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Commissioners to meet with Citicorp about Kammerer house

January 29, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Two Washington County Commissioners plan to meet with Citicorp officials to see if a compromise can be reached to save the historic Johan Ludwig Kemmerer house.

"I hope very much that Citicorp will work with the community to save a treasure," said Pat Schooley, secretary of the Washington County Historical Society.

Perhaps the meeting will help Citicorp officials realize how important the house is to some in the region, she said.

The two-story limestone house built in 1774 is owned by the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation Inc., known as CHIEF. It is one of the oldest buildings in the county.

CHIEF filed for a demolition permit in late December. The owners of Allegany Wrecking and Salvage say they plan to take it apart so that it can be rebuilt.

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CHIEF said the house could not stay where it is, on a half-acre lot in the middle of the Airport Business Park, surrounded by parking lots and modern buildings owned by Citicorp.

Citicorp spokesman Phil Kelly has said the company wants to buy the land but tearing down the house is CHIEF's idea. Kelly could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Members of the Washington County Historical Society and the Middleburg/Mason-Dixon Line Area Historical Society have mounted a campaign to save the house.

Historical preservationists Lee Stine, Yvonne Hope, Schooley, Mary Stimson and Harold Boyer spoke at Tuesday's County Commissioners meeting and appealed for help in stopping the destruction of the home.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook told them the commissioners have spoken informally about the issue and appreciate the home's historical significance.

County Administrator Rodney Shoop said he will arrange a meeting next week between Citicorp and Commissioners Bert Iseminger and John Schnebly.

The purpose of the meeting is to see if there is a way for the building to be saved at its present location, Shoop said.

During Tuesday's meeting several speakers criticized CHIEF for not responding adequately to their concerns about the home.

Merle Elliott, president of CHIEF, sat in the back of the meeting room but did not respond to the comments.

He said he would attend a county-Citicorp meeting if invited. He has no objections to changes in plans that would save the home, he said.

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