Skip Amass

Skip Amass first arrived in Carroll County for a Methodist Youth Fellowship Camp. Skip has been in Carroll County for over 20 years and active volutneer for many community organizations.

Transcription

INTERVIEWER: OK. Mr Amass, if you will be so kind as to please tell me a little bit about your first memories of arriving in Carroll County. I know you said that you first came out for a camp.

SKIP AMASS: Yes. Uh, I was born in Baltimore City. A part of Baltimore called Hollandtown, east Baltimore. And, uh, we were members of, uh, St Paul’s Methodist Church at Monument and Linwood in Baltimore. And my very first memories of Carroll County are when I came out here for Methodist Youth Fellowship camps, MYF, at the– then, uh, Western Maryland College. And I was probably 12 or 13 years old at the time.

And they’d send all the kids out here to the camp, uh, for a week or two. And, uh, I came out here to the camp a couple years in a row. And we also had our Sunday school picnics at Cascade Lake, which is located over near Hampstead and Snydersburg.

And so I fell in love with Carroll County and I decided then that I was going to go to college there. And eventually, when I graduated from high school, I came up to Western Maryland College and enrolled as a freshman.

INTERVIEWER: Now tell me a little bit about some of the things that you did at the camp. What was the college campus like then? And what kind of activities–

SKIP AMASS:The campus was– the main buildings of the campus which are still there, like McDaniel Hall and, um, uh, Alumni Hall, and so forth were– Albert Norman Ward– they were there then. But also there was Old Main, which is– was located where, uh, Big Baker Chapel is now. Uh, Old main and there were two dormitories on each end of that. Uh, and then there was a dining hall, which was in what’s called Hall Hall now.

Um, and– but, uh, since that time, of course, the college has built a lot. New– many, many more new buildings. But it was a very small campus. Student-wise, there were probably only 600 or 700 students there. And everybody knew everybody very well and everybody ate together three times a day.

And in fact part of my scholarship as a Methodist scholarship, was that I had to work as a waiter in a dining hall. So for three meals a day, seven days a week, I worked in the dining hall, uh, waiting on tables. And, in fact, when, uh, summer was here, I stayed and worked at the old Baltimore camp– training camp as a waiter for the Baltimore Colts.

Which was a real hoot because, uh, they got better food than the students did. Mr Rice, who ran the cafeteria, prepared very good meals for them. Uh, but it was a real trip to see how much they ate.

Gino Marchetti, and Arty Donovan, and those guys always had a eating contest. When they would eat– see who could eat the most pieces of chicken, or who could eat the most ears of corn, and so forth. And it was a real trip to– to see all this taking place.

And see all the people who eventually became great stars in the National Football League, like Raymond Berry and Art Donovan and Lenny Moore, and Weeb Ewbank, and John Unitas, and, uh, Jim Parker. And, uh, those guys were, um, big, big celebrities. And, uh, they were– and also they– they did a lot in coming down.

They used to go to the movies in Carroll County. I mean, they’d go down to, uh, the Carroll theater and watch, you know, to see the movies. It was interesting when they went in there because they were so big that, uh, they would sit with a seat in between them. You know, they’d sit in one seat, then empty seat, then a guy would sit in the next seat.

Uh, then there was a place, uh– maybe we shouldn’t talk about this– but there’s a place out on the end of Main Street called Oz and Jenny’s, which is now Stables. Um, which was quite a hangout. And a lot of the Colts would hang out there in the evening and drink beer, and shoot pool, and shuffle board. And, uh, it was quite a– quite a reputation out there with them. But a lot of fun.

INTERVIEWER: Did they tip well?

SKIP AMASS: Did they what?

INTERVIEWER: Did they tip you well?

SKIP AMASS: No! Uh, at the– you mean waiting on the tables. They didn’t tip us at all. Uh, we got paid, of course. And now at the end the training camp, John Steadman was the PR director for the Baltimore Colts, who was also a great sports writer and is in the Sports Hall of Fame for a– for his writing.

Was a great guy and, uh, he would give us a gift at the end of the year. Both monetary and then some Colt memorabilia. Which actually I still have a pair gold cuff links that he gave me, which I guess, uh, if you’re a sports memorabilia fan, are probably worth a lot of money now.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, that’s cool. Now you were also telling me a little bit about, you met your wife here in Carroll County and–

SKIP AMASS: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: –you were married here at the campus. Talk to me a little bit about that.

SKIP AMASS: Uh, well actually what happened was, I came here, uh, in 1950 to go to college. And, uh, then the Korean War broke out. And I was drafted, uh, into the army for the Korean War. And eventually wound up in the Army Medical Corps and was in a MASH outfit in Korea. And then, when I got out of the service, I came back to, uh, Western Maryland, College to finish my college career and get a degree.

And that’s when I met my wife, who’s maiden name was Patricia Richter. And a lot of people in the county would know her because her father and her mother were very active in, uh– had careers themselves in education. And Pat was actually born in Manchester, Maryland. Eventually move to Westminster, Maryland when her father– or Westminster– when her father became principal of Westminster High School. Which he was for many years, and many people remember him as Gerald Richter. R- I- C- H- T- E- R.

And, uh, Pat grew up here, of course then, in Westminster. And we met at– on the campus and eventually decided to marry. And we graduated in 1957. And then were married– that was the June of ’57– and we were married in December of ’57 in what is called Little Baker Chapel, on the campus.

And a lot of people who met at Western Maryland College got married in that chapel. And we did also in December of 1957. And this is being filmed in November of 1957. So one more month from now and we’ll be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Congratulations.

SKIP AMASS: Thank you very much.

INTERVIEWER: Now, talk to me a little bit about your in-laws. You said that your father-in-law went on to become superintendent.

SKIP AMASS: Yes. He, uh, he was principal of Westminster High School for many years. Uh, then he became, uh, supervisor of high school education in, uh, Carroll County.

Originally, you know, there was, uh, a lot of the communities had high schools like Manchester and– and, uh, Taneytown, and Sykesville. And then they started consolidating the high schools. And they built Francis Scott Key, I think that was the first one. And then Taneytown and New Windsor and Union Bridge joined in. And that became the Francis Scott Key High School.

And then they built, uh, Liberty High School and that– or South Carroll High School, excuse me, first. And Sykesville and that– that whole group moved in to South Carroll High School.

So he was supervisor of high school education and then eventually became superintendent of schools, uh, for Talbot county. And so he moved down to the eastern shore with Mrs Richter, his wife for a number of years. And they were down there as superintendent. Eventually he retired, move back here to Carroll County, and was very active in the Historical Society, and, uh, the Westminster Rotary Club, and the Chamber of Commerce. So a lot of people here have very fond memories of Mr Richter.

And also Mrs Richter. She started her career as actually a French teacher at Westminster High School when she graduated from Western Maryland College. Uh, then stopped teaching to have Pat and raise Pat. And then went back to teaching as an elementary school teacher.

And she taught the second grade at Westminster Elementary, which was located on Green Street. Green and Center Street where, uh, the Westminster Inn, as people know now. That building, which originally started out as the Westminster High School, it became the Westminster Elementary School.

She taught second grade and when my wife Pat went into education, she taught third grade in the same building, room’s next to each other. So the poor children had the mother for the second grade and the daughter for the third grade. So they went from mother to daughter.

But they both were very excellent teachers. And people speak very, very fondly of both of them. A lot of people come up and say to my wife, do you remember me? You know, you taught me in the third grade. Same thing happened to my mother-in-law.

Um, an interesting thing happened to my father-in-law a few years ago, before he died. People used to come up and say, oh Mr Richter, uh, you were principal of Westminster High School when I was there. And he would always say, well, what year did you graduate? So one time we were at a wedding here at a big church in Carroll County and somebody came up and said, oh Mr Richter you were principal of the high school when I was there. And he said, oh, what year did you graduate? And this gentleman said, oh, I didn’t graduate, you expelled me. So there was this long silence. And then finally the guy said, but that was the best thing that ever happened to me. I joined the Marines and became a man. He said, eventually I got my GED and everything is fine. But a little– little testy there, you know.

But, uh, anyway. Um, and then I decided to become a pharmacist. And, uh, I worked, uh– I went to pharmacy school in Baltimore and commuted from Westminster all away in to Baltimore. Downtown Baltimore, to go to pharmacy school while my wife taught school here.

And then I went to work for Reed’s Drugstores, which a lot of people will remember. And Reed’s was located on Main Street in Westminster here, uh, right across from where the Carroll County Public Library building is now. In those days it was Saint John’s Church.

And, uh, we used to, for example, on Saturday nights we’d stay open until 11 o’clock at night. Because all the farmers in Carroll County would come in to shop late on Saturday nights after they had done all their chores on the farm. And so you stayed open late to accommodate your customers. And, uh, we were there on Main Street for many years, or Reed’s had been.

And eventually the Westminster shopping center was built, which is the shopping center at Angler Road and 140. And Reed’s moved out there. And that was the very first shopping center on 140.

And a lot of people said, oh, my gosh, you guys are going to go broke out there because nobody is going to travel all the way out there to do business. I mean, they aren’t going to go from Main Street all way out to Angler Road and 140. Well, of course, that didn’t happen. We did very well out there.

By the way, when I first came to Carroll County to the– the, you know, as I talked about come up to MYF camps and so forth. 140 as a dual highway ended on 140 where the Royal Farm store is down on Bethel Road now. That’s as far as it was built.

And you had to go on Bethel Road over to Main Street, or Baltimore Boulevard, or whatever it’s called now. And then come all the way in to town. Uh, th– that’s how that has changed. But then eventually it was built all the way up to where it is now, like 140 is now.

But we went out there to the shopping center and– and then eventually another one was– Carroll Plaza was built across the street. And Wampler’s furniture store came where the BB&T bank building is now. And so a lot of changes started to take place.

INTERVIEWER: And what happened to the location where Reed’s had been? After they moved out to the shopping center, what went in there?

SKIP AMASS: Uh, right now, I think that’s the entrance to, uh, what’s, uh Sherwood Plaza or Sherwood Mall, whatever they call that, on Main Street. Where you go in and Rhoten’s Barber Shop is on one side. And I think there’s a tuxedo store on the other, and so forth.

If you go in there’s a little up incline and you walk up. That used to have one in the terrazzo floor. It used to say Reed’s, I think they’ve covered that up now. But that was the entrance to Reed’s drugstore there.

And, uh, then, uh, there were a number of drugstores on Main Street in those days. There was Schmidts Rexall drugstore, which was also just a few doors away. It’s move down to the other end of town now.

There was Rasinsky’s drugstore. Judge Marc Rasinsky here in the county now, his– that was his father, uh, Rasinsky’s drugstore. And then on the corner of John and Street and, uh, Main Street was another drugstore called Bixler and Guyle. Uh, they had two different gentleman– one named Bixler, one named Guyle– owned that store. So there were a number of drugstores on Main Street in those days.

And, uh, there were, of course, many doctors in the county who did house calls. We didn’t have a hospital either, by the way. There was no hospital. And eventually there was a hospital built and it opened in 1961. And I was the very first pharmacist for Carroll County Hospital.

Doctor Dan Wellover came to me and said, we don’t have any pharmacy services. How about you coming, and setting up the pharmacy services, and being the pharmacist? I agreed to do it. I actually did it on a part time basis. Can you imagine a hospital having a part time pharmacist?

But that’s the way it opened in 1961 and we worked that way for about six or seven months. And then they decided they needed a full-time pharmacist, and I didn’t want to be a hospital pharmacist. So, uh, what they found one and I went back to being just a full-time retail pharmacist.

INTERVIEWER: And you were still at Reed’s at that point?

SKIP AMASS: Yes. I was still at Reed’s drugstore in those days.

INTERVIEWER: Now, you were talking a little bit about when you attended, um, Western Maryland that you used to catch– or actually hitchhike.

SKIP AMASS: Yes. Oh, yeah. Absolutely. And I was talking to somebody else about that the other day, and they said they did the same thing. Um, if I wanted to go home, I didn’t have a car in those days, and, uh, if I wanted to go home to Baltimore, I’d just, uh, go out, uh, on Main Street and– or down to 140. And I’d stick out my thumb.

And you’d be there maybe 10 minutes or 15 minutes. Somebody’d pick you up. They knew you were college student or a student. And they’d take you all way down to Reistertown. If you got to Reistertown you could get on a street car, and go to the rest of the way. Or if they were going all the way into Baltimore, they’d take you all the way in to Baltimore.

Uh, and I have to come back on Sunday nights because Western Maryland College had compulsory chapel at that time. All the students had to go to chapel at– be there at 7 o’clock on Sunday nights was required. And so I’d have to come back.

Well, I’d get a street car out to Reistertown, get off and walk up 140. Stick out my thumb, and somebody’d pick me up and bring me all the way back up. Most of the time they’d say, you going on to college? I’d say, yeah. And they’d drive you right up to the college, whether they were going that far or not.

And it wasn’t hard to do. I mean, you’d be picked up in– inside of 15 minutes, easily. And– and get a ride, and it was not a problem. People didn’t have the hesitation they have today about picking up hitchhikers. And, uh, so it was easy to do.

And, uh, there was– you could also, uh, if you wanted to, uh, up until about 1950– I think, ’51 or ’51, maybe ’53– uh, the Western Maryland train actually ran passenger service, uh, to Baltimore. And you could get a train to Reistertown, I think was $0.70 or $0.72 to ride the train. It was like a dollar and something to go to Baltimore. Uh, downtown Baltimore. So you could come back and forth on the train if you wanted to.

INTERVIEWER: Now where did that– where did you get on?

SKIP AMASS: You got on right where the train crosses Main Street right now. Railroad Avenue and Main Street where Joe Hanson’s restaurant is. Uh, right opposite that, on the corner, was where the train station was.

And it was there until I think about 1955 or ’56 when they tore it down. And that red brick building was built where it was a bank, Baltimore Federal Savings bank. And now I think it’s a law office. Uh, but, uh, they tore down the train station which was a real shame because it was a beautiful, beautiful train station.

In fact, I have a hobby of model trains, and one of the parts of my layout is old Main Street. And I have a replica of that train station in my train layout.

And I also have a replica of Main Street. I have the, uh, building on the corner. Which was the, uh, the yellow building where the Sam’s Bagels is now. Uh, that is there. It was the Acme store. On the first floor was a hotel actually.

And I have the old Rexall drugstore. I have Harry’s Lunch, which was in one of those buildings farther up there. Not the way they were exactly, but replica. I have Mather’s Department store, which is Coffey’s Music store right now. Uh, and, uh, a couple other buildings that were on Main Street.

I have Saint John’s Church and– which is where the public library is. And I have the fireman’s building. And, uh, all of those things are in my layout to represent, uh, Westminster as it was in those days. It’s really Westminster in the 1930s.

But people come in, and they look at it, and they, uh, say, oh, my goodness. The– the train station is there as well as what was the freight building, the Western Maryland freight shed. Which is a little farther down on Railroad Avenue towards Manchester behind Johansson’s.

The building that was Bumgardner’s stove and furnace store, uh, that was the Western Maryland freight shed where people picked up their freight.

INTERVIEWER: And Main Street was pretty much the only place for shopping at that time.

SKIP AMASS: Oh, absolutely. Uh, I mean, you had a shopping area in the small towns, like Manchester and Sykesville. But not nearly as much as Westminster. Uh, they were the shopping hub.

Now, at, uh, Christmas time and– and holiday times, Easter and so forth, a lot of people took the train and went in to Baltimore and shopped, you know, at the department stores in downtown Baltimore. Stewart’s, and Hochschild Kohn’s, and Hutzler’s, and places like that.

Or, if they had cars, uh, they would go up to Hanover and shop up there. Uh, sometimes to Frederick, but primarily people went in to Baltimore to do their big shopping, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: So when you first came out here, and you fell in love, what was it about Carroll County that really inspired you?

SKIP AMASS: Well, I loved– I loved the rolling hills. I loved the scenery. And I loved the people, which I still do. Uh, the people of Carroll County were unbelievably friendly and nice and– and, uh, it just was a wonderful place to live. I realized that from a very, very early age. Uh, and I still believe that.

I–I still love going around. Uh, my wife and I go to the church suppers, uh, to the pancake breakfasts at the churches and the fire halls that are still held. And it’s–it’s a real treat. Uh, I go to a Wednesday a– mornings at lunchtime, down to Patapsco Methodist to the lunch they have down there every Wednesday. And it’s just a wonderful treat to meet the people and talk to them. There’s still a lot of, quote/unquote, “real Carroll County people” around.

And a lot of people moved out here, uh, because of that. And have adopted that philosophy and that way of life. And, uh, being kind to each other and treating each other well, and– and doing what’s the r– what I consider the right thing and I think they do too.

And I think that’s the beauty of Carroll County. Uh, not only the scenery and– and the– the beautiful rolling countryside, uh, but the beauty of the people who live here. And the people who want to live here and– and, uh, live– live a lifestyle which is very pleasant.

My wife and I have traveled all over the world– uh, east and west, and just about everywhere in a world– but every time we come back, it’s interesting, we always say the same thing. It’s sort of a family joke.

Uh, we’re in the car and we come back. And when we cross the line, no matter which way we’re coming, uh, into Carroll County, we say, ah, home again. It’s great to be back in Carroll County. Whether we’re coming in from the Pennsylvania side, the Frederick County side, the Ballmer County side, it’s just great to say, ah, we’re home again. We love it.

INTERVIEWER: Now are there any changes that you’re not particularly fond of? Are there things that have changed about Carroll County that you would prefer have not to have changed?

SKIP AMASS: Well, I guess, you know, it’s the old story about people move out to Carroll County and they want to build a fence and don’t let anybody else come. Uh, you know, keep all of strangers out. And so-called progress, you know. Keep Carroll County rural and so forth.

Well I don’t think that that’s possible. Uh, but, um, it– it would be nice if we could keep it, uh, as pleasant as it has been in the way we want it to be. Uh, I think there’s still tremendously beautiful areas in the county, which are open, and rolling, and so forth.

If you can ride some of the back roads of Carroll County, um, rather than just the main highways, uh, you would see still beautiful rolling hills, beautiful farmland, um, and gorgeous things. And I would hope that it would stay that way. Uh, I think we have– we probably have more crime then we had years ago, but that, I guess, comes with the increase in population.

For example, I was on the school board for many years, 8 1/2 years. President of the school board, I went on in 1971, I believe. And the school system in those days, uh, I think we only had 15 school buildings. And now, uh, I think they’re close to 40 school buildings. So the education system has enormously increased, as has the population, which is proportioned. So, that’s growth.

And just look along 140 itself. Uh, when we moved from Main Street as Reed’s drugstore out to the Westminster Shopping Center, the only thing located on Westminster– on 140, there was nothing else all the way into Reisterstown.

Well, look now what you have out there. I mean, you have car dealerships everywhere. Um, W H Davis I think was the first car dealership that went from Main Street all the way out to 140.

Uh, but the police barracks wasn’t there. None of that stuff was there. And so, it’s just the enormous, the growth along there. And that’s what I think people who’ve been around here many years miss, and lament the fact that that growth is there. But, uh, I don’t see any way of stopping it. But, uh, and let’s just hope we can manage it, and control it, and– and keep it the way we want it to be.

INTERVIEWER: Now when were on the school board, you were one of the people who made the visionary decision to buy all the land.

SKIP AMASS: Yeah, that was a big controversy. Um, we bought 70 acres here on Washington Road to put the Westminster High School out here– the new Westminster High School. Now, we got a lot of flack from a lot of people for buying that 70 acres.

First off, because who wanted a school all the way that far out of town? You’re going to build an auditorium out there and nobody’s going to go out there, uh, at– late at night, you know. That’s so far out of town. Well, of course, that’s crazy because the Westminster High School auditorium, you cannot find a night, weekend, day, afternoon when it’s not in use. People are constantly out here.

But also, on that 70 acres, look now what is located on that 70 acres. You have the Westminster High School. You have the Carroll County Vo-Tech center. You have the fire and safety training grounds. You have the Robert Moton Elementary School. You have this radio– this television station. And you have Carroll Community College.

All of it located on that 70 acres that we bought back in 1971. Um, where in the world the county be if they tried to go out and buy that ground now, uh, to do those things. Or even in the last few years, to try to do it. The money was so well invested in buying those acres for that ground for the educational complex.

INTERVIEWER: Now, were there any other pieces of property that you did similar types of things?

SKIP AMASS: Yes, we did. Uh, we bought a piece of property out on, um, on Union Town Road. Uh, which, uh, was where the Westminster Elementary School eventually moved to, and still is out there.

The sad thing about that is, we bought the ground all the way up to, uh, Bell Road. Which was supposed to be for expansion of a, uh, Westminster Middle School, new middle school. Well, unfortunately, the county commissioners traded that ground for a piece of ground out at the Carroll County Airport to extend a runway.

Uh, which I thought at the time, and I still think, was a bad deal. I don’t think they should have done that. Uh, they should have held on to that piece of ground, uh, and bought the ground out there for the airport if it really needed to be expanded. Um, because, uh, that was a great piece of ground for an– for a middle school and they shouldn’t have given that up.

We bought the ground for, uh, the North Carroll High School, uh, which, uh, was bought from the hospital. It actually was a piece of ground owned by the Carroll County Hospital that had been deeded to them, uh, by a very nice family. When they died, they left it to the hospital. Hospital turned around and sold it to the Board of Education for North Carroll High School.

And, uh, that was a wonderful purchase, too, because that school just sits perfectly where it should be. And, uh, what– what– fit very well in that community.

Uh, uh, I think, uh, trying to think what else we bought. Um, when– when I went on the board, I think we had 15 school properties, 15 school buildings. And I think when I went– went off, we had 28. So it had grown that much in eight years, uh, the county school system. And it continues to grow.

And we have a very good school system. We have an excellent school system. Dr Echer, who’s the princ– uh, superintendent now, does a magnificent job. And, uh, the people try to do very well by the school system.

INTERVIEWER: Now, tell me a little bit more about the airport. Did you– have you seen changes in the airport since you’ve been here?

SKIP AMASS: Oh, sure. Uh, when I first came here, the airport was out there on 97 where it still is. But it was simply a grass piece of ground. Uh, there was no paved runway. It was just a grass strip. And there was a little wooden shack by the side of the road, literally about the size of a garage.

And, uh, no hangars. And, uh, people just pulled up their little private planes and flew in and out of there. I don’t think there were any lights of any sort, and so forth.

And then eventually, uh, somebody paved it. And it became, uh, you know, a small runway out there. And, uh, then it grew up. And the Economic Development Commission in the county decided, uh, to make that whole area out there the Carroll Industrial Park.

And so they bought a lot of ground. And they moved the airport back, from 97 back to where it is now. And they started building the buildings in front of it for the Carroll Industrial Park.

Then I think the runway’s been extended two or three times, uh, maybe more than that. Uh, uh, the hangars have been built. The parking area for the airplanes have been paved, and so forth. Lights have been put in, and all those sort of things. And it’s been turned into a pretty decent airport.

A number of years ago– I’m a member of the Westminster Rotary Club– and a number of years ago, myself and another gentleman by the name of Bill Gavin, we chaired a, uh, uh, Westminster air show, Air– Air Spectacular. And for two years we ran an airshow out there, where we brought in World War II planes. And we actually had, uh, fighter planes and bomber planes. And we reenacted, uh, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Tora! Tora! Tora!

And, uh, had explosions and pyrotechnics that were spectacular. And we had hundreds of airplanes, aerobatic things, wing walkers, and, and, uh, aerobatics in the air. And all kinds of things. Actually had one act where a little plane came down and landed on top of a pickup truck. And, uh, it was quite a– quite a– air show.

We had, uh, in the two days that it ran the first time– uh, a Saturday and a Sunday– I think we had probably 25,000 or 30,000 people there. And then the next year, we run it again, a Saturday and Sunday, and that year I think we had some weather problems but we still at about 20,000, 25,000. But it was a tremendous success, and people really loved it. It was great.

INTERVIEWER: Why did you stop it?

SKIP AMASS: Well, a lot of things happened. Uh, we had problems with the permits. The, you know, lot of people got involved. And they wanted different kinds of permits. And the FAA with the planes, and the pyrotechnics, and so forth. So it got to be, uh, such a problem that we just backed away from it. The Rotary Club did.

Now, uh, some other people took it over and tried to run it for a few years. And, uh, they were not very successful at all. Uh, unfortunately, and I felt sorry for them. But the Rotary Club, we just backed out of it.

INTERVIEWER: Now are there other activities or events that have been popular for years or decades here in Carroll County?

SKIP AMASS: Oh, quite a few. The farm museum. Uh, you know, Fall Harvest Days, and– and things like that. The Rotary Club, uh, we used to have a food stand out at Fall Harvest Days at the Carroll County Farm Museum and sell crab cakes. Uh, we haven’t done that for a few years, but that that whole Fall Harvest Day has grown tremendously. Um, the steam shows at the Farm Museum have just become tremendously popular.

Um, so, um, the wine tasting, uh, wine festival that they have. I’ve seen that grow from a very small event when it first started to now being a wonderful celebration where people come from all over the east coast, actually, to it. It’s advertised very well and done very well.

Um, the fireworks display at the Farm Museum, which the Rotary Club now sponsors each and every year on the 4th of July, uh, has become a big event. And well– well-populated and enjoyed by everyone. Uh, the Rotary Club has to raise a lot of money every year, uh, thanks to a man named Joe Leggy, uh, can do– does it. And he’s been the chairman since the inception. And, uh, but it’s a tremendous event for the county. Uh, so we’ve been involved in that.

And then, uh, about the last five or six years, a gentleman I named before– Mr Bill Gavin– and I we have a hobby of model trains. Uh, which were always big in Carroll County. A lot of people are into model trains. And we build a four foot by eight foot layout every year.

And we sell raffle tickets for the Rotary Club to raise money for things like nursing scholarship at the Carroll Community College, and so forth. And, uh, we take it around to various train shows, to Mistletoemart, and eventually we take it out to the mall. And it’s there for three weeks and we sell raffle tickets.

And then on December the 22nd we raffle it off, and deliver it on December the 23rd. And it’s pretty exciting when we deliver that train layout to different people’s homes. Uh, they get very excited about and they really enjoy it.

INTERVIEWER: Now, you said a lot of people here in Carroll County like model trains. Were there a lot of model train shops, or how did that interest–

SKIP AMASS: We used to have model train shops. Uh, there aren’t so many anymore. We have– we have one down in Sykesville, Perky’s. And we have one on Liberty Road. Um, I can’t think of the name of that one. uh, but, uh, years ago, we had Bobby’s Hobby Lobby on Main Street in Westminster. And that was a very, very popular train store. Sold model airplanes and things like that.

And they used to have a model train layout right in the center of the store. And you could go in and press a button or two, and the trains would run, and different kind of animation. And, of course, in December– November and December, they were very busy selling train parts.

And also Miller’s Electric, which is lo– was located on Main Street and Anchor Street. Where the Rexall Drugstore is now. Uh, he sold Lionel model trains, which were very, very popular. And, uh, he had a display in there– Mr Miller– and, uh, everybody went there to see his display. And– and to buy parts and buy trains from him, and so forth.

Uh, there were a lot of hardware stores that sold trains in those days, like Western Auto stores. And each little community had a hardware store like in Manchester, in Hampstead, Sykesville. And these folks were dealers for Lionel and American Flyer trains. And in October, November, and December they would be very busy selling trains.

And there’s an association called a Train Collectors of America. And, uh, which, if you’re in the hobby business, uh, you belong to that. I mean, not in a business, but if you’re a hobbyist, you belong to. And I think one of the highest concentrations of members in that association, which is nationwide associated, actually come from Carroll County. There’s a lot of people in this county who have model train layouts and are collectors and that really enjoy them.

INTERVIEWER: I know that’s true in Mt Airy.

SKIP AMASS: The– uh, Mt Airy has a store now, I believe. And, of course, most people in Carroll County, uh, want western Maryland trains. You know, because, uh, Western Maryland ran through here. And this was the home of the Western Maryland Railroad. And, uh, it’s still based– it’s Maryland Midland now– but it was based over in Union Bridge. And, uh, so most people in this county, in this area, uh, want to run either Western Maryland trains or B&O trains, Baltimore and Ohio.

INTERVIEWER: Now, when you’re in college and as a young married person what did you do for fun? Where did you go?

SKIP AMASS: Oh. Well, um, we didn’t have very much money. Very little, in fact. And so, a big night was actually, this doesn’t sound right, but a big night was– was getting a pizza and a, uh, six pack of beer and sitting in a– in an apartment somewhere or at your house with some friends and enjoying it. Maybe watching television if you had one.

Um, or going to the movies. We would go to the Carroll Theater. Uh, there were two movies in Carroll County, in Westminster at the time.

Uh, one was Carroll and one was the State Theater. Uh, the State was located on the opposite side of the street where the Carroll Theater is now. Uh, at John and Main Street. Uh, it’s– there was a JC Penney’s department store there. And the State Theater was next door. So those were the two movie theaters that you could go to. Um, and so we would go to movies.

We would go out to Frock’s which was located on Liberty Street. Uh, there’s a retirement community there now. But Frock’s was a– a banquet hall. And, uh, they would have dances out there. In fact, when we went to Western Maryland, a lot of fraternities had fraternity parties out there and dances. Uh, but that was another form of recreation for young people.

Uh, we’d go out to Frock’s to dances. The Lion’s Club, and the Rotary Club, and the Kiwanis Club [INAUDIBLE] would have these affairs and you would go out there. Then there was a theatrical group in Carroll County called the Carroll Players. And they used to put on production plays. And, uh, they would have a– a dinner theater. Where you could go out to Frock’s and part of your ticket price was you got a dinner, and then they put on the show.

And they put on pretty decent shows, you know. Uh, uh, shows, uh, comedies usually. Um, uh, what’s the old show, uh, Sunshine Boys. Which I guess had Walter Matthau and– and so forth in, And when I was on Broadway and in the movies. But anyway, shows like that.

And, uh, they were very, very, very entertaining. And, uh, good things to do. Uh, so those are the types of things that we did.

INTERVIEWER: Were there any popular bands? Like local bands.

SKIP AMASS: Oh, yes. Yeah. And that’s another thing. You would go out to Frock’s there would have– these dance would have– bands would come and play and you’d go out there and have a– have a dance. Um. Uh.

INTERVIEWER: Do you remember any of the names of the groups?

SKIP AMASS: That’s what I’m trying to think of some of the names of the bands. I can’t pull them up right away. Gene Frock himself had a band, uh, and a number of different people played in that. Um, no, I can’t right off the top my head think of any of them. But some of them were more popular than others.

And of course, in the early ’50s, uh, it was still the swing era. So they were the big bands. You know, with 21 pieces and everybody, the swing, and jitterbug, and things like that.

And then eventually it became rock ‘n’ roll and dancing evolved, you know. But I guess a lot of people are going back to the swing now.

INTERVIEWER: So when you were in college, where did you live?

SKIP AMASS: I lived in– on campus and in– in the dorms. I first lived in a dorm called McKinstry Hall, which was attached to Old Main. Which is building I told you that was torn down. Eventually when I came back from Korea and came back to school, McKinstry Hall been torn down. And I moved into a dorm called Albert Norman Ward Hall then.

Uh, so we lived on campus at that time. And most students did. Now, some of the students who were married, uh, lived in a place called Vetville. Um, and Vetville is– still exists. It’s down, uh, if you know where the car wash is– Duke’s Car Wash on– off of 140– the one story flat buildings behind that, um, are what was Vetville.

And those buildings were actually built for military personnel who were trained at Western Maryland College during the Second World War. And after they left, the college took over the property and turned them into apartments. And returning veterans from Second– Second World War and the Korean War, who were married, lived in those little small apartments there. Um, and then eventually they were sold and they’re still there as apartment. And people live in– in those buildings. But they were– those buildings go all the way back to the Second World War.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, that’s interesting.

SKIP AMASS: And so married students live down there when I– and that’s what I was talking about when I said if you had a married friend who lived in Vetville, you know, that’s when you got the pizza, and the six pack of beer, and you went down and played cards with them on a Saturday night, or something like that. Just sat around.

INTERVIEWER: You weren’t allowed to do that in your dorm?

SKIP AMASS: Oh, no, no, no, no, oh. Never. You remember, Western Maryland College was a Methodist school. And there was to be absolutely no alcohol on campus whatsoever. So, uh, no. You weren’t allowed to have beer or anything in the dorm. Wine or anything of that sort. Uh, boy, that was instant expulsion if you were found with any of that.

And when, uh, fraternities held their dances in, uh, Gill Gymnasium on the campus, uh, even then there were– there were no alcoholic beverages. I mean, they just served punch, or Coke, or, you know, soft drink. But no alcohol at all.

Uh, that would– I mean, the girls had to be in the dorms at 10 o’clock at night. And, uh, and I think the freshman girls had to be in even earlier than that. And I think on weekends, they could– Saturday nights they could stay out til 11:00.

Uh, and the– the dorms were strictly– they were not coed dorms as they are now. They were strictly segregated dorms. Girls and boys in different dorms. And they had house mothers, and monitors. Uh, guys could go into the lobby of the dorms, and ask for your date. And they would phone up to the floor and the date would come down.

But you couldn’t get past that lobby. No way in the world was anybody going to let you get past that lobby. Not at Western Maryland College. No way. It was pretty straight-laced.

INTERVIEWER: Now, you were telling me a little bit about, your wife was born in Manchester.

SKIP AMASS: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: How has Manchester changed?

SKIP AMASS: Oh, my goodness. Well, she was born in Manchester, and, um, most people who know her from Manchester, her na- call her Patsy. And, she was Patsy till she came to Westminster. Then she decided her name was going to be Pat. Her name’s really Patricia.

So anytime anybody– we see anybody from Carroll County and they say, hi Patsy, we know that they know her from Manchester. Not from anywhere else.

But Manchester was a very small community, much smaller than Westminster. And in Manchester, where the Ma– Manchester Elementary School is now, that was– they only had one school. And it was first grade through the eleventh grade. The whole school system was in that one building. And Mr Richter was principal of the whole thing. Uh, so, you went to school in the first grade, and you stayed in the same school until you graduated in eleventh grade.

They only had 11 grades in those days. And I think they changed over to the 12th grade system around 1951 or ’52, somewhere around there.

And, uh, so the– eventually, as I said, Mr Richter then came to Westminster to become principal here, uh, when my wife was nine years old. And so she grew up the rest of her life here in Westminster.

But Manchester was a very small community. Um, they had a on the corner of, I think it’s, uh, Main and York Street– which is the center of town, where the red light is, they still got a red light there– uh, Carr’s Department Store, which was like a one-floor department store. Uh, they had Miller and Maurer’s Meats, which is still there.

Uh, the fire department. The big entertainment there was, the fire department would do things like they put on little theatrical plays, and they had, uh, dinners and they had dances, and so forth.

But, uh, I think, uh, if you want to look for a really, um, religious, strict, community, Manchester was probably the epitome of that in Carroll County. Uh, the old German Lutheran, Dutch, uh, you know, type of living. Manchester was the center for that.

Uh, the rest of the communities in Carroll County were very conservative. Always have been conservative. Uh, but Manchester was the center of that. Uh, New Windsor and, and, uh, uh, Union Bridge were pretty conservative. Taneytown, uh, where I had a drugstore for many years, uh, was also a very conservative community.

Uh, but all these– all these communities were very close knit. And people, uh, who, for example, went to New Windsor High School, uh, still have reunions, you know. They had a class maybe of 26, or a class of 18, and they’re still meeting. They still have a loyalty to the– to the school. Same thing with Taneytown, who had a high school. Uh, and that’s wonderful. That’s some of the charm and– and greatness of Carroll County.

INTERVIEWER: Now, were there very many minorities? Or were minorities kind of congregated in certain areas?

SKIP AMASS: They did– they did congregate in certain areas. Uh, but, uh there were not many minorities. Uh, I think, um, maybe 2% to 3% black– African Americans– um, and that’s about it. Uh, they had their own schools up until, uh, 1953 or ’54. Um, the black community had its own school– Robert Moton School, which was high school– and, uh, located on Center Street. The building is still there. The health department is in that building now on Center Street.

Uh, but when the elementary school was built out here on– on Washington Road, um, Mr Richard Dixon– who was, uh, a delegate in the Maryland House of Delegates and is– is, uh, black– uh, had gone to Robert Moton Elementary. And he lobbied for this school to be named Robert Moton Elementary to continue that name. Which was a very appropriate thing to do. And I’m very pleased that we did do it.

And, in fact, I understand that once a year, I guess it’s during Black History Month, the children in that school were told why that school was named Robert Moton Elementary. Mr Moton– Robert Moton– was a very distinguished educator. Uh, and that’s why it’s named after him.

And, uh, but, uh, I think they– speaking of Robert Moton– I think those folks, for example, still have a reunion every year of Robert Moton graduates. And, uh, they try to keep the spirit alive. They even give out scholarships. Uh, they have a Robert Moton scholarship fund. Which is a wonderful thing to do for minority students.

But minorities have always been a– a very small percentage of Carroll County, for a number of different reasons. But a very close knit group of folks, um, they’re– uh, they have intermarried, a lot of them. Um, they’re– uh, they know each other very well. And wonderful, wonderful people.

When I was– Reed’s moved from, uh, Main Street out to the Westminster Shopping Center, I mentioned before, we had, uh, a couple, uh, minority– uh, black people who worked with us. One as a waitress, and, uh, I think she was one of the first black waitresses in a white environment in Carroll County. And, unfortunately, we did have some people who were upset about that and protested.

But we had a store manager, uh, by the name of Elwood Whitaker. And Elwood said, I don’t care if you don’t ever come in the store again. She’s a good waitress and she’s going to stay a waitress. And, uh, he stuck to it, and we never really lost any business. And, uh, it was a wonderful thing.

And we had a couple, uh, people working for us, one as a porter. uh, Bernard Millbury, uh, who has since passed on, unfortunately. Uh, but I remember one time Bernard came to us and said he had to have Wednesday afternoon off. And we said, why do you have to have a Wednesday afternoon off for? And he said, well, I got to go to Frederick to get my haircut. And we said, Bernard you’ve got to go to Frederick? And he said, there aren’t any barbers in Carroll County that will cut black hair.

And so, you know, it was a different way of life. And this was in the ’50s. And so things have radically changed, thank goodness, for the better. But there were few of them here. And, uh, it was a shame some of the things that they had to put up with.

Actually the Robert Moton school that was on Center Street was a very inferior building. Uh, when eventually the school board took it over, when I was on the school board, and, uh, we took that building over and tried to do some things with it. Well, it didn’t have proper installation. It didn’t have proper wiring, and so forth. It had been built as a substandard school building and it had to be upgraded.

And, uh, so when the schools were integrated in Carroll County and, uh, the blacks were moved into the white buildings, it was a good thing as far as the facilities, uh, being available to them.

INTERVIEWER: That’s interesting. Yeah. Now, tell me a little bit more, too, about, um– I wanted to ask you a little bit about when Reed’s went out of business. You were saying that it was over in the shopping center, and then what happened with that?

SKIP AMASS: Yes. Well, the entire Reed’s drug chain– which, uh, encompassed most of Maryland– uh, was sold to Rite Aid. And, uh, the Rite Aid drug company came in and took over all of the Reed’s drugstores not only here in Carroll, but everywhere else in the state.

And across the street in the meantime, was another shopping center called Carroll Plaza, which is still there, of course. And there was a drugstore on the corner which was owned by the Drug Fair corporation, which was a very large corporation in Maryland and Virginia. And they were, at first, bought out by Sherman Williams, the paint people. And then eventually sold two or three times, and they became Rite Aid also. So Rite Aid bought up both Drug Fair and Reed’s drugstores. Uh, so that’s what happened to them. They disappeared as a result of the corporate buyout.

INTERVIEWER: So when you look back at Carroll County, what most stand out– stands out in your mind? What’s some of your most favorite memories of the county?

SKIP AMASS: Well, the people. The people that I’ve lived and worked with all these years. Um, I still go, as I say, to some of the church suppers, and dinners, and pancake breakfasts. And people come up to me all the time and say, hey doc, remember when we were at Reed’s? Or remember when we were here? Remember when you had your store in Taneytown? Or you had your store in Finksburg. Um, what a good time we had. Or I used to work for you.

Uh, you know, I look around in the county, and– and some of the people who started out as just kids working in my stores, uh, you know, have gone on and had great successful careers. Uh, Todd Herring, who’s, uh– owns, uh, physical therapist and owns a wonderful, uh, sports rehabilitation business here in the county. Um, Wayne Glover, another pharmacists who worked for me. Um, oh, the names just go on and on and on.

Um, Bruce Calvin, who was a supervisor of athletics in Carroll County school system. All these people started out as 15, 16-year-old kids working in my drugstores. A lot of women come up, you know, worked as a soda fountains, and so forth.

And then other people I’ve worked with in the community organizations I belong to. Rotary and, you k

Skip Amass

INTERVIEWER: OK. Mr Amass, if you will be so kind as to please tell me a little bit about your first memories of arriving in Carroll County. I know you said that you first came out for a camp.

SKIP AMASS: Yes. Uh, I was born in Baltimore City. A part of Baltimore called Hollandtown, east Baltimore. And, uh, we were members of, uh, St Paul’s Methodist Church at Monument and Linwood in Baltimore. And my very first memories of Carroll County are when I came out here for Methodist Youth Fellowship camps, MYF, at the– then, uh, Western Maryland College. And I was probably 12 or 13 years old at the time.

And they’d send all the kids out here to the camp, uh, for a week or two. And, uh, I came out here to the camp a couple years in a row. And we also had our Sunday school picnics at Cascade Lake, which is located over near Hampstead and Snydersburg.

And so I fell in love with Carroll County and I decided then that I was going to go to college there. And eventually, when I graduated from high school, I came up to Western Maryland College and enrolled as a freshman.

INTERVIEWER: Now tell me a little bit about some of the things that you did at the camp. What was the college campus like then? And what kind of activities–

SKIP AMASS:The campus was– the main buildings of the campus which are still there, like McDaniel Hall and, um, uh, Alumni Hall, and so forth were– Albert Norman Ward– they were there then. But also there was Old Main, which is– was located where, uh, Big Baker Chapel is now. Uh, Old main and there were two dormitories on each end of that. Uh, and then there was a dining hall, which was in what’s called Hall Hall now.

Um, and– but, uh, since that time, of course, the college has built a lot. New– many, many more new buildings. But it was a very small campus. Student-wise, there were probably only 600 or 700 students there. And everybody knew everybody very well and everybody ate together three times a day.

And in fact part of my scholarship as a Methodist scholarship, was that I had to work as a waiter in a dining hall. So for three meals a day, seven days a week, I worked in the dining hall, uh, waiting on tables. And, in fact, when, uh, summer was here, I stayed and worked at the old Baltimore camp– training camp as a waiter for the Baltimore Colts.

Which was a real hoot because, uh, they got better food than the students did. Mr Rice, who ran the cafeteria, prepared very good meals for them. Uh, but it was a real trip to see how much they ate.

Gino Marchetti, and Arty Donovan, and those guys always had a eating contest. When they would eat– see who could eat the most pieces of chicken, or who could eat the most ears of corn, and so forth. And it was a real trip to– to see all this taking place.

And see all the people who eventually became great stars in the National Football League, like Raymond Berry and Art Donovan and Lenny Moore, and Weeb Ewbank, and John Unitas, and, uh, Jim Parker. And, uh, those guys were, um, big, big celebrities. And, uh, they were– and also they– they did a lot in coming down.

They used to go to the movies in Carroll County. I mean, they’d go down to, uh, the Carroll theater and watch, you know, to see the movies. It was interesting when they went in there because they were so big that, uh, they would sit with a seat in between them. You know, they’d sit in one seat, then empty seat, then a guy would sit in the next seat.

Uh, then there was a place, uh– maybe we shouldn’t talk about this– but there’s a place out on the end of Main Street called Oz and Jenny’s, which is now Stables. Um, which was quite a hangout. And a lot of the Colts would hang out there in the evening and drink beer, and shoot pool, and shuffle board. And, uh, it was quite a– quite a reputation out there with them. But a lot of fun.

INTERVIEWER: Did they tip well?

SKIP AMASS: Did they what?

INTERVIEWER: Did they tip you well?

SKIP AMASS: No! Uh, at the– you mean waiting on the tables. They didn’t tip us at all. Uh, we got paid, of course. And now at the end the training camp, John Steadman was the PR director for the Baltimore Colts, who was also a great sports writer and is in the Sports Hall of Fame for a– for his writing.

Was a great guy and, uh, he would give us a gift at the end of the year. Both monetary and then some Colt memorabilia. Which actually I still have a pair gold cuff links that he gave me, which I guess, uh, if you’re a sports memorabilia fan, are probably worth a lot of money now.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, that’s cool. Now you were also telling me a little bit about, you met your wife here in Carroll County and–

SKIP AMASS: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: –you were married here at the campus. Talk to me a little bit about that.

SKIP AMASS: Uh, well actually what happened was, I came here, uh, in 1950 to go to college. And, uh, then the Korean War broke out. And I was drafted, uh, into the army for the Korean War. And eventually wound up in the Army Medical Corps and was in a MASH outfit in Korea. And then, when I got out of the service, I came back to, uh, Western Maryland, College to finish my college career and get a degree.

And that’s when I met my wife, who’s maiden name was Patricia Richter. And a lot of people in the county would know her because her father and her mother were very active in, uh– had careers themselves in education. And Pat was actually born in Manchester, Maryland. Eventually move to Westminster, Maryland when her father– or Westminster– when her father became principal of Westminster High School. Which he was for many years, and many people remember him as Gerald Richter. R- I- C- H- T- E- R.

And, uh, Pat grew up here, of course then, in Westminster. And we met at– on the campus and eventually decided to marry. And we graduated in 1957. And then were married– that was the June of ’57– and we were married in December of ’57 in what is called Little Baker Chapel, on the campus.

And a lot of people who met at Western Maryland College got married in that chapel. And we did also in December of 1957. And this is being filmed in November of 1957. So one more month from now and we’ll be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Congratulations.

SKIP AMASS: Thank you very much.

INTERVIEWER: Now, talk to me a little bit about your in-laws. You said that your father-in-law went on to become superintendent.

SKIP AMASS: Yes. He, uh, he was principal of Westminster High School for many years. Uh, then he became, uh, supervisor of high school education in, uh, Carroll County.

Originally, you know, there was, uh, a lot of the communities had high schools like Manchester and– and, uh, Taneytown, and Sykesville. And then they started consolidating the high schools. And they built Francis Scott Key, I think that was the first one. And then Taneytown and New Windsor and Union Bridge joined in. And that became the Francis Scott Key High School.

And then they built, uh, Liberty High School and that– or South Carroll High School, excuse me, first. And Sykesville and that– that whole group moved in to South Carroll High School.

So he was supervisor of high school education and then eventually became superintendent of schools, uh, for Talbot county. And so he moved down to the eastern shore with Mrs Richter, his wife for a number of years. And they were down there as superintendent. Eventually he retired, move back here to Carroll County, and was very active in the Historical Society, and, uh, the Westminster Rotary Club, and the Chamber of Commerce. So a lot of people here have very fond memories of Mr Richter.

And also Mrs Richter. She started her career as actually a French teacher at Westminster High School when she graduated from Western Maryland College. Uh, then stopped teaching to have Pat and raise Pat. And then went back to teaching as an elementary school teacher.

And she taught the second grade at Westminster Elementary, which was located on Green Street. Green and Center Street where, uh, the Westminster Inn, as people know now. That building, which originally started out as the Westminster High School, it became the Westminster Elementary School.

She taught second grade and when my wife Pat went into education, she taught third grade in the same building, room’s next to each other. So the poor children had the mother for the second grade and the daughter for the third grade. So they went from mother to daughter.

But they both were very excellent teachers. And people speak very, very fondly of both of them. A lot of people come up and say to my wife, do you remember me? You know, you taught me in the third grade. Same thing happened to my mother-in-law.

Um, an interesting thing happened to my father-in-law a few years ago, before he died. People used to come up and say, oh Mr Richter, uh, you were principal of Westminster High School when I was there. And he would always say, well, what year did you graduate? So one time we were at a wedding here at a big church in Carroll County and somebody came up and said, oh Mr Richter you were principal of the high school when I was there. And he said, oh, what year did you graduate? And this gentleman said, oh, I didn’t graduate, you expelled me. So there was this long silence. And then finally the guy said, but that was the best thing that ever happened to me. I joined the Marines and became a man. He said, eventually I got my GED and everything is fine. But a little– little testy there, you know.

But, uh, anyway. Um, and then I decided to become a pharmacist. And, uh, I worked, uh– I went to pharmacy school in Baltimore and commuted from Westminster all away in to Baltimore. Downtown Baltimore, to go to pharmacy school while my wife taught school here.

And then I went to work for Reed’s Drugstores, which a lot of people will remember. And Reed’s was located on Main Street in Westminster here, uh, right across from where the Carroll County Public Library building is now. In those days it was Saint John’s Church.

And, uh, we used to, for example, on Saturday nights we’d stay open until 11 o’clock at night. Because all the farmers in Carroll County would come in to shop late on Saturday nights after they had done all their chores on the farm. And so you stayed open late to accommodate your customers. And, uh, we were there on Main Street for many years, or Reed’s had been.

And eventually the Westminster shopping center was built, which is the shopping center at Angler Road and 140. And Reed’s moved out there. And that was the very first shopping center on 140.

And a lot of people said, oh, my gosh, you guys are going to go broke out there because nobody is going to travel all the way out there to do business. I mean, they aren’t going to go from Main Street all way out to Angler Road and 140. Well, of course, that didn’t happen. We did very well out there.

By the way, when I first came to Carroll County to the– the, you know, as I talked about come up to MYF camps and so forth. 140 as a dual highway ended on 140 where the Royal Farm store is down on Bethel Road now. That’s as far as it was built.

And you had to go on Bethel Road over to Main Street, or Baltimore Boulevard, or whatever it’s called now. And then come all the way in to town. Uh, th– that’s how that has changed. But then eventually it was built all the way up to where it is now, like 140 is now.

But we went out there to the shopping center and– and then eventually another one was– Carroll Plaza was built across the street. And Wampler’s furniture store came where the BB&T bank building is now. And so a lot of changes started to take place.

INTERVIEWER: And what happened to the location where Reed’s had been? After they moved out to the shopping center, what went in there?

SKIP AMASS: Uh, right now, I think that’s the entrance to, uh, what’s, uh Sherwood Plaza or Sherwood Mall, whatever they call that, on Main Street. Where you go in and Rhoten’s Barber Shop is on one side. And I think there’s a tuxedo store on the other, and so forth.

If you go in there’s a little up incline and you walk up. That used to have one in the terrazzo floor. It used to say Reed’s, I think they’ve covered that up now. But that was the entrance to Reed’s drugstore there.

And, uh, then, uh, there were a number of drugstores on Main Street in those days. There was Schmidts Rexall drugstore, which was also just a few doors away. It’s move down to the other end of town now.

There was Rasinsky’s drugstore. Judge Marc Rasinsky here in the county now, his– that was his father, uh, Rasinsky’s drugstore. And then on the corner of John and Street and, uh, Main Street was another drugstore called Bixler and Guyle. Uh, they had two different gentleman– one named Bixler, one named Guyle– owned that store. So there were a number of drugstores on Main Street in those days.

And, uh, there were, of course, many doctors in the county who did house calls. We didn’t have a hospital either, by the way. There was no hospital. And eventually there was a hospital built and it opened in 1961. And I was the very first pharmacist for Carroll County Hospital.

Doctor Dan Wellover came to me and said, we don’t have any pharmacy services. How about you coming, and setting up the pharmacy services, and being the pharmacist? I agreed to do it. I actually did it on a part time basis. Can you imagine a hospital having a part time pharmacist?

But that’s the way it opened in 1961 and we worked that way for about six or seven months. And then they decided they needed a full-time pharmacist, and I didn’t want to be a hospital pharmacist. So, uh, what they found one and I went back to being just a full-time retail pharmacist.

INTERVIEWER: And you were still at Reed’s at that point?

SKIP AMASS: Yes. I was still at Reed’s drugstore in those days.

INTERVIEWER: Now, you were talking a little bit about when you attended, um, Western Maryland that you used to catch– or actually hitchhike.

SKIP AMASS: Yes. Oh, yeah. Absolutely. And I was talking to somebody else about that the other day, and they said they did the same thing. Um, if I wanted to go home, I didn’t have a car in those days, and, uh, if I wanted to go home to Baltimore, I’d just, uh, go out, uh, on Main Street and– or down to 140. And I’d stick out my thumb.

And you’d be there maybe 10 minutes or 15 minutes. Somebody’d pick you up. They knew you were college student or a student. And they’d take you all way down to Reistertown. If you got to Reistertown you could get on a street car, and go to the rest of the way. Or if they were going all the way into Baltimore, they’d take you all the way in to Baltimore.

Uh, and I have to come back on Sunday nights because Western Maryland College had compulsory chapel at that time. All the students had to go to chapel at– be there at 7 o’clock on Sunday nights was required. And so I’d have to come back.

Well, I’d get a street car out to Reistertown, get off and walk up 140. Stick out my thumb, and somebody’d pick me up and bring me all the way back up. Most of the time they’d say, you going on to college? I’d say, yeah. And they’d drive you right up to the college, whether they were going that far or not.

And it wasn’t hard to do. I mean, you’d be picked up in– inside of 15 minutes, easily. And– and get a ride, and it was not a problem. People didn’t have the hesitation they have today about picking up hitchhikers. And, uh, so it was easy to do.

And, uh, there was– you could also, uh, if you wanted to, uh, up until about 1950– I think, ’51 or ’51, maybe ’53– uh, the Western Maryland train actually ran passenger service, uh, to Baltimore. And you could get a train to Reistertown, I think was $0.70 or $0.72 to ride the train. It was like a dollar and something to go to Baltimore. Uh, downtown Baltimore. So you could come back and forth on the train if you wanted to.

INTERVIEWER: Now where did that– where did you get on?

SKIP AMASS: You got on right where the train crosses Main Street right now. Railroad Avenue and Main Street where Joe Hanson’s restaurant is. Uh, right opposite that, on the corner, was where the train station was.

And it was there until I think about 1955 or ’56 when they tore it down. And that red brick building was built where it was a bank, Baltimore Federal Savings bank. And now I think it’s a law office. Uh, but, uh, they tore down the train station which was a real shame because it was a beautiful, beautiful train station.

In fact, I have a hobby of model trains, and one of the parts of my layout is old Main Street. And I have a replica of that train station in my train layout.

And I also have a replica of Main Street. I have the, uh, building on the corner. Which was the, uh, the yellow building where the Sam’s Bagels is now. Uh, that is there. It was the Acme store. On the first floor was a hotel actually.

And I have the old Rexall drugstore. I have Harry’s Lunch, which was in one of those buildings farther up there. Not the way they were exactly, but replica. I have Mather’s Department store, which is Coffey’s Music store right now. Uh, and, uh, a couple other buildings that were on Main Street.

I have Saint John’s Church and– which is where the public library is. And I have the fireman’s building. And, uh, all of those things are in my layout to represent, uh, Westminster as it was in those days. It’s really Westminster in the 1930s.

But people come in, and they look at it, and they, uh, say, oh, my goodness. The– the train station is there as well as what was the freight building, the Western Maryland freight shed. Which is a little farther down on Railroad Avenue towards Manchester behind Johansson’s.

The building that was Bumgardner’s stove and furnace store, uh, that was the Western Maryland freight shed where people picked up their freight.

INTERVIEWER: And Main Street was pretty much the only place for shopping at that time.

SKIP AMASS: Oh, absolutely. Uh, I mean, you had a shopping area in the small towns, like Manchester and Sykesville. But not nearly as much as Westminster. Uh, they were the shopping hub.

Now, at, uh, Christmas time and– and holiday times, Easter and so forth, a lot of people took the train and went in to Baltimore and shopped, you know, at the department stores in downtown Baltimore. Stewart’s, and Hochschild Kohn’s, and Hutzler’s, and places like that.

Or, if they had cars, uh, they would go up to Hanover and shop up there. Uh, sometimes to Frederick, but primarily people went in to Baltimore to do their big shopping, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: So when you first came out here, and you fell in love, what was it about Carroll County that really inspired you?

SKIP AMASS: Well, I loved– I loved the rolling hills. I loved the scenery. And I loved the people, which I still do. Uh, the people of Carroll County were unbelievably friendly and nice and– and, uh, it just was a wonderful place to live. I realized that from a very, very early age. Uh, and I still believe that.

I–I still love going around. Uh, my wife and I go to the church suppers, uh, to the pancake breakfasts at the churches and the fire halls that are still held. And it’s–it’s a real treat. Uh, I go to a Wednesday a– mornings at lunchtime, down to Patapsco Methodist to the lunch they have down there every Wednesday. And it’s just a wonderful treat to meet the people and talk to them. There’s still a lot of, quote/unquote, “real Carroll County people” around.

And a lot of people moved out here, uh, because of that. And have adopted that philosophy and that way of life. And, uh, being kind to each other and treating each other well, and– and doing what’s the r– what I consider the right thing and I think they do too.

And I think that’s the beauty of Carroll County. Uh, not only the scenery and– and the– the beautiful rolling countryside, uh, but the beauty of the people who live here. And the people who want to live here and– and, uh, live– live a lifestyle which is very pleasant.

My wife and I have traveled all over the world– uh, east and west, and just about everywhere in a world– but every time we come back, it’s interesting, we always say the same thing. It’s sort of a family joke.

Uh, we’re in the car and we come back. And when we cross the line, no matter which way we’re coming, uh, into Carroll County, we say, ah, home again. It’s great to be back in Carroll County. Whether we’re coming in from the Pennsylvania side, the Frederick County side, the Ballmer County side, it’s just great to say, ah, we’re home again. We love it.

INTERVIEWER: Now are there any changes that you’re not particularly fond of? Are there things that have changed about Carroll County that you would prefer have not to have changed?

SKIP AMASS: Well, I guess, you know, it’s the old story about people move out to Carroll County and they want to build a fence and don’t let anybody else come. Uh, you know, keep all of strangers out. And so-called progress, you know. Keep Carroll County rural and so forth.

Well I don’t think that that’s possible. Uh, but, um, it– it would be nice if we could keep it, uh, as pleasant as it has been in the way we want it to be. Uh, I think there’s still tremendously beautiful areas in the county, which are open, and rolling, and so forth.

If you can ride some of the back roads of Carroll County, um, rather than just the main highways, uh, you would see still beautiful rolling hills, beautiful farmland, um, and gorgeous things. And I would hope that it would stay that way. Uh, I think we have– we probably have more crime then we had years ago, but that, I guess, comes with the increase in population.

For example, I was on the school board for many years, 8 1/2 years. President of the school board, I went on in 1971, I believe. And the school system in those days, uh, I think we only had 15 school buildings. And now, uh, I think they’re close to 40 school buildings. So the education system has enormously increased, as has the population, which is proportioned. So, that’s growth.

And just look along 140 itself. Uh, when we moved from Main Street as Reed’s drugstore out to the Westminster Shopping Center, the only thing located on Westminster– on 140, there was nothing else all the way into Reisterstown.

Well, look now what you have out there. I mean, you have car dealerships everywhere. Um, W H Davis I think was the first car dealership that went from Main Street all the way out to 140.

Uh, but the police barracks wasn’t there. None of that stuff was there. And so, it’s just the enormous, the growth along there. And that’s what I think people who’ve been around here many years miss, and lament the fact that that growth is there. But, uh, I don’t see any way of stopping it. But, uh, and let’s just hope we can manage it, and control it, and– and keep it the way we want it to be.

INTERVIEWER: Now when were on the school board, you were one of the people who made the visionary decision to buy all the land.

SKIP AMASS: Yeah, that was a big controversy. Um, we bought 70 acres here on Washington Road to put the Westminster High School out here– the new Westminster High School. Now, we got a lot of flack from a lot of people for buying that 70 acres.

First off, because who wanted a school all the way that far out of town? You’re going to build an auditorium out there and nobody’s going to go out there, uh, at– late at night, you know. That’s so far out of town. Well, of course, that’s crazy because the Westminster High School auditorium, you cannot find a night, weekend, day, afternoon when it’s not in use. People are constantly out here.

But also, on that 70 acres, look now what is located on that 70 acres. You have the Westminster High School. You have the Carroll County Vo-Tech center. You have the fire and safety training grounds. You have the Robert Moton Elementary School. You have this radio– this television station. And you have Carroll Community College.

All of it located on that 70 acres that we bought back in 1971. Um, where in the world the county be if they tried to go out and buy that ground now, uh, to do those things. Or even in the last few years, to try to do it. The money was so well invested in buying those acres for that ground for the educational complex.

INTERVIEWER: Now, were there any other pieces of property that you did similar types of things?

SKIP AMASS: Yes, we did. Uh, we bought a piece of property out on, um, on Union Town Road. Uh, which, uh, was where the Westminster Elementary School eventually moved to, and still is out there.

The sad thing about that is, we bought the ground all the way up to, uh, Bell Road. Which was supposed to be for expansion of a, uh, Westminster Middle School, new middle school. Well, unfortunately, the county commissioners traded that ground for a piece of ground out at the Carroll County Airport to extend a runway.

Uh, which I thought at the time, and I still think, was a bad deal. I don’t think they should have done that. Uh, they should have held on to that piece of ground, uh, and bought the ground out there for the airport if it really needed to be expanded. Um, because, uh, that was a great piece of ground for an– for a middle school and they shouldn’t have given that up.

We bought the ground for, uh, the North Carroll High School, uh, which, uh, was bought from the hospital. It actually was a piece of ground owned by the Carroll County Hospital that had been deeded to them, uh, by a very nice family. When they died, they left it to the hospital. Hospital turned around and sold it to the Board of Education for North Carroll High School.

And, uh, that was a wonderful purchase, too, because that school just sits perfectly where it should be. And, uh, what– what– fit very well in that community.

Uh, uh, I think, uh, trying to think what else we bought. Um, when– when I went on the board, I think we had 15 school properties, 15 school buildings. And I think when I went– went off, we had 28. So it had grown that much in eight years, uh, the county school system. And it continues to grow.

And we have a very good school system. We have an excellent school system. Dr Echer, who’s the princ– uh, superintendent now, does a magnificent job. And, uh, the people try to do very well by the school system.

INTERVIEWER: Now, tell me a little bit more about the airport. Did you– have you seen changes in the airport since you’ve been here?

SKIP AMASS: Oh, sure. Uh, when I first came here, the airport was out there on 97 where it still is. But it was simply a grass piece of ground. Uh, there was no paved runway. It was just a grass strip. And there was a little wooden shack by the side of the road, literally about the size of a garage.

And, uh, no hangars. And, uh, people just pulled up their little private planes and flew in and out of there. I don’t think there were any lights of any sort, and so forth.

And then eventually, uh, somebody paved it. And it became, uh, you know, a small runway out there. And, uh, then it grew up. And the Economic Development Commission in the county decided, uh, to make that whole area out there the Carroll Industrial Park.

And so they bought a lot of ground. And they moved the airport back, from 97 back to where it is now. And they started building the buildings in front of it for the Carroll Industrial Park.

Then I think the runway’s been extended two or three times, uh, maybe more than that. Uh, uh, the hangars have been built. The parking area for the airplanes have been paved, and so forth. Lights have been put in, and all those sort of things. And it’s been turned into a pretty decent airport.

A number of years ago– I’m a member of the Westminster Rotary Club– and a number of years ago, myself and another gentleman by the name of Bill Gavin, we chaired a, uh, uh, Westminster air show, Air– Air Spectacular. And for two years we ran an airshow out there, where we brought in World War II planes. And we actually had, uh, fighter planes and bomber planes. And we reenacted, uh, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Tora! Tora! Tora!

And, uh, had explosions and pyrotechnics that were spectacular. And we had hundreds of airplanes, aerobatic things, wing walkers, and, and, uh, aerobatics in the air. And all kinds of things. Actually had one act where a little plane came down and landed on top of a pickup truck. And, uh, it was quite a– quite a– air show.

We had, uh, in the two days that it ran the first time– uh, a Saturday and a Sunday– I think we had probably 25,000 or 30,000 people there. And then the next year, we run it again, a Saturday and Sunday, and that year I think we had some weather problems but we still at about 20,000, 25,000. But it was a tremendous success, and people really loved it. It was great.

INTERVIEWER: Why did you stop it?

SKIP AMASS: Well, a lot of things happened. Uh, we had problems with the permits. The, you know, lot of people got involved. And they wanted different kinds of permits. And the FAA with the planes, and the pyrotechnics, and so forth. So it got to be, uh, such a problem that we just backed away from it. The Rotary Club did.

Now, uh, some other people took it over and tried to run it for a few years. And, uh, they were not very successful at all. Uh, unfortunately, and I felt sorry for them. But the Rotary Club, we just backed out of it.

INTERVIEWER: Now are there other activities or events that have been popular for years or decades here in Carroll County?

SKIP AMASS: Oh, quite a few. The farm museum. Uh, you know, Fall Harvest Days, and– and things like that. The Rotary Club, uh, we used to have a food stand out at Fall Harvest Days at the Carroll County Farm Museum and sell crab cakes. Uh, we haven’t done that for a few years, but that that whole Fall Harvest Day has grown tremendously. Um, the steam shows at the Farm Museum have just become tremendously popular.

Um, so, um, the wine tasting, uh, wine festival that they have. I’ve seen that grow from a very small event when it first started to now being a wonderful celebration where people come from all over the east coast, actually, to it. It’s advertised very well and done very well.

Um, the fireworks display at the Farm Museum, which the Rotary Club now sponsors each and every year on the 4th of July, uh, has become a big event. And well– well-populated and enjoyed by everyone. Uh, the Rotary Club has to raise a lot of money every year, uh, thanks to a man named Joe Leggy, uh, can do– does it. And he’s been the chairman since the inception. And, uh, but it’s a tremendous event for the county. Uh, so we’ve been involved in that.

And then, uh, about the last five or six years, a gentleman I named before– Mr Bill Gavin– and I we have a hobby of model trains. Uh, which were always big in Carroll County. A lot of people are into model trains. And we build a four foot by eight foot layout every year.

And we sell raffle tickets for the Rotary Club to raise money for things like nursing scholarship at the Carroll Community College, and so forth. And, uh, we take it around to various train shows, to Mistletoemart, and eventually we take it out to the mall. And it’s there for three weeks and we sell raffle tickets.

And then on December the 22nd we raffle it off, and deliver it on December the 23rd. And it’s pretty exciting when we deliver that train layout to different people’s homes. Uh, they get very excited about and they really enjoy it.

INTERVIEWER: Now, you said a lot of people here in Carroll County like model trains. Were there a lot of model train shops, or how did that interest–

SKIP AMASS: We used to have model train shops. Uh, there aren’t so many anymore. We have– we have one down in Sykesville, Perky’s. And we have one on Liberty Road. Um, I can’t think of the name of that one. uh, but, uh, years ago, we had Bobby’s Hobby Lobby on Main Street in Westminster. And that was a very, very popular train store. Sold model airplanes and things like that.

And they used to have a model train layout right in the center of the store. And you could go in and press a button or two, and the trains would run, and different kind of animation. And, of course, in December– November and December, they were very busy selling train parts.

And also Miller’s Electric, which is lo– was located on Main Street and Anchor Street. Where the Rexall Drugstore is now. Uh, he sold Lionel model trains, which were very, very popular. And, uh, he had a display in there– Mr Miller– and, uh, everybody went there to see his display. And– and to buy parts and buy trains from him, and so forth.

Uh, there were a lot of hardware stores that sold trains in those days, like Western Auto stores. And each little community had a hardware store like in Manchester, in Hampstead, Sykesville. And these folks were dealers for Lionel and American Flyer trains. And in October, November, and December they would be very busy selling trains.

And there’s an association called a Train Collectors of America. And, uh, which, if you’re in the hobby business, uh, you belong to that. I mean, not in a business, but if you’re a hobbyist, you belong to. And I think one of the highest concentrations of members in that association, which is nationwide associated, actually come from Carroll County. There’s a lot of people in this county who have model train layouts and are collectors and that really enjoy them.

INTERVIEWER: I know that’s true in Mt Airy.

SKIP AMASS: The– uh, Mt Airy has a store now, I believe. And, of course, most people in Carroll County, uh, want western Maryland trains. You know, because, uh, Western Maryland ran through here. And this was the home of the Western Maryland Railroad. And, uh, it’s still based– it’s Maryland Midland now– but it was based over in Union Bridge. And, uh, so most people in this county, in this area, uh, want to run either Western Maryland trains or B&O trains, Baltimore and Ohio.

INTERVIEWER: Now, when you’re in college and as a young married person what did you do for fun? Where did you go?

SKIP AMASS: Oh. Well, um, we didn’t have very much money. Very little, in fact. And so, a big night was actually, this doesn’t sound right, but a big night was– was getting a pizza and a, uh, six pack of beer and sitting in a– in an apartment somewhere or at your house with some friends and enjoying it. Maybe watching television if you had one.

Um, or going to the movies. We would go to the Carroll Theater. Uh, there were two movies in Carroll County, in Westminster at the time.

Uh, one was Carroll and one was the State Theater. Uh, the State was located on the opposite side of the street where the Carroll Theater is now. Uh, at John and Main Street. Uh, it’s– there was a JC Penney’s department store there. And the State Theater was next door. So those were the two movie theaters that you could go to. Um, and so we would go to movies.

We would go out to Frock’s which was located on Liberty Street. Uh, there’s a retirement community there now. But Frock’s was a– a banquet hall. And, uh, they would have dances out there. In fact, when we went to Western Maryland, a lot of fraternities had fraternity parties out there and dances. Uh, but that was another form of recreation for young people.

Uh, we’d go out to Frock’s to dances. The Lion’s Club, and the Rotary Club, and the Kiwanis Club [INAUDIBLE] would have these affairs and you would go out there. Then there was a theatrical group in Carroll County called the Carroll Players. And they used to put on production plays. And, uh, they would have a– a dinner theater. Where you could go out to Frock’s and part of your ticket price was you got a dinner, and then they put on the show.

And they put on pretty decent shows, you know. Uh, uh, shows, uh, comedies usually. Um, uh, what’s the old show, uh, Sunshine Boys. Which I guess had Walter Matthau and– and so forth in, And when I was on Broadway and in the movies. But anyway, shows like that.

And, uh, they were very, very, very entertaining. And, uh, good things to do. Uh, so those are the types of things that we did.

INTERVIEWER: Were there any popular bands? Like local bands.

SKIP AMASS: Oh, yes. Yeah. And that’s another thing. You would go out to Frock’s there would have– these dance would have– bands would come and play and you’d go out there and have a– have a dance. Um. Uh.

INTERVIEWER: Do you remember any of the names of the groups?

SKIP AMASS: That’s what I’m trying to think of some of the names of the bands. I can’t pull them up right away. Gene Frock himself had a band, uh, and a number of different people played in that. Um, no, I can’t right off the top my head think of any of them. But some of them were more popular than others.

And of course, in the early ’50s, uh, it was still the swing era. So they were the big bands. You know, with 21 pieces and everybody, the swing, and jitterbug, and things like that.

And then eventually it became rock ‘n’ roll and dancing evolved, you know. But I guess a lot of people are going back to the swing now.

INTERVIEWER: So when you were in college, where did you live?

SKIP AMASS: I lived in– on campus and in– in the dorms. I first lived in a dorm called McKinstry Hall, which was attached to Old Main. Which is building I told you that was torn down. Eventually when I came back from Korea and came back to school, McKinstry Hall been torn down. And I moved into a dorm called Albert Norman Ward Hall then.

Uh, so we lived on campus at that time. And most students did. Now, some of the students who were married, uh, lived in a place called Vetville. Um, and Vetville is– still exists. It’s down, uh, if you know where the car wash is– Duke’s Car Wash on– off of 140– the one story flat buildings behind that, um, are what was Vetville.

And those buildings were actually built for military personnel who were trained at Western Maryland College during the Second World War. And after they left, the college took over the property and turned them into apartments. And returning veterans from Second– Second World War and the Korean War, who were married, lived in those little small apartments there. Um, and then eventually they were sold and they’re still there as apartment. And people live in– in those buildings. But they were– those buildings go all the way back to the Second World War.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, that’s interesting.

SKIP AMASS: And so married students live down there when I– and that’s what I was talking about when I said if you had a married friend who lived in Vetville, you know, that’s when you got the pizza, and the six pack of beer, and you went down and played cards with them on a Saturday night, or something like that. Just sat around.

INTERVIEWER: You weren’t allowed to do that in your dorm?

SKIP AMASS: Oh, no, no, no, no, oh. Never. You remember, Western Maryland College was a Methodist school. And there was to be absolutely no alcohol on campus whatsoever. So, uh, no. You weren’t allowed to have beer or anything in the dorm. Wine or anything of that sort. Uh, boy, that was instant expulsion if you were found with any of that.

And when, uh, fraternities held their dances in, uh, Gill Gymnasium on the campus, uh, even then there were– there were no alcoholic beverages. I mean, they just served punch, or Coke, or, you know, soft drink. But no alcohol at all.

Uh, that would– I mean, the girls had to be in the dorms at 10 o’clock at night. And, uh, and I think the freshman girls had to be in even earlier than that. And I think on weekends, they could– Saturday nights they could stay out til 11:00.

Uh, and the– the dorms were strictly– they were not coed dorms as they are now. They were strictly segregated dorms. Girls and boys in different dorms. And they had house mothers, and monitors. Uh, guys could go into the lobby of the dorms, and ask for your date. And they would phone up to the floor and the date would come down.

But you couldn’t get past that lobby. No way in the world was anybody going to let you get past that lobby. Not at Western Maryland College. No way. It was pretty straight-laced.

INTERVIEWER: Now, you were telling me a little bit about, your wife was born in Manchester.

SKIP AMASS: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: How has Manchester changed?

SKIP AMASS: Oh, my goodness. Well, she was born in Manchester, and, um, most people who know her from Manchester, her na- call her Patsy. And, she was Patsy till she came to Westminster. Then she decided her name was going to be Pat. Her name’s really Patricia.

So anytime anybody– we see anybody from Carroll County and they say, hi Patsy, we know that they know her from Manchester. Not from anywhere else.

But Manchester was a very small community, much smaller than Westminster. And in Manchester, where the Ma– Manchester Elementary School is now, that was– they only had one school. And it was first grade through the eleventh grade. The whole school system was in that one building. And Mr Richter was principal of the whole thing. Uh, so, you went to school in the first grade, and you stayed in the same school until you graduated in eleventh grade.

They only had 11 grades in those days. And I think they changed over to the 12th grade system around 1951 or ’52, somewhere around there.

And, uh, so the– eventually, as I said, Mr Richter then came to Westminster to become principal here, uh, when my wife was nine years old. And so she grew up the rest of her life here in Westminster.

But Manchester was a very small community. Um, they had a on the corner of, I think it’s, uh, Main and York Street– which is the center of town, where the red light is, they still got a red light there– uh, Carr’s Department Store, which was like a one-floor department store. Uh, they had Miller and Maurer’s Meats, which is still there.

Uh, the fire department. The big entertainment there was, the fire department would do things like they put on little theatrical plays, and they had, uh, dinners and they had dances, and so forth.

But, uh, I think, uh, if you want to look for a really, um, religious, strict, community, Manchester was probably the epitome of that in Carroll County. Uh, the old German Lutheran, Dutch, uh, you know, type of living. Manchester was the center for that.

Uh, the rest of the communities in Carroll County were very conservative. Always have been conservative. Uh, but Manchester was the center of that. Uh, New Windsor and, and, uh, uh, Union Bridge were pretty conservative. Taneytown, uh, where I had a drugstore for many years, uh, was also a very conservative community.

Uh, but all these– all these communities were very close knit. And people, uh, who, for example, went to New Windsor High School, uh, still have reunions, you know. They had a class maybe of 26, or a class of 18, and they’re still meeting. They still have a loyalty to the– to the school. Same thing with Taneytown, who had a high school. Uh, and that’s wonderful. That’s some of the charm and– and greatness of Carroll County.

INTERVIEWER: Now, were there very many minorities? Or were minorities kind of congregated in certain areas?

SKIP AMASS: They did– they did congregate in certain areas. Uh, but, uh there were not many minorities. Uh, I think, um, maybe 2% to 3% black– African Americans– um, and that’s about it. Uh, they had their own schools up until, uh, 1953 or ’54. Um, the black community had its own school– Robert Moton School, which was high school– and, uh, located on Center Street. The building is still there. The health department is in that building now on Center Street.

Uh, but when the elementary school was built out here on– on Washington Road, um, Mr Richard Dixon– who was, uh, a delegate in the Maryland House of Delegates and is– is, uh, black– uh, had gone to Robert Moton Elementary. And he lobbied for this school to be named Robert Moton Elementary to continue that name. Which was a very appropriate thing to do. And I’m very pleased that we did do it.

And, in fact, I understand that once a year, I guess it’s during Black History Month, the children in that school were told why that school was named Robert Moton Elementary. Mr Moton– Robert Moton– was a very distinguished educator. Uh, and that’s why it’s named after him.

And, uh, but, uh, I think they– speaking of Robert Moton– I think those folks, for example, still have a reunion every year of Robert Moton graduates. And, uh, they try to keep the spirit alive. They even give out scholarships. Uh, they have a Robert Moton scholarship fund. Which is a wonderful thing to do for minority students.

But minorities have always been a– a very small percentage of Carroll County, for a number of different reasons. But a very close knit group of folks, um, they’re– uh, they have intermarried, a lot of them. Um, they’re– uh, they know each other very well. And wonderful, wonderful people.

When I was– Reed’s moved from, uh, Main Street out to the Westminster Shopping Center, I mentioned before, we had, uh, a couple, uh, minority– uh, black people who worked with us. One as a waitress, and, uh, I think she was one of the first black waitresses in a white environment in Carroll County. And, unfortunately, we did have some people who were upset about that and protested.

But we had a store manager, uh, by the name of Elwood Whitaker. And Elwood said, I don’t care if you don’t ever come in the store again. She’s a good waitress and she’s going to stay a waitress. And, uh, he stuck to it, and we never really lost any business. And, uh, it was a wonderful thing.

And we had a couple, uh, people working for us, one as a porter. uh, Bernard Millbury, uh, who has since passed on, unfortunately. Uh, but I remember one time Bernard came to us and said he had to have Wednesday afternoon off. And we said, why do you have to have a Wednesday afternoon off for? And he said, well, I got to go to Frederick to get my haircut. And we said, Bernard you’ve got to go to Frederick? And he said, there aren’t any barbers in Carroll County that will cut black hair.

And so, you know, it was a different way of life. And this was in the ’50s. And so things have radically changed, thank goodness, for the better. But there were few of them here. And, uh, it was a shame some of the things that they had to put up with.

Actually the Robert Moton school that was on Center Street was a very inferior building. Uh, when eventually the school board took it over, when I was on the school board, and, uh, we took that building over and tried to do some things with it. Well, it didn’t have proper installation. It didn’t have proper wiring, and so forth. It had been built as a substandard school building and it had to be upgraded.

And, uh, so when the schools were integrated in Carroll County and, uh, the blacks were moved into the white buildings, it was a good thing as far as the facilities, uh, being available to them.

INTERVIEWER: That’s interesting. Yeah. Now, tell me a little bit more, too, about, um– I wanted to ask you a little bit about when Reed’s went out of business. You were saying that it was over in the shopping center, and then what happened with that?

SKIP AMASS: Yes. Well, the entire Reed’s drug chain– which, uh, encompassed most of Maryland– uh, was sold to Rite Aid. And, uh, the Rite Aid drug company came in and took over all of the Reed’s drugstores not only here in Carroll, but everywhere else in the state.

And across the street in the meantime, was another shopping center called Carroll Plaza, which is still there, of course. And there was a drugstore on the corner which was owned by the Drug Fair corporation, which was a very large corporation in Maryland and Virginia. And they were, at first, bought out by Sherman Williams, the paint people. And then eventually sold two or three times, and they became Rite Aid also. So Rite Aid bought up both Drug Fair and Reed’s drugstores. Uh, so that’s what happened to them. They disappeared as a result of the corporate buyout.

INTERVIEWER: So when you look back at Carroll County, what most stand out– stands out in your mind? What’s some of your most favorite memories of the county?

SKIP AMASS: Well, the people. The people that I’ve lived and worked with all these years. Um, I still go, as I say, to some of the church suppers, and dinners, and pancake breakfasts. And people come up to me all the time and say, hey doc, remember when we were at Reed’s? Or remember when we were here? Remember when you had your store in Taneytown? Or you had your store in Finksburg. Um, what a good time we had. Or I used to work for you.

Uh, you know, I look around in the county, and– and some of the people who started out as just kids working in my stores, uh, you know, have gone on and had great successful careers. Uh, Todd Herring, who’s, uh– owns, uh, physical therapist and owns a wonderful, uh, sports rehabilitation business here in the county. Um, Wayne Glover, another pharmacists who worked for me. Um, oh, the names just go on and on and on.

Um, Bruce Calvin, who was a supervisor of athletics in Carroll County school system. All these people started out as 15, 16-year-old kids working in my drugstores. A lot of women come up, you know, worked as a soda fountains, and so forth.

And then other people I’ve worked with in the community organizations I belong to. Rotary and, you know, being on the hospital board, and the Cancer Society, and things like that. Uh, it’s just been wonderful working with these folks. And, uh, enjoying them and having these friendships over all these years.

INTERVIEWER: All right. Well, thank you very much, Mr Amass.

now, being on the hospital board, and the Cancer Society, and things like that. Uh, it’s just been wonderful working with these folks. And, uh, enjoying them and having these friendships over all these years.

INTERVIEWER: All right. Well, thank you very much, Mr Amass.