Carroll groups celebrate major anniversaries in 2017

Carroll groups celebrate major anniversaries in 2017
Alec Rosinski scoops ice cream at Hoffman's Home Made Ice Cream in Westminster Thursday, June 22, 2017. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

As Carroll County celebrated 180 years of existence a number of organizations, businesses and schools have also celebrated major anniversaries in 2017. Throughout the year, The Times has been there for each of these major celebrations.

Hoffman’s Home Made Ice Cream 70 Years

When Hoffman's Home Made Ice Cream first opened its doors 70 years ago, visitors to the Westminster ice cream parlor could spend a quarter and walk out with ice cream cones featuring each of the four flavors they then offered to the public — chocolate, vanilla, caramel and cherry pineapple — and get a nickel back.


Now, 70 years later, its selection has expanded to include 40 flavors, as well as ice cream cakes, sandwiches milkshakes and more.

Bob Hoffman has been there for every one of the company's 70 years, working in the shop, owned by his parents, at the age of 14 on its first day open in June of 1947. At the time, the shop had a single ice-cream cabinet and a few tables along the side, as well as an ice cream machine that made ice cream 6 quarts at a time.

Over the years, four generations of Hoffmans have worked at the shop, with the fifth currently being groomed to step behind the counter when they come of age. Bob ran the shop until 1998 when he passed it down to his children, Linda Crabbs and Lori Shamer, who own the store today.

The store very nearly didn't open at all in 1947, as the building burned down just before the planned opening in March. Hoffman said within three months, they had rebuilt the shop and were ready to open their doors and offer up their frozen treats.

Over the years, Shamer said business has continued to grow. Today, Hoffman's employs about 40 part-timers and a half-dozen full-time workers. On summer nights, it can take five employees to keep up with the demand for ice cream.

"It's family oriented, so people respond to that, but it's also a tradition," Crabbs said. "You can always find somebody to buy ice cream, and the big organizations can't put us out of business like they do with hardware stores."

Carroll Theatre 80 Years

When the theater first opened, the Times reported on the building’s yellow tile brick finish, marble-style lobby, “salmon-rose” seats and “beautiful” curtains and cyclorama, calling the projection room “one of the most modern in the state” with “every up-to-date appliance for correct projection and sound.”

The Carroll Theatre lasted just more than 50 years, closing in 1988 in the face of competition from the multiple screens opened at the newly created Cranberry Mall. By then, the theater had been taken over by the R/C Theatres chain, which also operated screens in Eldersburg, at the time, charging $4.50 a ticket. In a story titled “Carroll to get more choices at the movies” in a Dec. 28, 1987, edition of the Carroll County Times, R/C President Scott Cohen said he wasn’t worried about the competition of additional screens in Westminster

“It’s survival of the best. I’m not going to say we’re better than anybody else but we’re offering a good product,” he was quoted as saying.

He added, “We welcome the competition.”

By the end of 1988, the Carroll Theatre had closed.

The theater was given second life when it reopened as the Carroll Arts Center in April 2003. In the interim, the Church of the Open Door used the space for church productions and extra space. According to Sandy Oxx, executive director of the Carroll County Arts Council, it was the city of Westminster that reached out to them to purchase the space.

Much of the original design was restored on the theater’s exterior and lobby, while the initial seat count was reduced from 850 to 263 in order to make room for galleries, classrooms and more.

McDaniel College 150 Years

Only 30 years after the creation of the county came the founding of Carroll’s first college, Western Maryland College. In October, the school held a celebration of their 150 years in the community with a large birthday celebration held during their homecoming game.

McDaniel's 150th Birthday

Throughout the day alumni from the past 60 years of graduates returned to the quad they formerly called home, reminiscing about the buildings, classes and friendships that formed over the decades. Some brought new families along, showing them the school for the first time, while others strolled the grounds with the same friends and significant others they made while attending the college.

Franklin Caplan, of Key Biscayane, Florida, graduated from the school in 1977. He said it had been 25 years since he had last stepped foot on campus.

“It looks beautiful, and I have this feeling of being rooted being back here,” Caplan said. “I feel like Scarlett O’Hara going back to Tara.”

One of McDaniel’s most prized and longest-running traditions is that of tailgating before its football games, and through the combination of the 150th birthday celebration and the homecoming game, hundreds came out with grills, tents and friends in tow to party before the game began.

Current senior Noel Nunnermacker, who was out hours before the game, began talking with her friend, fellow senior Sarah Rasch, as Rasch grilled hot dogs for their entire group.

Despite their impending graduation, Nunnermacker insisted it wouldn’t be their last McDaniel tailgate. When asked what they would be doing for McDaniel’s 200th anniversary party, she responded, “We’ll be back, and we’ll still be tailgating.”

Memorial Day Parade 150 Years

While Memorial Day is often marked by sales, cookouts and beach days, Carolyn Baker, past state commander of the Maryland American Legion, reminded people the holiday is about remembering the men and women who died while protecting the country."Our freedom demands we remember not just on the days that are convenient but everyday," Baker said.

Baker read the six names of Carroll County residents who lost their lives in recent military operations. There were also 18 residents who died in the Vietnam conflict and 88 who died in World War II, she said.


Baker told those at the service that they needed to remember and think of the families and friends of fallen soldiers because they also carry the scars of combat. People cannot bring fallen soldiers back, but they can still be there for families by offering a shoulder to cry on or listening, she said.

"As Americans, we need to be there for all of them," Baker said.

For Westminster, Memorial Day also means tradition. The parade was started two years after the holiday was created and is one of the longest running Memorial Day parades in the country.

Carroll County 180 Years

About 50 to 60 people came out to Grace Lutheran Church in Westminster to hear Union Mills Homestead's Sam Riley present on one of Carroll County's pioneering families, the Shrivers, and the political debates of their times.

David Shriver, whose sons would build the mill that is still operational at Union Mills Homestead, was a revolutionary legislator and politician, serving as a delegate to Maryland's Constitutional Convention in 1776, according to Riley's presentation. There, Shriver was among a group of delegates interested in expanding voting rights by removing the requirement that men own land in order to vote and in limiting lawyers' fees, positions that led Charles Carroll, Carroll County namesake and signer of the Declaration of Independence, to label them “radicals.”

“The ultimate irony of the whole thing is that Carroll County is named after Charles Carroll, who was the most aristocratic member of the Revolutionary era and was Catholic,” Riley said in an interview after his talk. “You have this area that was, for the most part, simple farmers, German-speaking people, and Charles Carroll was anathema to most of them.”

In the wake of a fractious political campaign season, it was interesting to reflect on the fractious history of Carroll County itself on its 180th birthday, said Tom Gordon III, a member of the Historical Society of Carroll County Board of Trustees.

“People understand that Carroll was formed out of Baltimore and Frederick [counties], but there were various components and people and individuals that wanted it formed and there are various people that were against it,” Gordon said. Manchester did not want Westminster to be the county seat, they wanted no part of it.”