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Eagle Archive: Indoor plumbing captured the imagination of Westminster in 1891

When spring rolls around, many of us have home improvement projects to tackle. But few of those result in community-wide interest or historical significance. (Unless, that is, you count the alligator-filled moat I was thinking about installing.)

But on April 29, 1891, Dr. Jacob J. Weaver Jr. of Uniontown began the construction of an indoor bathroom — and kept a detailed dairy of the project to preserve for history.

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Of course, having an indoor bathroom was a big deal in those days.

"The idea of an indoor bathroom was almost unknown until the early 20th century," according to historian Jay Graybeal, who wrote about Weaver's bathroom construction diary a number of years ago for the Historical Society of Carroll County.

Today, the historical society has Weaver's diary on file, in case you'd like to consult his plans. His project was completed on June 2 at a cost of $554. Your results may vary.

We should note that the First National Bank of Westminster made sure Weaver was "flush" with cash — the bank loaned him $500 for the project earlier in April.

On April 26, 1927, the City of Westminster was also looking forward to a few improvements. It was on that date that the Maryland General Assembly approved legislation to allow the city to borrow a total of $75,000 at a rate of interest not to exceed 4 1/2 percent.

The legislation specifically noted "that the money derived from the sale of said bonds shall be used and applied exclusively to the paving and improving of the streets, curbs, and gutters of the town, heretofore decided upon by the Mayor and Common Council of Westminster."

Subsequent to approval of the General Assembly, then-Maryland Gov. Albert C. Ritchie signed it into law. (However, the governor vetoed legislation that would "provide for the extension of the limits of Westminster.")

Fast forward to modern times: Ever since the groundbreaking event held on Feb. 3, many folks have been watching the progress of the current McDaniel College stadium project, to be named the Kenneth R. Gill Stadium, after a 1961 graduate of the college.

That reminds us that on April 28, 1922, the now-defunct newspaper, the Democratic Advocate, carried an article which celebrated the dedication of Hoffa Field at then-Western Maryland College.

The newspaper article heralded, "The Carroll County Pageant: On Saturday afternoon, June 10, the New Athletic Bowl will be formerly dedicated not only to Western Maryland College but to all of Carroll County.

"The event will be celebrated by a beautiful festival of peace called 'The Sheathing of The Sword.' Watching the pageant, on the hillside around the bowl, there will be seated people from Carroll and sister counties of the state…"

True to the newspaper article's predictions, the ceremonies were well attended. According to McDaniel College historian Dr. Jim Lightner, "the formal dedication of Hoffa Field was held before an audience of 5,000."

A not-too-small matter involving the pageant, written by Dorothy Elderdice, noted that the pageant was "a community drama featuring 1,000 participants."

Now that's a fairly impressive dedication ceremony. I'm just saying.

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When he is not working on a few home improvements, Kevin Dayhoff may be reached at kevindayhoff@gmail.com

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