I have but a wee bit of memory about this building,
and that bit may well be folk history.. Therefore I may
as well begin . . .
Once upon a time there were two men, brothers. Their
family name was Annan. They may have been born in
Emmitsburg or maybe even in Taneytown. At one time there
were Annans in both towns. These men were doctors.
Because we don't normally call doctors by their first
names, I won't give these men first names. They were
married and had families and needed a place to live and
to see their patients. They chose the Emmitsburg square
to build this large house, which no doubt caused many
comments from the other residents.
These handsome doctors were kept very busy treating
the citizens of both the town and the surrounding areas.
The patients' complaints were pretty much the complaints
that doctors hear today: Croup, pleurisy, rheumatism,
colds, earaches, broken bones, burns, and many others.
Because each ailment requires a different treatment,
these doctors no doubt had a little book of formulas of
medicines to treat these various ailments. Modern
medicine as we know it was years away. To give you an
idea of what those potions consisted of I'll give you a
few examples: arsenic, kerosene, live toads, mustard,
camphor, turpentine, and yes, no kidding, urine. (In
fact, when Kathy was a baby, 1944, I was told that for
thrush in a baby's mouth, I should wipe out the mouth
with a wet diaper." (I did not buy that advice.)
The Annan medical practice flourished until the
families grew up and left home and the doctors died.
Then it became necessary to dispose of this very elegant
building. Which is of course what happened. Back to
reality. There may have been several owners of this
building before 1940, when John and I came to
Emmitsburg, but this I know, that building had two
businesses on the ground floor at that time.
The Maryland Restaurant was on the corner of the west
side of the stairway, and a clothing store was on the
east side. The restaurant was also a bus station where a
bus from Gettysburg, and maybe even further north,
stopped to pick up passengers who were going to
The bus driver would get out, stretch, and eat a meal
before going on There were actually two separate stores,
a men's store and a Women's store. My memory is that the
Women's store was in the side where the beauty shop is,
and the Men's store where Radio Shack now is.
When efforts for the Canonization of
began, that space became the office for that cause. The
Men's store was then moved to the space of the Maryland
Restaurant. These were well stocked clothing stores. It
made no difference what you had in mind, you could find
it ... Sunday go to meeting clothes?
Oh Yes. Winter
coats? Of course. Mittens for cold hands? Indeed. work
shoes, dress shoes, shirts, handkerchiefs, ties. Both of
my girls remember shopping at the Women's store and
there finding just what they wanted. Marge got a pair of
canvas- cloth shoes, navy blue sandals with white stars
on the toes.
Both stores were pleasant places to shop. Mr. Houck
and a man whose name, I believe was Rhoderick worked in
the Men's department, and then later Ernie Rosensteel
worked there. I remember that frequently the men would
be standing around discussing horse racing. I'm a little
vague about the clerks in the Women's department, but I
do remember Mamie Kelly working there, but that was long
after 1940. Mrs. Houck might also have clerked there.
The Houck's had three children, Eddie, Theresa and
Margaret. I was only in the upstairs portion of the
store once and that was after the children were grown,
and the parents had died. I remember the apartment to
have been spacious, and beautifully furnished. I have no
idea when the store was sold. I am rather certain that
Eddie ran the store for a while, and later had a job
with the Boy Scouts in Frederick. Theresa married a
Mount professor who has since moved. Margaret married a
Mount Alumus. The Houck children were all younger than
I, so they probably are still alive, somewhere.
I do not know who owns that building now. I know that
there are no clothing stores there. No more quick fix-up
for a pair of hose with a runner, or a pair of
overshoes to get through the snow, or a place perhaps to
buy a length of cloth for a Halloween costume. And you
know, many, many times in succeeding years, and more so
recently, I've wished for that store. There's a lot of
things that could have saved me a trip to Wal-Mart.