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Sharpsburg council wants house to be residential

July 22, 1999|By ERIN HEATH

Members of the Sharpsburg Town Council agreed at a special meeting Thursday that they would prefer the rundown house the town recently bought on West Main Street to be restored and used as a residence.

The town bought the house at 135 W. Main St. at a tax sale in late June for $42,500.

"We bought it to make sure it was preserved and to make sure it doesn't become a business. We're a residential community," said Mayor George Kesler at the public meeting called to discuss uses for the house.

The house is known in town as the Mumma house because four sisters of that name lived there from 1930 to 1960, said Town Attorney Charles Wagaman.

Town residents said the house once contained the privately owned Antietam National Museum from at least the 1970s until about four years ago, when it became vacant.

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Council members discussed using the house as the site of a new museum.

"I have a problem with it because even if we had a museum, it takes volunteers to run it, and in this day and age volunteers are hard to come by," Kesler said.

"It would just be too much for any of us to take on," said Councilwoman Denise Troxell.

Kesler said the idea of turning the building over to a historical society has not been "shot down" and that "it will be some time before a final decision is made."

Sharpsburg resident Eleanora Poffenberger said she agreed with the council members.

"I would like to see it restored as a residence," she said. "If it was fixed up it would be a beautiful home."

An engineer's report revealed that the building is structurally sound and needs mainly cosmetic repairs.

Kesler said he would try to get bids for the task of removing and replacing the front steps before the next regular meeting on Aug. 2. He said the front entrance of the house is dangerous and that the town would add utility steps so people could enter the building safely.

Troxell said she would ask a contractor to look at the side porch, which has no steps, for advice on how to fix it.

Council members decided to discuss possible deed restrictions at the next meeting as well as to set a date for when they will clean out the house and archive any historical items that may be inside.

Kesler said the house contains boxes of items, including old pictures and pieces of what looks like a World War II uniform.

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