Quilt Trail barn in Carroll County, 2018.

Journey Through Maryland History: Rural Character of Carroll County

06/28/2018
By Preservation Maryland

Over the past two years, Diane and Jeff Caslow have been exploring one of Maryland’s twenty-four counties each month. This time, the pair, explored the rural character of Carroll County – including parts of the Barn Quilt Trail and other hidden treasures.

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Carroll County is the twentieth county that we’ve explored on our twenty-four month adventure to explore each of the counties and Baltimore City in Maryland. Our day trip plans are always a bit ambitious as we wish to explore as much of a county as we can in a day. Carroll County was no exception, so we chose to follow part of the national Barn Quilt Trail and weave in some of the towns in between. The county is proud of its agricultural heritage, so what better way to explore than a scavenger hunt for quilt squares painted on the sides of some pretty picturesque barns.

Hampstead and Manchester

We picked up the Quilt Trail at Hampstead, a growing town with strong roots as a farming community. Manchester, just north of Hampstead is the second oldest incorporated area after Westminster, in 1833. Each of the quilts are named such as Churn Dash, Log Cabin, Alice’s Cross Stitch, Seven Pointed Star and Wedding Ring. Each one is beautiful in its  own way and we are delighted to discover each one driving along the country roads.

Taneytown

Taneytown was founded in 1754 and is on the National Register of Historic Places as the Taneytown Historic District. We found the original site of the Goode Tavern, a stop for George Washington, and the oldest building in town, the Stone Tavern, built in 1763. Of course we had to stop at the Antrim 1844 Inn. The Greek Revival mansion was built by Col. Andrew Ege in 1844 and was named for his wife’s family ancestral home in County Antrim, Ireland. It had been a private residence for well over 120 years before it transitioned to a bed and breakfast in 1988.  They were gracious enough to offer coffee and let us see some of the beautiful rooms and dining areas. This one is definitely on our future bucket list.

Union Bridge

We headed south to Union Bridge to see some the historic buildings and pick up the Quilt Trail again, but got distracted by a project going on at the Union Bridge Western Maryland Railway Museum.  There was a group of volunteers digging up sections of the platform so the rail ties could be pulled out from underneath the track and repaired.

Image showing canned peaches from Baugher's Farms

Westminster

Just outside of town, we stop at Baugher’s Fruit Market. We load up on apples and fresh apple pie, just in case we get hungry, while I admire the canned peaches with vintage style labels.  Heading into town, we spy another quilt from the trail, but it is not on a barn, it is on the renovated Carroll County Arts Council building. Its original life was a 1930’s Art Deco movie theater and was adapted for reuse for the Art Council, showcasing local artists.

Part of the Quilt Trail in Carroll County, 2018.

Part of the Quilt Trail in Carroll County, 2018.

We used the self-guided walking tours available to explore the town and its rich history, with a number of buildings dating from the early 1800’s. In front of the Post Office is a sign that tells us that Carroll County was the first to have rural mail delivery countywide in 1899.

We had lunch at the brewery of the Johanssons Dining House, located in a 1913 building. We wandered the streets finding carefully preserved buildings and those with a new purpose. One of the most interesting finds was a building sporting what is called a ghost sign.  It is a wooden barrel with the words Sherwood Rye Whiskey and Registered Distillery No. 12.  The distillery was established in the 1930’s, and briefly stopped production in World War II to produce alcohol needed for manufacturing ammunition. It closed for good in the early 1960s. The original Sherwood Distillery began in Cockeysville in the 1800s, but went out of business during Prohibition. The brand rights were sold and a new owner who established the Sherwood Distillery in Westminster.

Finally, we could not leave without finding the bakery, JeannieBird Baking Company, known for their homemade English muffins.

Although there are still more quilts to find, we will have to return to pick up the trail again in the future…next month we return to the Eastern Shore to explore Queen Anne County.

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