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Houses may make historic registry

March 17, 1999

Kammerer HouseBy SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

photos: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to recommended placing the Kammerer House and the Piper House on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The commissioners voted 4-0 to make the recommendation in separate votes on the two structures. Commissioner William J. Wivell was absent.

The listing would not block the possible demolition of the Kammerer House.

The County Commissioners are following the suggestion of the Washington County Historic District Commission to put both homes on the official list of cultural resources intended to contribute to the understanding of the nation's historical and cultural foundations.

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The Kammerer farmhouse, built by Johan Ludwig Kammerer in 1774, is on a half-acre lot in the Airport Business Park. It is surrounded by parking lots and buildings.

It qualifies for the list because it is an intact example of colonial architecture reflecting German and stone building tradition, said Stephen T. Goodrich, chief senior planner of the Washington County Planning Department.

Piper houseThe Piper House was recommended for the list because it displays much of the original architectural features of three distinctive construction periods, styles and traditions, Goodrich said.

The Piper House, at the intersection of Main and Church streets in Sharpsburg, was built in 1794 and additions were made to it in 1804 and 1837. It is owned by John and Rosita Ray.

The Kammerer House owner, the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation Inc., known as CHIEF, neither supports nor opposes the nomination, CHIEF President Merle Elliott said.

CHIEF has a demolition permit for the property, which Citicorp Credit Services wants to buy.

Elliott has agreed not to demolish the house until Citicorp responds to a Feb. 23 county proposal to buy the land for $1 and lease it to Middleburg/Mason-Dixon Line Area Historical Society for $1.

A Citicorp decision on the county proposal is expected within the next week, Elliott told the commissioners.

Citicorp spokesman Phil Kelly has not commented on the proposal.

The two issues, the listing and the possibility of demolition, are not necessarily related, Goodrich said.

"I don't see a problem with nominating it," Commissioner John L. Schnebly said. "Whatever pans out will pan out."

Now that the commissioners have voted to support the properties for listing, the recommendations go next to the governor's consulting committee and, if approved, the National Park Service, Goodrich said.

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