New Windsor Mayor Neal Roop remembers the very spot where Fred Snyder’s barbershop chair sat in one of the rooms on the ground floor of the Dielman Inn.
Standing in the now-empty space decades later, Roop commented how the room seemed so much bigger to him when he was a child. Snyder’s chair was one of two places in town to get a haircut, and Roop recalled how Snyder also sold all kinds of items in the room adjacent to the barbershop area.
From antiques to haircuts, knickknacks to septic systems, the Dielman Inn in western Carroll County has seen many businesses come and go during its long history. But time hasn’t been kind to some parts of this New Windsor landmark and, by Roop’s estimates, the building has sat vacant for about 13 years.
However, the inn has seen a flurry of activity these past few weeks. A lead paint abatement project took place on the exterior of the structure, as did painting, with workers spraying a second coat of green paint on the shutters in the yard on an overcast afternoon. These and other exterior repairs were made possible by a $450,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development; Roop hopes that the interior renovations also will start this year.
On a recent Friday, three staff members from Preservation Maryland — a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the state’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes and archaeological sites through outreach, funding and advocacy — were taking measurements in order to make floor plans of the inn’s 40+ rooms. Having these plans will assist in envisioning the potential of the building, which has been on Preservation Maryland’s radar since 2012.
The Town of New Windsor bought the Dielman Inn in 2011; Roop and the town’s council members couldn’t bear the thought of the building with so much history — and potential — being torn down.
New Windsor could see a substantial increase in its population in the next 3 to 5 years with the opening of Springdale Preparatory School this fall and two new neighborhoods in various stages of development.
The town would like to provide services to current and future residents by bringing in new businesses, such as a bed and breakfast, bakery, coffee shop or even residential rental units, and some of these businesses could be located in the Dielman Inn.
The town is open to finding the right investor for the project who could help fund the renovation and restore the inn as the centerpiece of New Windsor.
“We feel this is the gem of the town,” Roop says.