Carroll County Times

Carolyn Scott: Museum offers glimpse of history

A week or so ago I read in this paper about the closing of the Taneytown Museum due to a handicapped accessibility issue. As I live only five miles away and pass through Taneytown frequently, but had never visited the museum, I figured I'd better get up there.

The State Highway Department's Streetscape project, which continued for several years, took a real toll on the businesses along Baltimore Boulevard. There were many empty store windows. A few struggled through, including the museum.


Now that the streets are lovely and wide with improved sidewalks and more traffic lights making getting around safer, things should improve. Already the shopping center has a renovated supermarket and a department store has moved in.

There are new parking meters that operate in a unique fashion. There is one meter for each two spaces. A button indicating left or right must be pushed before entering your 50 cents for an hour. I guess the town fathers are paying for the meters with the fees. (The best parking deal is in Union Bridge, where it was 10 cents per hour the last time I was there.)


After parking, I sat in the car for a few minutes to take in the building across the street. The date 1887 was inscribed in the triangular peak. It had been beautifully restored, as had other buildings along the street. They all sported unique architecture common in that era.

Also common at that time, the front doors were almost at street level. The museum's entrance had a slight ramp to the door.

I was greeted at the door by three of the volunteers. Upon entering, I saw one of the accessibility problems. There were two steps to the main floor.

To my left was a small office that had been the Visitor's Bureau which must also now close. The Bureau was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, which had been housed next door, but which now will also go.

My guides told me that the building had been erected as the Taneytown Savings Bank, which later became the 1st National Bank of Taneytown.

The first object to catch my eye was a stone pillar that had been unearthed when the Mason Dixon Line was re-surveyed. It was one of the originals.

Everything in the museum is on loan from those interested in preserving the heritage of the area. History was made in and around this small town, which is loaded with opportunities for those with enough vision to see it and the courage to carry it through.

The city owns the building and has been supportive of the effort to tell the tale of Taneytown's past.


I found the items displayed appropriately and well-marked, but also appreciated the information provided by the guides. There are 60 of these volunteer guides. Decisions are made by an administrative committee of 15. There are no paid employees.

Taneytown had its own weekly newspaper from 1894 to 1975. Examples of it and print trays were on display.

The next small room held items associated with milk. There were two milking machines invented by a gentleman in Keymar and patented in 1892. One used a pump system and the other incorporated a seat and pedals.

There was a switchboard from the old Cambridge Rubber Company, which had employed hundreds. It was proud of its visit from General Eisenhower. Many of his World War II soldiers had marched in those boots.

The Taneytown Manufacturing Company produced beautiful products, some of which were also on display. They had been suppliers for the Colts.

On the way to the second floor we walked beside a chairlift which had been installed as the building was used for a human resources office at one point.


Most of the second floor was an open room telling the story of the Civil War as it related to Taneytown. About 40,000 Union troops passed through this burg on their way to Gettysburg. General Meade had his headquarters right outside of town, and various buildings were used as lookout points and signal towers.

There was so much more and it will be a shame to have to lose it if other quarters can't be found.

A parking lot in the back, including a handicapped spot, allows access up a pre-existing ramp. A handicapped restroom is, of course, inside.

The argument has been made that these accommodations are not good enough. It's true that I don't have to use them, but I have family and friends who do need them and would be happy to see the museum before it is dismantled.