News Column

Celebrating history on multiple fronts

July 27, 2014

By Jacob deNobel, Carroll County Times, Westminster, Md.

July 27--This Saturday, the Taneytown History Museum will shift its focus off of the story of Taneytown and onto itself with a celebration of its 10th anniversary.

The museum is honoring its anniversary with a celebration this weekend, commemorating a decade of bringing Taneytown's heritage to life with free ice cream, historic cars, items and photo opportunities.

Chairman George Naylor said he helped found the museum more than 10 years ago as a way to celebrate the community.

"The Chamber of Commerce was looking to find some sort of project that they could use to bond the members together with," Naylor said. "At the meeting, George Crouse and I said 'maybe we could work on a museum.' They told us to run with it."

The museum launched in August of 2004 at 24 E. Baltimore St. featuring items that honored Taneytown's rural history as well as Civil War items.

Naylor said the group had no experience running a museum, and had to look outside the community for advice.

"We put in a lot of hours in researching and visiting other areas," Naylor said. "Most of the small areas around Carroll County have museums now. So we talked with the people who ran them, we pulled up a lot of things off of the internet, and when anyone would go on vacation, we had them visit other museums."

Event chairwoman Fairy Flickinger said the museum itself has few artifacts in its possession, and instead relies on donations from the community.

Taneytown was founded officially in 1754, when 7,900 acres of land were granted to Edward Diggs and Raphael Taney, for whom the town is named. According to the Carroll County History Project oral history archive, the town was laid out by Taney along Md. 140 and Md. 194, with the oldest building in Taneytown, located at the corner of East Baltimore and Frederick Street, dating back to 1760.

"Taneytown is an old town. People came here around 1735, down out of Pennsylvania," Naylor said. "At the time is was a lot of Germans and people who were looking for religious freedom."

According to the Historical Society of Carroll County, during the Civil War, Taneytown sent 75 soldiers out of their total population of 500 to fight for the Union army. General George Meade, who led the Union troops during the Battle of Gettysburg, was headquartered in Taneytown before the battle; the archive said he planned to fight the Confederate army in the town. In 2003, Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen published an alternate history novel, "Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War," which imagined important Civil War battles occurring in and around Taneytown instead of Gettysburg.

In the late 1800s, Taneytown experienced three drastic changes in a relatively short amount of time. The railroad came through the town in 1871; by 1884, the town was incorporated, creating an official town government, and in 1885 the town gained telephone service.

Some of the most important businesses in the town included the Taneytown Manufacturing Company that manufactured men's suits, the A.W. Feeser Cannery Company and the Cambridge Rubber Company, which produced rubber products used by the troops during World War II.

In the past the museum has featured items from these companies in addition to pieces from 19th century Taneytown craftsmen.

A year and a half ago, the museum had to close down their Baltimore Street location, due to issues with compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Flickinger said an anonymous citizen donated the use of 340 E. Baltimore St. for the museum's purposes. The building is currently undergoing construction to improve its accessibility.

The museum is raising money to aid with the renovations. They're currently looking to raise $54,000 from community donations. Naylor said the current plan is to reopen the museum in March of 2015.

Because the physical location of the museum is currently closed, the event Saturday will take place on the grounds outside, and several pieces of the collection are located at New Windsor State Bank in Taneytown.

Flickinger said it's important to remember your history so you have an idea of where the town is going. She said she's looking forward to when the museum can open its doors to visitors once more.

"I was born and raised here, so Taneytown has a lot of sentiment to me," Flickinger said. "Things have changed considerably over the years. We have grown, but I'm seeing it happen in front of my eyes. I'm sure people who have been away really notice the difference."

If You Go

Reach staff writer Jacob deNobel at 410-857-7890 or

Taneytown History Museum 10th Anniversary Celebration

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday

Where: 340 E. Baltimore St., Taneytown

Cost: Free

For more information or to donate: Visit or call 410-756-2245


(c)2014 the Carroll County Times (Westminster, Md.)

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Source: Carroll County Times (Westminster, MD)

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