“Vanderford Directory Reprint Available”

Carroll County Times article for 4 May 1996

By Jay A. Graybeal

Originally published on New Year’s Day 1887, Westminster. Its Location and Advantages as a Place of Residence or for Business. Including a Directory., was the first of its kind for the city. The publisher, Vanderford Bros. of Westminster, also published a weekly newspaper, The Democratic Advocate. This partisan paper expressed the views of the Democratic party and competed with the local Republican paper, The American Sentinel.

According to the publisher’s introduction, Westminster of the mid-1880s was experiencing a period of rapid growth. Incorporated a year after the founding of Carroll County in 1837, the city was firmly established as the governmental, economic and cultural center of the county. Expansion from the original eighteenth century linear town plan had made it necessary to number the buildings in 1886 and this led to the publication of the new directory. Although numbered more than a century ago, many of the street addresses remain unchanged.

The new directory included a historical sketch of Westminster and sections on the town as a summer resort, place of residence or business, and descriptions of religious, civic and social organizations. The organizations listed were the Westminster Fire Department, The Westminster Driving Association; The Westminster Forest and Stream Club; The Westminster Gun Club, The Carroll Rifle Club; Cycling Ramblers; Salem Lodge, No. 60, I.O.O.F., Door To Virtue Lodge, No. 46, A.F.A.M.; Westminster Lodge, No. 41, I.O.M.; Charity Lodge, No. 58, Knights of Pythias; Carroll Division, No. 42, Sons of Temperance; Burns Post, No. 13, Grand Army of the Republic and St. Thomas Lodge, No. 1342, I.O.O.F. The listings for each organization provide the founding date, a brief description of the group’s activities and a list of officers.

The publishers also produced cuts of twenty-two prominent buildings from photographs by Westminster photographer Julius Hebbel. The directory listing for Hebbel notes that he operated an “Art Gallery” in his residence at 35 E. Main St. The cuts were produced by the Photo-Plate Engraving Company of New York City and, according to the publishers, “was done at figures far below those quoted by other houses in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore.” Included in this section are cuts of eight churches, six residences, five commercial buildings, the campus of Western Maryland College, the Carroll County Court House and the Odd Fellows Hall. Several additional cuts of buildings are included in some of the larger business advertisements.

A directory section provides an alphabetical listing of residents, businesses and public buildings and their corresponding street addresses. This final section also contains descriptive “business card” advertisements for many local businesses; some larger firms took out partial or full page advertisements. Vanderford’s Directory is an unparalleled source for information about Westminster residents, businesses, and organizations of the 1880s.

After being out of print for more than a century, the Vanderford directory is now available as a reprint. The facsimile edition of 250 copies was printed in conjunction with the April 27, 1996 Business Walking Tour of Westminster, sponsored by the Greater Westminster Development Corporation. The facsimile was produced from an original edition in the J. Leland Jordan Collection of the Historical Society of Carroll County. The Historical Society gratefully acknowledges the Greater Westminster Development Corporation for underwriting the costs of republishing this unique historical resource.

The facsimile edition of the directory is available as part of the Historical Society’s publications program. Copies are $10, or $8 for Society members, and may be purchased at the Kimmey House, 210 E. Main St. For more information or to reserve a copy, please call the Society at 848-6494.

Photo Caption: The cut of the Democratic Advocate Building, at 167 E. Main St., Westminster, is one of twenty-two illustrations that appeared in Westminster’s first city directory, published in 1887. The directory was published by the Vanderford Bros., who also published the weekly newspaper the Democratic Advocate. Historical Society of Carroll County Collection.