Turning back the pages of history

Calendar: The city marks its 250th anniversary with special edition project containing historic images.

December 21, 2003|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The pages include photographs of the Rainbow Skating Rink and Bowling Lanes, the Odd Fellows' junior band and Mr. Riffle the grocer. There's a photo of a Linotype machine from the old Carroll Record, and another of the marquee from the old Earle Theater.

These images of Taneytown's past have been collected for a calendar - timed to mark the big birthday the city plans to celebrate next year.

"It was a project to preserve the history of our city," said Alice Unger, president of the Taneytown Heritage Committee. "We thought this would be a good time to do it, for the 250th anniversary."

Members of the committee conducted interviews and gathered photographs for the calendar.

"We really had a lot of fun doing it, once we got organized," Unger said. "It brought back a lot of old memories."

The committee had lots of help, Unger said, beginning with the initial suggestion by the Maryland Historical Trust and a loan early this year from the Taneytown Chamber of Commerce of almost $3,000 to print 1,500 calendars.

The calendars went on sale last month at several local businesses and the town hall and library for $5 apiece. About half have been sold, and the committee hopes to repay the chamber - and perhaps make a profit.

"I think it's beautiful myself," Taneytown Mayor W. Robert Flickinger said of the calendar.

It opens with a brief written history of the area in northwest Carroll County, beginning in pre-Colonial times when members of the Tuscarora tribe hunted in the area.

It describes the 1754 land patent that will trigger next year's celebration, a documented stop by George and Martha Washington, the birth of Francis Scott Key, Civil War troop movements and the coming of the railroad in 1872.

Unger said the committee wanted to emphasize the 20th-century images that some might remember.

The back page of the calendar shows an arched-roof structure that was built in 1940 and closed in the mid-1970s.

"The Rainbow Roller Rink was where a lot of us spent our time," Unger said, recalling dancing to music on skates under the lights at the Rainbow.

Other photographs include:

The 1918 farm boarding house that became Sauble's Inn, that had, Unger said, "fried chicken that people came from Baltimore for." The calendar's February entry includes recollections by the Saubles' granddaughter Luella Harner that the restaurant once served 1,000 people on Mother's Day - despite a fire in the kitchen - and included among its guests were Maryland Gov. Albert C. Ritchie. The inn closed in 1943.

The old Earle movie theater, with a marquee advertising Sonny Tufts in Easy Come, Easy Go. It had a shirt factory on the upper floor and closed in 1954, according to Shirley Clem, whose late husband was the longtime manager and projectionist.

An aerial shot of the Cambridge Rubber Co., a maker of footwear, canvas, raincoats and foam that employed 1,000 people during World War II - 70 percent of them women, according to George Naylor and George Motter, longtime employees of the plant. There are plans afoot now to redevelop some of the plant, which manufactured its last shoe in 1986.

The grocery store of Albertus G. Riffle from which he made deliveries by horse and wagon. He also was the town fire chief.

Mustachioed members of the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Co., organized in 1897 but without its own firehouse until 1903, according to Howard Welty, a member for more than 60 years.

A Linotype machine, whose lead at first was melted by a coal stove, for one of Taneytown's three newspapers, the Carroll Record (1894-1970). Ross Fair arrived early to fire up the stove and operated the machine for 65 years, according to grandson James Fair.

The Taneytown Junior Independent Order of Odd Fellows Band, in which Heritage Committee member Jean Brown, who played the snare drum during the 1940s, stands in the back row. Former bandleader J. Robert Menschey recalled forming the band in 1935 with beginners from his music store in Hanover, Pa., and its first engagement for a parade in Bruceville.

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