Sykesville Famed Far and Wide

October 16, 1913

Some Things That Make It Notable In Life of Nation


It is astonishing how the establishment of a local newspaper increases the general interest in the community from which its leading items are gathered. For instance, since the first issue of The Herald those people who live in or near Sykesville, as well as those who have lived here and have moved to other places have involuntarily taken a new and increased pride in claiming Sykesville as their home town.

These old hills, dotted with cozy homesteads, which for long years have sheltered the honest, intelligent residents of this “heart of Maryland” now seem to be peopled with a citizenship of greater importance and higher individual merit than ever before. The past history of this place has been neglected, and but for the building of the Springfield State Hospital in our midst in 1896, it is probable that Sykesville would have no more prominent place in the written history of the State than any other little post office town.

But now the whole nation knows that at this village thrives a famous institution, said by many to be the greatest hospital for successful treatment of mental diseases in the world. Today over 1400 patients are sheltered in its magnificent structures, and each year additions of wonderful utility and beauty are being added thereto. The system of treatment, known as “the open door method” is here in vogue, which adds a distinction not enjoyed by any other institution of its kind in the world, as Springfield is the only hospital which has that system in use.

Besides the Superintendent, the genial Dr. J. Clement Clark, there are six doctors, about one hundred nurses and attendants, and fifty employes daily administering to the needs of the unfortunate insane. Nearly 800 acres of the original Patterson estate having been purchased for the nominal sum of $50,000 from former Governor Frank Brown, whose interest in Sykesville has been life long, the management last year conserved to the use of the institution nearly $50,000 worth of produce, including vegetables, corn, hay, milk, butter, beef, veal, etc.

As one stands on Springfield avenue, overlooking the broad expanse of rich State land dotted with white barracks and groups of imposing State buildings, wherein the skill of man is ever striving to serve helpless dependents, a feeling of pride swells in the heart and the word Sykesville no longer signifies the mere ill-sounding cognomen of a country hamlet.

Passing on into this village set between the hills, the observer finds rows of pretty homes, neat and cleanly, surrounded by well kept lawns and often shaded by trees of unsurpassing grace and charm.

The High school where pretty village girls and bright boys are imbibing the power from knowledge and developing into useful citizens, “the village smithys”, the hotel inviting the tired traveler by its hospitable management, the busy stores supplying the wants of the surrounding country for miles around, the prosperous farmers’ carriages and teams which usually line the main street from morn to night, the Sykesville Arcade sheltering the excellent Masonic Lodge, the accommodating Postmaster, The Herald plant, The Mon’s Store, presided over by exemplary young men, the churches– native St. Paul’s, the ivy-clad St. Josephs and St. Barnabus, and stately old Springfield, where devout men and women meet to worship and battle for the Lord, the picturesque State railroad bridge, the familiar “spout” where sparkling water runs on forever to quench the thirst of man and beast, the Manse, the local doctor’s homes planted in the hillsides, the Warfield mill and elevator, where “Cook’s Delight” flour was born and is still growing more and more into popular favor, the old stone store where Messes. Hawkins and Phelps dispense cranberries for Christmas, fire crackers for the Fourth of July and good things perennially, Mellor’s Department Store innovation, the Misses Harris’ Woman’s Store and Miss Minnie Phillinger’s cozy millinery parlors, the Lumber, Coal &Grain Co.’s fine store and plant, which forms the local market or clearing house for nearly all the wheat, corn and hay not shipped directly to Baltimore by the farmers of this part of the State, the winding curves of the B. & O. R. R. following religiously the trend of the crooked Patapsco in spiral miles of scenic beauty over the oldest railroad bed in the world, (the first railroad having been run from Baltimore to Ellicott City and continued past Sykesville shortly thereafter) and a myriad other scenes which impress the eye and please the soul.

But more gratifying than all these physical marks of Sykesville’s growth and delightfulness as a home town, and more impelling as a factor in leading up to its ultimate fame as the habitation of stalwart men and noble women, where clean business and morals and general culture predominate, is that spiritual excellence of the community as it is today. Sykesville community is blessed with more than average intelligence. Truly in such a community the good fathers and mothers, strong sons and modest, beautiful daughters, the nation finds its backbone.

Is it any wonder that it should attract to its midst a newspaper editor of ability? Is it not a gratifying fact that from henceforth, as long as The Herald continues with us, the daily history of Sykesville community events will be printed in fair and impartial accuracy, as a permanent, readable record of passing interest to us and to our posterity?

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