The Aegis
Harford County

The buildings and their events back in the day [Aberdeen]

How buildings change, or disappear completely, over the years! With the buildings, community events also disappear.

Looking over some of the last items found in the R.L. Mitchell scrapbooks, we found some programs that told a great deal about the life of residents in Aberdeen back in the middle of the last century.


When the old USO building on North Parke Street (now the location of the Aberdeen Municipal Building) was no longer used for the entertainment of the service men and women during World War II, a group of citizens used the vacant building to plan community events at the newly named "Aberdeen Recreation Center."

All larger parties and organizational events were held in the building. Some of them were planned benefits for the ARC building upkeep, and others for the youth of the community. The Aberdeen Community Mart and Hobby Shows were such planned activities.


"The Aberdeen Community Mart and Hobby show, under the auspices of the Aberdeen Room Center, is an incentive to creative endeavor. For those who participate it offers an opportunity for the exhibition of the results of their talents and energies. To the general public, it offers an excellent show. The interest aroused in hobbies, and in community spirit, will prove wholesome and inspirational, so that others may find a helpful hobby," signed, Frank E. Baker, president of the Board of Aberdeen Commissioners.

The first of these shows was held in November of 1948, and continued for some years. A large group of people in Aberdeen sponsored the operation of the building, by contributing their time and money. Purchased by the Town of Aberdeen for a community center, its operation depended on civic-minded men and women. Mrs. Ruth Umbarger was the Director. The Council itself consisted of Mrs. Thomas Colleran, Mrs. William Lindenstruth, Mrs. Margaret Pritchard, Mrs. Oscar Tarring, Charles Kelly, Norman Lee, G. Kessler Livezey, Charles Oliver, Allen Reed, Harold Stark, and J.W. Cronin, Chairman.

Charles W. Willis, Superintendent of Harford County Schools in the 1940s and '50s said, "In our schools, we approve any project which will lead boys and girls to worthwhile use of their leisure time. The development of interest in hobbies is to be encouraged and we are glad that Harford communities are encouraging these interests."

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The ARC Sponsor Group charged $25 a year for a family members, with a New Year's Eve party planned every year.

By 1952, Mrs. Georgia Wagner was director, and council members consisted of Chairman J. Wilmer Cronin, Clark Connellee, Tevis Greenland, Mrs. Samuel Jones, Dundas Leavitt, H. Kenneth Livezey, Samuel Lytle, Mrs. Raymond Mitchell, Mrs. R. Lee Mitchell, William McDowell, Charles Osteen and Mrs. Frank Wright.

Some of the hobbies included model railroads by Harvey Simons and Frank Sirangelo, oil paintings by Mrs. Thomas Carver, Madeline Cox, Mrs. Harry Webster, Jules Counts, Mrs. Tevis Greenland, Romaine Morris, Mrs. Leo Finkelstein, Mrs. Earl Kammerer and Mrs. Lyon Vaiden.

Textile painting by Sally An Galloway; handmade miniature furniture by Mr. Galen Webster; model cars by Roger Ryan, Marshall Johnson and Thomas Osborn. There were handmade decoys by Richard Cronin, and photography by Wylie Hopkins, Mrs. Bing Shelton and Everett Bernstein.

There were handmade doll clothes by Penny Jones, and model ships by Mrs. Royal Fairlamb and Mrs. Majorie Lewis, Mrs. Royal Fairlamb also had souvenirs from South America and Caribbean Islands, Mr. Harold Baker had a display of fire arms. Esther Jaeger had gold thimbles.


The programs had advertisements by Aberdeen Concrete, Charley White Chevrolet, Jamison and Cronin Real Estate, Fidelity Credit, McGrady Appliance Sales, Kunkel Service Co., Lee Buick, and Bel Air Concrete, among many others.

All these programs are kept in organizational files, both current and from years ago, at the Aberdeen Room Archives and Museum for easy reference.