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Westminster tour to open doors to historic buildings Annual event proceeds to benefit Carroll rape crisis service


Seven historic Westminster buildings will be opened to the public Oct. 15 for the second annual Westminster Harvest House Tour to benefit Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County.

The tour will include four Victorian homes more than 100 years old, Union Street United Methodist Church and the President's House and Peterson Hall on the campus of Western Maryland College.

Crafts by members of Carroll County Crafts Guild will be displayed at homes on the tour, an idea added this year by house tour chairwoman Ruth Gray.

Ms. Gray opened her West Green Street home last year for the first Harvest House Tour. "I loved it," she said. "Everyone who came through was just so respectful of the home."

l She said questions from people on the tour ranged from where she got gargoyles for the house to what kind of wallpaper she used.

The planning committee tried to avoid repeating houses from last year's tour, although the college buildings and Union Street Church were on the first tour.

Buildings featured this year:

* Peter M. Tabatsko house, 172 W. Main St. A Victorian house built between 1860 and 1870, it has served as a parsonage, store and office for a feed and grain business. Some of the antique furnishings were brought by the owner's ancestors when they emigrated from Europe about 1900.

* Tim and Sandra Pomeroy house, 26 Bond St. A Victorian house with a turret, stained glass windows in the attic, brick sidewalks and some slate roofing.

* William and B. Jackie Finch house, 156 W. Main St. The house was owned by a physician and later housed Western Maryland College seminary students. Its kitchen and loft were built in 1858, the main house in 1864. The house has the only usable smokehouse in Westminster.

Restoration "took us a long time and we're still in the process," Mrs. Finch said. She said many of the furnishings were handed down from grandmothers and great-grandmothers.

* Union Street Church, 22 Union St. The church was built about 1860. Its original form is unchanged except for the addition of a two-story steeple. Architectural historian Christopher Weeks described the building's intricate brickwork in "The Building of Westminster in Maryland."

* Peterson Hall, WMC. The building, designed as a library in 1909, now houses the college department of art and art history and exhibition gallery.

* President's House, WMC. The spacious Victorian house has been the president's residence since it was built in 1889. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

* Mary Ellen and Ron Elwell residence, 47 Ridge Road. A 20th-century farmhouse, it has a large country kitchen with end-grain pine floors and is furnished with country antiques.

The tour lasts from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will include a performance by the Carroll County Cloggers at 1:30 p.m. in Belle Grove Square. The League of Women Voters will sell pumpkins and cider at Belle Grove Square. Union Street church members will sell lunch and refreshments.

Tickets cost $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Advance tickets are sold at Hock's Floral Design, Westminster Shopping Center; the Rape Crisis Intervention Service, 224 N. Center St.; and Locust Books, 9 E. Main St.

The tour raised about $1,700 for the service last year, Rape Crisis Intervention Service staff reported. The money is used for client services, such as paying therapists for counseling.

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