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Pages from Past: Fire companies' actions prevented blaze from spreading to Catonsville lumber yard in 1938

An article in the March 25, 1938 edition of The Catonsville Herald and Baltimore Countian reported on a serious blaze causing heavy loss in Catonsville.

Fire of undetermined origin was discovered at about three o'clock Thursday morning in the rear of three one-story brick buildings in the 700 block of Frederick Avenue, Catonsville, occupied by the American Stores, the Monumental 5c and 10c Store and receivers for the Ashman Department Store. Before the blaze was brought under control two hours later by five county fire companies, the interiors of all three stores had been gutted, the stocks of merchandise completely destroyed by flames, smoke and water, and the roofs of the buildings burned away.

Catonsvilles' two regular fire companies, aided by the Pikesville, Woodlawn and Halethorpe companies, turned in an efficient job in preventing the flames from spreading to the large frame buildings and lumber yard of the John S. Wilson Company, which adjoins the burned buildings. Streams of water were played constantly on the sides and roof of the Wilson building.

The fire, which suddenly burst into roaring flames at about 3 A.M., is believed to have been smoldering in the rear of the Ashman store for some time before it was discovered.


Funeral services for Mrs. Georgietta Virginia Bealle, known as Relay's "Grand Old Lady", were held on Wednesday with the largest funeral cortege ever seen in Relay attesting to the esteem in which she has been held for many years. Mrs. Bealle died at the home of her sister, Emily F. Bealle, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 21, at 1:30 P. M.

Mrs. Bealle was seventy-eight years of age and had spent forty years of her life in Relay, having moved there in 1898 with her husband and three small children. She was one of the most active promoters of the old St. John's Episcopal Mission, and took the lead in developing the mission into a full-fledged church. She was president of the Women's Guild of the church for twenty years and took the most important parts in every function which financed the institution into its present status.


The presence of what they term a "duckpond" on one side of Oregon Avenue and Sulphur Spring Avenue, Arbutus, was protested by residents of the community, through the Arbutus Community Association, to the State Roads Commission.

Complaint against the alleged "nuisance" was reported this week by Joseph A. Stock, president of the Association. He said that much of the business section of the community is located in the block. Some months ago street car tracks were removed from one side of Oregon Avenue, allowing recent rains to settle in the excavated portion of the highway. Due to lack of drainage, the water has become stagnant. It is impossible to park cars on the wet side of the highway, Mr. Stock said, thus causing inconvenience and frequent traffic jams. The complaint was directed to Nathan L. Smith, chief engineer of the State Roads Commission.


50 Years Ago

An article in the March 28, 1963 edition of the Herald Argus and Baltimore Countian announced a new home for a local group.

Catonsville Post No. 25, the American Legion has purchased the property at 116 Mellor avenue near the Armory for use as a post home, according to Allen C. Huddleston, Sr., post commander.

By having permanent headquarters, Commander Huddleston believes that post meetings will be better attended.

During a trying period of years Post No. 25 has maintained its identity, and now with a new home looks forward confidently to new increases in membership and in service to the entire community.


Baltimore county's Fire Marshal, Louis Christian Maisel, Sr., 65, a native and lifelong resident of Catonsville, died on Tuesday, March 26, at his home, 500 Ingleside avenue following an illness of several months.

Maisel was one of eight children of Frederick Maisel, a builder, and Catherine Moore Maisel, who came here from Ireland. His paternal grandparents came from Bremen, Germany and settled on Ingleside avenue.

In his youth, he played semi-pro baseball until a pitched ball put him out of action. He first followed his father in the building trade and studied architectural drawing and blueprinting at Maryland Institute at night. He was a construction superintendent of a large contracting firm for eleven years before entering the county Fire Bureau as a firefighter. He was stationed at Catonsville.


In an accident while three teen-agers were playing, one of them with his father's gun, a 14-year-old Catonsville boy was fatally shot last Friday evening, March 22 in a home in the 1100 block of Ingleside avenue.

Edward O. Piechowiak of 928 Bardswell road, Westview Park was removed in the Catonsville ambulance to the Lutheran Hospital where he died at about 1 o'clock Saturday morning.

According to police, Piechowiak and the other boys, both aged 16, were talking about guns and one of them got his father's gun, aimed at a spot on the wall and fired.

Piechowiak was half lying on the bed, his head against the wall. The shot missed the spot and entered the boy's head at the right temple.

100 Years Ago

An article in the March 29, 1913 edition of The Argus remarked on a well-known figure's misfortune.

Bernard McCann, for more than 25 years doorkeeper at the Spring Grove State Hospital, fell several days ago at the institution fracturing his left arm between the wrist and elbow. Mr. McCann is one of the oldest employees of Spring Grove and is well known among the visitors at the hospital during the past quarter of a century.


Complaints are being made to the Catonsville police by residents of suburban homes about boys gunning for blackbirds and firing guns on their lawns. Several residents of Oak Forest Park stated that the boys had fired directly under their windows, endangering their lives. Patrolmen Peters and Stevens are making an investigation.


The members of the baseball committee of the Catonsville Volunteer Hose Company are making preparations for the opening of the season at Diehlman's Park. The first game is scheduled for April 13, with the Belford Yanigans, one of the best amateur teams of the city, and the firemen will have to display some of their fine work, as exhibited last season, to carry off the honors of the opening contest.


Dorothy, the 2-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Fischbach, was taken to the Presbyterian Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital Wednesday afternoon for an affection of her right eye.

The child was seated at the window in the kitchen of the home on Winters avenue Sunday afternoon watching a ball game in the yard between her sisters and several of their friends. The ball struck the window pane in front of the child, scattering glass in all directions. It is thought that a piece of the flying glass struck the child in the eye and it has become badly irritated. The child underwent an examination at the hospital.

Material from archives courtesy of the Catonsville Historical Society.

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