Eldersburg is a bustling place. All one needs to do is turn onto Md. 26 towards Baltimore, and look at the restaurants and buildings that dot the highway. There are cafes, Blockbuster stores, malls, and traffic lights that pop up all over the place. Many cars speed down the highway. Today, the pace of life is quicker. People go to work, juggle athletic events for kids, eat a hurried dinner, attend social meetings for various organizations, and help with homework in the evenings. It is interesting to think that at one time, Eldersburg was not the hub of activity it is today. Liberty Road used to be a stagecoach line, and Native American artifacts were found at Hodges Road.

According to History of Western Maryland, Volume II by J. Thomas Scharf, the town of Eldersburg, three and a half miles from Sykesville and thirty-two from Baltimore, was named in honor of John Elder, who laid it out before 1800, and who was an early settler, owning large tracts of land in the vicinity. It has a lodge of I.O. Good Templars, and Grange No. 139 of Patrons of Husbandry, which N.D. Norris is Master, and George M. Prugh, secretary. Among the businessmen of the town were T. A. Barnes, postmaster and merchant; Dr. H. C. Shipley, physician; L. H. W. Selby, undertaker; J. & L. H. Selby, millers; and J. Collins, shoemaker.

Churches were an important part of Eldersburg’s history. According to History of Western Maryland, Volume II by J. Thomas Scharf, Holy Trinity Parish, Protestant Episcopal Church, originated on March 8, 1771, when John Welch entered into a bond in the penal sum of two hundred pounds, English sterling, to convey to Abel Brown, Robert Twis, Edward Dorsey, and John Elder two acres of land, provided the said persons would build a “Chappell of Ease” for the benefit of “Delaware Hundred,” the name of their election district. The church was built (a stone structure), and became a part of St. Thomas’ Parish, Baltimore County. In the lapse of time the congregation thinned out, Episcopal services were no longer held, and the Baptists for some years occupied the edifice. After a time a time the Baptists were unable to maintain their congregation, and the building was not used fore religious services, but became the abode of cattle and horses.

Md. 32 today is a winding road that is often filled with many cars. According to Kari Greenawalt, curator of the Gatehouse of Sykesville, some interesting facts about Md. 32 were Salerno’s restaurant used to have a tavern next to Exxon. Liberty Road used to be a stagecoach line that was built to Frederick. Eldersburg cropped up from it. Native American artifacts were found at Hodges Road. In the 1700s-1800s, Md. 32 was a quiet, sleepy intersection.

The Sykesville Historic Commission Archives said the Liberty Reservoir was formed in 1953. The north branch of the Patapsco River feeds the reservoir. The watershed covers 164 square miles, in Baltimore and Carroll counties. Oakland Woolen Mills (Melville Woolen Co). was the largest industry in Carroll County during the 1800s. Containing 128 acres in 1953, mill buildings, the town hall and 60 dwellings were demolished and under water. Before it was flooded, Liberty Reservoir was farm land, mines and Oakland Mills.

The Sykesville Historic Commission Archives also said that fifty to sixty years ago, Eldersburg was farmland. It had homes, a store and a school along Liberty Road. A three-story home on Liberty and Bartholow Roads, served as a home, general store and a post office. Slacks school was built in 1901. It burned in 1976. The school was located at Liberty and Oklahoma Roads.

According to the Sykesville Historic Commission Archives, the first public school in this area was Sykesville on Springfield Avenue. The public school was so poor. Citizens organized the Springfield Institute, held in the Springfield Presbyterian Church.
The oldest neighborhood in Eldersburg was Freedom P.O. just west of Eldersburg. Welches Tavern was built in 1714 near Eldersburg, bought by Dr. Steele and made into a large residence. It burned in 1974.
According to the Sykesville Historic Commission Archives Herbert De Vries owned the land where Carrolltown Maill is. He sold it to Dr. Phillips and Dr. Phillips sold it to the Corporation for 1/4 million. Eldersburg used to be all farmland. It had a store, masconic hall, slacks school. It had small game including rabbits, squirrel, ground hogs, deer and chipmunks. Frank Brown owned the largest piece of land. He was the only man from Carroll County to become governor of Maryland.

John Elder, at age 24, was the contractor for Wesley Chapel in 1822. In 1823, N.D. Norris was a farmer. In 1837 Y.T. P. Frizzell was a farmer. Also, in that year, H. C. Shipley was a physician. In 1827 Robert Lee was a farmer and in 1844 Eli Frizzell was a blacksmith. The oldest building in the area was Welch’s Taven.
The Maryland Office of Tourism website states that Carroll County was named for Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Wheat was the crop that brought the German settlers to the county, while farming and natural beauty still draw people there today.

According to the Maryland Office of Tourism web site, Carroll County was formed in 1836 from the western part of Baltimore County and the eastern part of Frederick. It includes what were in the 1800s, the North Hundred, Pipe Creek Hundred, Delaware Upper and Lower Hundred of Baltimore County and the Pipe Creek, Westminster, Unity, Burnt House, Piney Creek Hundred, Delaware Upper and Lower Hundred of Baltimore County and the Pipe Creek, Westminster, Unity, Burnt house, Piney Creek, and Taneytown Hundreds of Frederick County. A hundred was a land unit which was carried over from England to Maryland as a subdivision of a county or shire and its terminology was derived from the fact that in each area there lived approximately one hundred men who could be called for military duty. Because Carroll County was one of the later counties to be established, much of its history is the history of northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania.

Carroll County is comprised of 14 electoral districts. Distric No. 1: Taneytown erected in 1837; District No. 2, Uniontown erected in 1837; District No. 3 Myers erected in 1837; District No. 4: Woolery, erected in 1837; District No. 5: Freedom erected in 1837; District No. 6, Manchester erected in 1837; District No. 7: Westminster errectd in 1837; District No. 8: Hampstead erected in 1837; District No. 9: Franklin erected in 1837; District No. 10: Middleburg erected in 1852; District No. 11: New Windsor erected in 1856; District No. 12: Union Bridge erected in 1872; District No. 13, Mount Airy erected in 1888; District No. 14: Berrett erected in 1910.

According to Eighteen Century Origins, Harney citizens petitioned for a post office in 1856. A decision for the new name was given to James Elder, the postmaster of Eldersburg. Having just read an account of conflict between the Mormons and the United States government in Utah, Elder suggested the name Harney in honor of the general in charge of the U.S. troops involved in the conflict.


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