City official embarks on a hunt for leaders from years gone by

Pictures of former mayors being sought for display in renovated City Hall

August 08, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

As Carroll's oldest municipality prepares to celebrate its 250th anniversary this month, Taneytown's clerk-treasurer has embarked upon a quest for images of a dozen mayors who served the city in centuries past, hoping that paintings or photographs lurk in area attics.

Linda M. Hess, who started in her job 29 years ago when Neal W. Powell was mayor, would like to display pictures of all the mayors in the new council chambers. City Hall, which dates in part to 1903, reopened in April after an eight-month renovation.

Hess said the city has pictures of the six most recent mayors and of the first two: Josiah Adelsperger, who served from 1885 to 1887; and Dr. F.H. Seiss, mayor from 1887 to 1889 and 1903 to 1906.

"We're looking for mayors from 1888 to 1944," Hess said.

Mayor W. Robert Flickinger, who was mayor from 1978 to 1979 and 1995 to 1999, and was elected again last year, said, "We've got to get a couple more of the old-timers."

Photographs of these former mayors, with dates of service provided by Hess, are among the missing:

James Reindollar (May 1888--September 1888)

H. D. Mehring (1889-1897)

Dr. Motter (1897-1903)

Edward Kemper (January 1903-May 1903)

S.H. Mehring (1906-1907, 1908-1914)

C.A. Elliott (1907-1908)

J.A.P. Garner (1914-1915)

Judson Hill (1915-1919)

Elvin Dern (1919-1920)

A.J. Ohler (1920-1928)

Maurice Dutterar (1929-1934)

Norville P. Shoemaker (1934-1944)

Many of their descendants live in the area, Hess said.

Across the street sits another project that sent residents to their attics: a museum recently installed on the first floor of the 1887 Taneytown Bank, which the City Council voted in December to let the Chamber of Commerce use free for a year.

The museum's grand opening will be from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 15, said George W. Naylor, a chamber member who serves on the planning and zoning commission and was a councilman for 20 years. The museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day of the celebration week beginning Aug. 21, and later in the day, if it can find volunteers.

"It's a nice display of Taneytown artifacts - only things related to Taneytown," Naylor said. After museum organizers asked for memorabilia earlier this year, he said, "We had a lot of people who let us know they had things to look at."

"We have a real Smithsonian up here," he said.

The display includes Revolutionary War-era muskets, clocks, boundary stones from the 1700s and photographs, said Donna Sako, executive director of the chamber.

The photographs reveal a thriving Taneytown, she said.

"It's amazing how bustling Taneytown was: It was a big metropolis, with gunsmiths, clockmakers, pharmacies, diamond stores, theaters," she said. "There was a lot to do in past centuries in Taneytown."

The city's celebration committee is planning many activities for its weeklong 250th birthday, which begins with a fireman's breakfast and a 1 p.m. parade Aug. 21. Music; crafts; games; a time capsule; an ice cream social and cake walk; Revolutionary War, Civil War and World War II re-enactors; a car show and a heritage walking tour are among the events.

Fireworks will mark the finale Aug. 28. That evening, the city fathers' months-long beard-growing contest will be judged.

About 20 contestants, known as the Brothers of the Brush, will compete in one of two categories: the clean shaven and pre-existing facial hair.

"I'm not a fast beard grower," the formerly clean-shaven Flickinger said last week at home, as he headed off to be fitted for a George Washington costume for Aug. 27's Fashion Show of the Decades event.

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