Wednesday, June 11, 2008

People Who Care...Preserve

Preservation is Maintenance
The seemingly endless cycles of painting, pointing, repairing...many residents of Ellicott City Historic District do it out of love of place, not because of meeting a regulation or following a guideline. And this is what keeps the area more than intact over time. The dedication to home--and history.

The district is also a popular destination for tourists from Maryland and elsewhere. They come for the granite, the dramatic steep siting that ends at the Patspsco River, the authenticity of the streetscape, the small-scale shops and the excitement of being part of an earlier time in a mill town, even for an afternoon.
Left , at Main Street and Church Road is a historic firehouse that is open to the public as a museum.

Walking up Church Road, accessible to the left of the fire station, you will see a sampling of the devotion to historic preservation that I am talking about. For example, the Emery Methodist Church was just re-painted. I stopped to take this picture and gave the workers a "thumbs up!"

Next, across from Emery Methodist Church, is the Bright/Baer house dating from 1850. Sally and Rich Bright researched the porch railing and installed a perfectly compatible solution in the mid-1980s that has stood the test of time. April and Dave Baer, former owners, continued the preservation of the house. Now, it is occupied by Tony and Wendy Kumar and family, while I rent the 2-story addition in the back, dating from 1890.

Almost directly across the street on the right is a charming stone house that exemplifies masonry maintenance in general. It is routinely re-pointed, which makes it impervious to moisture and the exterior very attractive to look at. The owners are totally dedicated to preservation. A local artist, Dan Kwolek, has
painted the house within the context of the Church Road streetscape.

Kimberly Kepnes has restored Angelo's Castle
and grounds methodically over time.
You can just see the castle through the
fence in this photograph. Kimberly
is a leader in advertising Main Street
festivities to the public.

The new walkway, plantings and the restored porch are the work of Jeanne Allert, a dedicated preservationist.

A quick stop in front of
the historic Mencken
house shows one of a series
of compatible replacement planters.

Trees die; people move on, but there are always creative solutions on Church Road. Here, Kathy Taylor has overseen a wonderful sculpture made from the trunk of a Copper Beech that had to be removed due to decay. The imaginative sculpture features woodland animals climbing the trunk. This has given new life to the front yard.

Finally, the newer homes
at the end of Church Road
are compatible in scale and appearance
with the earlier ones.
All in all, the area is looking fine.

Photos and content: Kay D. Weeks


Anonymous said...

Ellicott City is, indeed, a charming little town. And, your site certainly shows it to advantage!

Bob said...

Kay Weeks deserves a lot of credit for her hard work in developing this blog. A friend from the other coast.

HB said...

Thanks for the tour of EC. I love the old buildings and homes there. If it was a better commute for me, I would be there already as you know. Thanks for making thie personal and very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Church Road rises elegantly above the hustle and bustle of the town center to provide almost immediate tranquility. The care taken by its residents only enhances the serene feeling. Thanks, Kay, for providing this little tour.