad track from the former Sykesville train station to Springfield Hospital Center.

The track was called the "Dinky" line and used to transport coal and supplies to the hospital.

Purman asked Mike to help to earn his Eagle Scout rank - Scouting's highest. Scouting officials approved Mike's project - which, besides helping clear the track, includes making a permanent sign about the Dinky line for display at the museum and an informational brochure about the line.

During the 64 years the Dinky line was in use, the hospital purchased three engines that pulled up to 15 rail cars filled with goods up the unusually steep grade to the hospital. The trains replaced four- and six-horse teams that had transported the goods.

The 3 1/2 -mile track was used from 1908 to 1972. The track was never removed and was overgrown with brush.

Town residents began clearing the track behind the museum in December, and it was decided that the track from the museum to Route 32, an eighth of a mile, would be used as a historic walkway. Much of the track is no longer accessible and runs through private property and under paved roads, Purman said.

On Saturday, Mike and 20 other Scouts, parents and family members spent the day clearing brush, cutting down trees that had grown in and around the tracks, and removing stumps. Mike Shenk Sr. said Sunbelt Rentals in Finksburg donated a chipper for the day, which the group used to chip trees and stumps.

The workers filled two pickup trucks full of chipped wood for removal, and left a load of wood chips for use around the museum.

Although Mike Jr. and his crew did not finish as much as they wished that day, they enjoyed the work.

The group will return Saturday to finish clearing. They also intend to mow along the tracks to create a greenway.

The teen-ager said he would contact Annie Werner, curator of Springfield Hospital Center Museum, to learn more about the Dinky line and to gather information for a report that will be part of his project.


Liberty High School Drama Boosters will present the musical production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and April 18, 19 and 20.

"We expect to sell out because of the play's broad appeal to people of all ages," said Linda Powers, a member of Liberty High School Drama Boosters.

Including the orchestra, crew and cast, 103 students are involved in the production, said Harry Langmead, assistant director.

Leading roles will be played by: Jennie Beck, 17; Philip Grapes, 16; Caitlyn James, 17; Kelley Green, 16; Shannon Wilson, 15; Brandon Pluim, 17; Maggie Mintzer, 17;, and Kristen Williamson, 17. Kathy Schnorr and Cathy James are directing with Langmead. Joseph Fischer will conduct the orchestra.

A performance also will be held at 2 p.m. April 20.

Tickets are $5 at the door and $4 in advance. The school is at 5855 Bartholow Road.

Information: 410-751-3560.

Thelma Wimmer Day

Sykesville Gate House Museum of History celebrated Thelma Wimmer Day on Sunday with a luncheon, birthday cake, door prizes and performance by the Children's Chorus of Carroll County.

Wimmer is the historian for Sykesville and recently celebrated her 93rd birthday.

Many artifacts in the museum are items that she donated.

She and her husband, Wilbur, moved to Sykesville in 1936. She became a member of the newly formed Women's Club and joined the Town Council.

Kari Greenwalt, assistant curator, said the event honoring Wimmer grows larger each year.

Debra Taylor Young's Southeast neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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