12 homes and gardens covering 3 centuries of history will be open for touring


The annual Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage will come to Carroll County on Wednesday, with its tours of 12 homes and gardens spanning three centuries of architecture and design.

The pilgrimage will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine.

Tickets are $20 for the full tour or $5 for a single home. They may be purchased in advance through the pilgrimage headquarters or on the day of the tour at any house visited.

Proceeds from the Carroll County leg of the six-county pilgrimage will be used to replace and repair the shake roof on Bark House, a blacksmith and carpenter shop at Union Mills Homestead. The project was chosen because of the preparation needed for the Homestead's bicentennial celebration in 1997.

A buffet lunch will be offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Wakefield Valley Golf Club. Reservations are needed by today. For information, call 876-8787.

Ginny Wright, chairwoman of the Carroll tour, has opened her Hampstead home to the tour four times.

"You want everything just absolutely perfect," said Mrs. Wright as she prepared her house.

"It gets you organized for the summer. It's early for the gardens, but you have to get the plantings in. Any refurbishing you plan to do during the year, well, you whip into action and get it done.

"The people who go on these tours are your soul mates. They are interested in the same things you are interested in, architecture and gardens."

Each participating county offers something different in the way of architecture. Carroll's older farm homes are influenced by Pennsylvania architecture, she said.

In past years, the tour has generated 400 to 500 visitors.

"We pray for a good day," she said. "We have always had a good sunshiney May day. Otherwise, you have rolls of plastic you unroll on the floors."

The Carroll leg of the tour will include:

* Huntingfield, in Hampstead, a bank-style log home situated on a 350-acre thoroughbred horse farm. The home was built in the early 1800s and restored in 1968 by owners Frank and Ginny Wright.

* Red Brick Farm, in Millers, a brick home circa 1854. Owned by Carroll and Norma Jean Swam, it has some of its original features such as moldings, doors and random-width flooring. A stone barn and a German "four-square" vegetable garden will be highlighted.

* Kroh Farm, in the Manchester-Lineboro area, a traditional Pennsylvania German structure built in the early 19th century with Civil War era renovations. It is owned by Justus and Sally Denner, who entered the tour as a testament to restoring old houses. The property also includes a bake oven-smokehouse and a summer kitchen.

* Living Faith Farm, in Westminster, home to Dan and Belle Fangmyer. The home, built in 1827, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The fully restored brick structure boasts 10 fireplaces and two beehive ovens. A 1775 log cabin from Middleburg, Pa., was reconstructed to provide a home for the Mrs. Fangmyer's father.

* Friendship Valley Farm, in Westminster, built in 1795 by Joshua Gist, brother of Gen. Mordecai Gist and nephew of Christopher Gist, George Washington's guide through the northern wilderness. The property remained in the Gist family until 1938. On the grounds is Bell House, with local legend proclaiming that its tower bell contains hidden gold. The home is owned by Nick and Carole Samios.

* Western Maryland College's President's House and Baker Chapel, in Westminster. The 12-room Queen Anne Revival-style home was designed by Jackson Gott of Baltimore and built by Joseph Wolfe of Uniontown. It also is on the National Register of Historic Places.

* Baker Chapel, often referred to as "little Baker," which features an octagonal sanctuary, four stained-glass windows, a pipe organ and antique oak furnishings. The church is in its 100th year.

* 287 Bell Road, in Westminster, home of J. Brooks and Susan Leahy. Built in 1990, the home features a contemporary floor plan with transitional architecture. It contains antiques and contemporary furnishings.

* 2839 Uniontown Road, in Westminster, an 18th century two-story log home located at the edge of a 63-acre working farm. Owned by Walter and Mary Ellen Bay, the floor plan is a rendition of the layout William Penn suggested to those settling the frontier. Collectibles and family heirlooms grace the home. A log cabin summerhouse turned guest house, built in 1830, was moved to its current location on the property shortly after the Civil War.

* Robert Dodd House, in Westminster, a federal style town home owned by Jerry Trescott. It has period details such as a side hall floor plan, neoclassical parlor mantel and colors original to the house. The 1813 structure houses a growing collection of Baltimore classical furniture and Pennsylvania primitives.

* 3476 Uniontown Road, in Westminster, home of Nick and Chris Vincent. It was built in 1807-1810, and has additions from 1848 and 1910. Cross Keys Tavern operated in the original portion of the home from 1816 to 1842 and a general store was there from 1816 to 1942.

* Bellenden, 2611 Old Taneytown Road, near Tyrone, is the last house on the tour. The home of Dr. Robert and Carolyn Scott was completed in 1983. It features solar panels on the roof, antiques, contemporary furnishings and a wine cellar that houses Bellenden Vineyard wines, which began in 1992.

The homeowners and organizers ask tour participants not to wear high heels or smoke while touring.

No pets, food or drinks are allowed in the homes and no photographing of the interiors is permitted.

For ticket information, call 821-6933 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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