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Historical house to get a new home

December 01, 1996

By ELLEN LYON

Staff Writer

MAUGANSVILLE - The white siding covering the Wilhide house on Maugansville Road masks an approximately 120-year-old log structure which the Maugansville Historical Society plans to reconstruct as a museum on the grounds of a local elementary school.

The house is one of three marked for demolition because it lies in a "runway protection zone," a Federal Aviation Administration designation to protect people and property close to the airport from aircraft accidents, Washington County Regional Airport Manager Carolyn Motz said.

But because the house is of local historical interest the FAA, which will pay 90 percent of the demolition costs, has agreed that it can be dismantled in pieces and given to the Maugansville Historical Society for reconstruction, Motz said.

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The Maryland Aviation Administration and the county will share equally in the remaining 10 percent of the demolition costs, she said.

Motz estimated that the house could be dismantled and turned over to the society within a few months.

The historical society had looked into moving the house intact, but it would have cost too much and a narrow road and low-lying telephone and electric wires would have complicted the process, Dunn said.

"We feel it's very important to the history of the community," historical society board member Robert Walton said of the structure which will be renamed the Maugansville Heritage House.

Although the six-room log home may not be architecturally unique, "it is absolutely a perfect example of the typical home of a Washington County resident in the 1800s," historical society president Joyce Dunn said.

"This is the way the average family lived at that time so for us it's perfect," Dunn said.

The earliest deed the historical society has found for the property dates back to 1875 and includes four acres, she said.

The house was probably built between 1876 and 1878 and changed hands several times until Paul and Vada Wilhide bought it in 1935, Dunn said.

It remained in the Wilhide family until about a year ago when the government bought it for the runway protection zone, she said.

The Washington County Board of Education has agreed to allow the society to reconstruct the log house on the grounds of Maugansville Elementary School, where it will become an "educational living history museum," Dunn said.

An herb garden could be planted around it and storytelling sessions and spinning and weaving demonstrations could be held inside, she said.

The society has a collection of historic school children's items, including desks and books, donated by the late Maugansville teacher Garnett Martin, which could be displayed in the house, Dunn said.

"So the children would walk out the school and across the playground and go back in time," Dunn said.

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