Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

January 9, 2013

Bill was the real thing and well worth knowing

Allegany County, devotees of the C&O Canal trail and residents of Little Orleans are mourning the loss of Bill Schoenadel (obituary, Jan. 6 Times-News), the legendary proprietor of Bill’s Place.

Bill passed away early Jan. 5, just shy of his 89th birthday after a long battle with lung cancer.

The wiry and colorful entrepreneur and unofficial mayor of Little Orleans, became a larger than life fixture along the C&O Canal trail for years, serving up cold refreshments and meals to countless weary hikers and bikers.

His dry, sarcastic since of humor became synonymous with the Green Ridge region of Allegany County and he was celebrated in countless newspaper articles and featured in books documenting Maryland’s many colorful characters.

Once you got know him he was the genuine article. Beneath the gruff, stalwart veneer was a man of compassion and kindness. He was known to lend money when someone was down and out, offer up a free meal, a ride or a place to crash on the porch for the night.

A printer by profession and an employee of the Cumberland Times-News, Bill eventually purchased the old Callahan Store in 1968 in Little Orleans and made it his own.

Bill’s Place was exactly what it professed itself to be and nothing more. Beer, bait, groceries, and good times.

There was a famous sign that was saved from the election day 2000 fire that destroyed the original store that was moved some hundred feet up High Germany Road from the C&O Canal when the Western Maryland railroad came through in 1904, that basically read, “This is not burger monarch, so shut up and have it our way or no way at all.”

A truly unique tradition of which its origins are totally unknown to this writer was for patrons to sign or leave a message with felt tip marker on mostly dollar bills, then staple them to the ceiling of Bill’s Place.

Bill jokingly referred to this as his supplemental Social Security income when he retired. Unfortunately,; a healthy portion of that went up when the original Bill’s burned. A new building was built on the original site and would continue this tradition along with patches from military, police, fire and EMS units from across the country as well as fishing and hunting paraphernalia.

Each August would see Bill’s Place become the epicenter of the Apple’s East Coast Motorcycle Rally and numerous bluegrass entertainment featuring local musical artists. Multitudes of appreciative fans jammed Bill’s for an evening of down home entertainment, refreshments and fellowship.

Bill has gone to his final resting place and the future may be in question. Hopefully Bill’s Place will continue to draw weary travelers from the C&O Canal trail and with a little luck the extension of the Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) will introduce countless others to the allure and charm of this unique establishment.

Thank you Bill for everything; it was a great ride while it lasted and you did good! Rest in peace my friend.

 John Walker

 Little Orleans

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014