Carroll’s Yesteryears

05 June 1994

The rich tradition of Taneytown

By Joe Getty

Taneytown has a rich historical tradition that has been preserved by the hard work and talents of many amateur historians over the past two centuries. In the Carroll Record Histories, a speech delivered by Rev. William H. Luckenbach for the Centennial Celebration of American Independence on July 4, 1876, was reprinted as the introduction to a 22-part weekly series about Taneytown history.

The remaining portion of the Taneytown history was written in 1894 by Dr. Clotworthy Birnie. His writings preserved many anecdotes and traditions of the 19th century many of which would have otherwise been lost. Birnie described his work as follows:

“I am afraid the Editor of the RECORD has given too large a title to this series of articles, when he calls them a History. Reminiscences, would be a better name; Taneytown has no distinct history apart from the history of the state and county, and in the absence of written records all that I can hope to do is to record some things that have happened in the past, either from my own knowledge, or as they may be remembered by others, and they will only be of interest to those who now, or have in times past, lived in Taneytown. The first idea was only to publish Mr. Luckenbach’s address of July 4th., 1876. In this paper I will give some further account of the persons and things mentioned in that address. Stories or legends that come down to us by word of mouth and are not written, are often of doubtful authenticity, and are so liable to be altered by frequent repetition that even when they have a foundation of truth, it is hard to tell how [MISSING]

Photo credit: A series of Taneytown photographs taken by Edward Zepp were published in July 1904 as part of a community history and business directory in the Carroll Record. These photographs will appear in a book being published by the historical society that will also contain a supplement of family, business and organization histories prepared by donors to the publication project.

Photo caption: Above: The arrival of the railroad to Taneytown on July 14, 1871, created an opportunity for substantial economic development, especially for the transportation of the region’s agricultural products. An earlier railroad warehouse was destroyed in Taneytown’s ‘Great Fire’ of November 27, 1897. The grain elevator in this photograph was built in 1899 by the Farmer’s Warehouse Company and was later leased to the Taneytown Elevator Company.

Photo caption: Right: When Preston B. Englar was the Taneytown postmaster, he operated the post office out of the gable-front section of his residence. Englar also was the founding editor of the Carroll Record newspaper and created the community history series that will be published by the historical society.

Photo caption: Taneytown was served by a number of prominent taverns and hotels throughout its history. The early hotels were oriented around the town square but with the arrival of the railroad, the newer businesses located on the east side of town. The Buffington Hotel on East Baltimore Street is an example of a 19th century hotel business in Taneytown. In the early 20th century it was known as Kane’s Hotel.