New Windsor 'birthday' party celebrates efforts to preserve town's heritage

October 29, 2011|By Bob Allen

On Saturday, Nov. 5, the town of New Windsor will celebrate two birthdays at a event called "Birthday Celebration at the Crossroads."

The evening celebration will, first of all, mark the 25th anniversary of the incorporation of the nonprofit New Windsor Heritage Committee, which has done much to reawaken an appreciation of the sleepy western Carroll town's rich and vital history.

Then again, a quarter of a century is a mere drop in the bucket, compared to the town's 215-year-long history, which is also being feted. That history stretches all the way back to 1796, when Isaac Atley established the town on the then-busy Old Monocacy Wagon Road, which in its day stretched from Winchester, Va. to Philadelphia.

Frank Batavick, a New Windsor resident and officer in the heritage commission, was instrumental in compiling "History's Crossroads."

He said one of the purposes of the birthday celebration is to introduce newcomers to the greater New Windsor area to the history at their doorstep.

"Since we moved here in 1975, we've gotten two new developments on either side of town, and most of those people just don't know the rich history the town has experienced over the years," Batavick said. "And even many of those who live in the town probably don't appreciate it.

"So what we're trying to do is to introduce or reintroduce these people to the rich history, which dates back to the 1790s. There are just so many wonderful stories to share," he said.

The highlight of the celebration, which will be held at 7 p.m., at the Carroll County Public Library headquarters, will be the premiere of "Time's Crossroads," a new 48-minute video documentary on the town, including its Civil War history.

Bryce Workman, curator of New Windsor's town museum, was deeply involved in the production of the new history documentary film.

"Back in the 1980s, the committee put together a slide show about New Windsor's history, also called 'History's Crossroads,' that was eventually transferred to DVD," Workman said. "Since then, Frank Batavick and I have learned a lot more about the town. This one has a lot more detail.

The evening will also showcase works by local artists that celebrate New Windsor scenes. Awards will also be presented to local students who have turned their creative focus to New Windsor history.

"We're thrilled to have gotten the local schools involved in this event," Batavick said. "For the little ones we've had a poster contest, for the middle schoolers an essay contest, and for the high school students a photography contest, all based on New Windsor history.

"It was a very moving thing to get the kids so involved in the town's history."

Birthday Celebration at the Crossroads will take place at 7 p.m., Nov. 5, in the Community Meeting Room of the Carroll County Public Library headquarters (formerly the old New Windsor Middle School), 1100 Green Valley Road, New Windsor. It is free to the public. For more details, call 410-848-5263. Information on New Windsor's history and about the New Windsor Heritage Committee is available on the organization's Web site:

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