“New Windsor’s Visionary Citizens”
Carroll County Times article for 28 December 1997
By Jay A. Graybeal
Today we tend to take municipal improvements, such as electric street lights, city water and fire protection, for granted. A century ago, however, the consideration of such amenities were often controversial subjects among local residents of Carroll’s communities. Such was the case in New Windsor as reported in the Christmas Day 1897 issue of the Westminster Democratic Advocate newspaper:
These gentlemen have also put up a small electric light plant, which they expect to enlarge in the spring. They met with opposition in erecting poles, so they have run wires only where none were necessary. At present the lights are in the store of George C. Anders, the First National Bank, L. H. Dielman’s drug store, and the residences of Nathan H. Baile, and Dr. John A. Buffington. A 32-candle power light has been placed on the street to show the people how the town could be easily and well lighted.
The general contract is in the hands of J. S. Connelly, of Philadelphia, the electrical work being done by John E. Graybill, of York, and the wiring by W. L. Wilhelm, of the same place. The steel tower was erected and the machinery placed by H. K. Johnston, of Hagerstown.
Improvements in rural communities move slowly. All are always opposed, and a sharp contest usually prevail before success is attained. Gas was bitterly opposed in Westminster, and every other enterprise has met with some opposition and but meager support. After once being established many people wonder why they opposed them. This will be the situation in New Windsor, and the Advocate congratulates the town that it has such progressive citizens as Messrs. Dielman, Baile and Buffington. Let them persevere, and in time New Windsor will have pure water, smooth highways, an efficient fire department and well lighted streets. And the people, too, will give due credit to the promoters of these improvements.
|The Advocate’s editor was correct when he predicted that the efforts of Messrs. Dielman, Baile and Buffington would someday be appreciated. Gas lighting in Westminster, however, would not last long and electricity supplanted the earlier utility company in the first decade of the new century.|
|Photo caption:||Dielman’s Inn was among the first New Windsor structures to have electric light. Its owner, Louis H. Dielman was one of three men who privately financed an electric power plant in 1897. Historical Society of Carroll County post card collection.|