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Union Bridge nostalgia day tries to capture history


History can be fleeting, and that's why, for three years, Union Bridge has spent an afternoon every spring recording the town's life through the stories of its residents.

On Sunday, the fourth "Afternoon of Nostalgia" will bring together another round of townsfolk willing to share their experiences and observations on the second-smallest municipality in Carroll County.

"Things are really starting to change here, and we want to preserve the past," said Kathleen D. Kreimer, Union Bridge's clerk-treasurer and a member of the town's Heritage Committee.

"We want to get people involved, to hear the stories and to record them. Everyone should have the opportunity to know what life was like in town years ago."

Union Bridge -- with just over 980 residents -- was founded by farmers before 1776, but wasn't incorporated until 1872. The town grew up around the Western Maryland Railroad, whose 1902 station house still welcomes passengers of Maryland Midland Railway.

The first afternoon of nostalgia, in 1992, was the beginning of the Heritage Committee's drive to stock and manage a town museum. The museum -- to be housed eventually in a

room at the town's newly acquired Union Bridge Water Co. headquarters -- would be a storehouse of mementos, bTC documents, newspaper clippings, oral histories and pictures, Ms. Kreimer said.

The water company building was built in 1904. One of the speakers Sunday is slated to be George Billingslea, a grandson of the water company's founders.

"These stories are just plain fun and interesting to listen to," Ms. Kreimer said.

A lot of attention has been paid to the town's history in recent months. In December, Union Bridge joined Westminster, Sykesville, Uniontown and Taneytown as a member of the National Register of Historic Places.

The town's Main Street area was placed on the register. Recognized for historic significance are an old hotel building, churches, homes, shops and the railroad station.

In its application for inclusion on the register, Union Bridge officials said that the town shows the development of a railroad town in the early 1900s.

The Afternoon of Nostalgia -- which is free -- will begin at 2 p.m. and end at 4 p.m. at the Community Center at 4770 Ladiesburg Road. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, call Town Hall at 775-2711.

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