Carroll County Times

Kevin Dayhoff: Looking back at the curious history of July

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On July 2, 1898, the Democratic Advocate reported, “‘Westminster Items - Childrens’ Flag Parade’: All children wishing to take part in a flag parade on July 4th, will please meet at Winchester place at six o’clock in the evening, where they will be arranged in line. On account of the danger from accident no lighted lanterns will be allowed in the parade.

“Each child is requested to carry a flag. The baby carriage division will bring up the rear. The route of the parade will be Winchester Place to Main street, down Main to Washington avenue, up Main to Carroll street, down Main to Court street, around Court House Square to Main street, to Winchester Place, where they will sing ‘America’ and disband. The parade will be in charge of several ladies who, with the assistance of the larger boys and girls, will marshall the procession. All little boys and girls are cordially invited to participate…”


On July 6, 1923 the Democratic Advocate reported that in Westminster on the 4th of July, “The Fourth of July was celebrated by the [firemen] holding a parade and fete in this city. In the evening at 6:30 o’clock the Westminster band, Westminster, Hampstead and Manchester fire companies formed into line and paraded through our main streets…”

Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 at 66 East Main Street from approximately 1921. Years go in Westminster, the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 hosted an annual 4th of July festival and parade.

A newspaper editorial in the March 28, 1947 issue of the Democratic Advocate, reported that on July 1, 1947 the first Maryland retail sales tax went into effect.


The editorial said, in part: “Gov. Lane does not like taxes either, but as long as you have colleges to take your money … you are to have taxes. But we do need money for our public schools, for our medical centers and surely for road building… The opposition to the sales taxes by our merchants was 100 per cent and feel very blue over the outcome.”

Meanwhile, an article in the Democratic Advocate, June 27, 1947 states, “With the beginning of Governor Lane’s new fiscal program of July 1, Carroll County will start to receive $531,108.73 additional in State revenues annually for the cooperation of its government functions and relief of taxation at the local level.”

Meanwhile in 1947, the newspaper reported that “$532,108.73 is Carroll County’s share of the $20,411,348.18 in additional State revenues to be allocated each year to the political subdivisions of Maryland.

Looking west on Main Street in Westminster Maryland from in front of the old Westminster Fire Hall approximately 1925. Artist – photographer unknown.

“Of the $531,108.73 increase to Carroll County, some of which will be shared by incorporated towns, $338,710.00 is for schools, bringing the total received by the County yearly from the State for this purpose to $739,087.00…

“Additional road funds for Carroll County to be divided among Cities and incorporated towns on a mileage basis total $71,413.30, bringing the State’s yearly allocation for highway purposes to $308,186.71.”

Twenty years earlier, on July 4, 1924, Democratic Advocate carried an article that the Carroll County Commissioners announced a 10-cent increase in the tax rate increase. The rate went from $1.40 to $1.50.

In the article, the commissioners’ claimed that the tax rate “would have been considerably less … if it had not been for the extraordinary expense for the repair or construction of bridges destroyed by floods, about $30,000.00.”

The commissioners also cited “the increase in mandatory items in the school budget, and the Act of the Legislature of 1924, compelling the county to raise annually the sum of $8,000.00 for the volunteer fire companies of the county.”

Goodyear tire store and (Sinclair) gas station on Main Street in Westminster opposite the old Westminster fire station. This photograph dates to perhaps the late 1920s before Sinclair, which sold its gasoline in the day as ‘Betholine,’ changed its marketing platform to that of the famous green ‘Dino,” a massive Apatosaurus dinosaur in 1930.

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Of course, it was in this time period that, according to an article in the Union Bridge Pilot on February 18, 1921: “Teachers’ pay [is] being withheld owing in lack of funds and it appears the county has reached the limit of its credit. A few years ago, comparatively, when taxes were below the dollar mark, we were told that the outlook for a lower rate of taxation was bright. Today the rate is higher than ever, while the county’s treasury is in bad shape.”

The beginning of July in history brings forth a bountiful harvest of interesting news. A few portions of this discussion have been published before because, at my age, I sometimes mumble and repeat myself.

On July 1, 1949, the Democratic Advocate carried an article that said, “The Westminster Kiwanis club will sponsor the first playground program in a series of special events to be held on the Westminster playground for the children.

“The annual bicycle, tricycle, doll carriage and wagon brigade will be a gallant event for the boys and girls of Westminster and will take place on the playground on Tuesday evening, July 5 at 7:30 o’clock.

“The Westminster Kiwanis club will donate three prizes for the best decorated entries in each class. Children are asked to bring their entries to the tennis courts. The judges will be three members of the Kiwanis club: Paul Bonsack, David Scott and Stephen Lerda…”

Meanwhile, the first television advertisement was broadcast in the United States right before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies on July 1, 1941,


At exactly 2:29 in the afternoon, the New York City NBC affiliate, WNBT, aired a 20-second spot for the Bulova Watch Company. Bulova paid $9 for the ad. According to a Bulova history account, the ad simply displayed a Bulova watch over a map of the U.S., with a voiceover of the company’s slogan “America runs on Bulova time!”