“Before there were airplanes and automobiles, the East Coast’s more affluent city-dwelling population sought respite from the summer heat in resort towns that were far from the hustle, bustle, and odiferous streets outside their doors. A plus was if the locale could be reached by rail, and a gold star was bestowed if there was an added tourist attraction, like nearby Sulphur Springs.
“New Windsor fit all of these requisites for select residents of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, and the Dielman Inn was their hostelry of choice,” explains Frank Batavick, a member of the New Windsor Heritage Committee, who nominated the Dielman Inn for inclusion on this year’s list.
“The inn represents a unique chapter on leisure activities and tourism in the U.S. and Maryland history, and its loss would impoverish all who value the contributions of the past.”
The 42-room inn was a popular gathering place for vacationers from the 1870s until it closed in 1927. In its prime, the Dielman Inn was a regional cultural magnet. Proprietor Louis William Dielman, a professor of music at Calvert College, sponsored concerts, musicals, and skits featuring his guests, whose names regularly appeared on the social calendar in Carroll County newspapers.
A brick addition to the log-and-frame inn housed the dining room, notes Batavick. Built in 1841, this section was originally constructed as a school, the New Windsor Institute. (Later, the school was moved to a site at the top of Main Street and renamed Calvert College. Today, the buildings comprise the Brethren Service Center, where the Heifer International project began.)
The inn encompasses a number of buildings that consist of weather-boarded log, frame with clapboard siding, and brick, says Batavick. There are multiple fireplaces, and some hardware is hand-forged. Many windows sport the original handmade glass.
“All of this work of past artisans would be lost should the abandoned inn fall victim to fire, vandalism, or the wrecker’s ball,” he warns.
The Dielman Inn sits at the heart of New Windsor’s historic district and its continued existence is essential to the town’s National Register status. If the inn, intertwined with the town’s 214-year history, were lost, the streetscape would be irreparably harmed, which is why the mayor and council voted to purchase and develop the property in the face of significant opposition.
Regrettably, despite national outreach, the town has found no new purchasers willing to tackle the inn’s leaky roofs, mildew, termites, and minor damage from vandalism.
“Since purchasing the property, the town has put out a request for proposals to develop the site and actively pursued a number of potential development options,” explains Mayor Neal Roop, including meeting with several interested parties, offering tax credits, zoning variances, and financial assistance, and waiving sewer and water hook-up fees.
Roop adds that New Windsor is willing to work with any buyer/developer to facilitate the purchase of the Dielman Inn and to assist with its development and revitalization.
For more information, visit www.newwindsormd.org.