Letters to the Editor 8/7

August 04, 2000

Letters to the Editor 8/7

Baldwin will pay dividends down the road

To the editor:

Preservation Maryland, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Maryland's historic neighborhoods, towns and landscapes, strongly supports the Glendening administration's plans to renovate the historic Baldwin House as part of the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Education Center.

While the consultant who recommended demolishing the Baldwin House based his advice on a "gut feeling" (Daily Mail, July 4), the decision to renovate is based on a dollars and cents evaluation of what will serve Hagerstown's revitalization efforts best.

A report published last year entitled, "The Value of Historic Preservation in Maryland" explains why. The author, nationally respected real estate analyst Donovan Rypkema, evaluated six historic districts across the state - Annapolis, Berlin, Chestertown, Frederick City, Laurel and Mt. Vernon in Baltimore. His research showed that those areas consistently outpaced other communities in job creation, property values, heritage tourism and a number of other categories.


Rypkema concluded:

"The case for the value of historic preservation in Maryland is not hard to make. Historic preservation not only adds jobs but adds more jobs per dollar spent than new construction. Historic preservation not only attracts visitors but those visitors spend more money than other visitors....Preservation-based downtown revitalization programs add economic vitality to the business district and have proven to be more effective than any other development approach."

As Hagerstown begins to position itself as a hub for visitors interested in the Civil War and its impact on the nation, it is unfortunate that anyone would contemplate demolishing the Baldwin House. Built beginning in the 1880s, the mansard-roofed structure is a fine example of a type of architecture once known as the "General Grant Style." Grant favored this style (known more formally as "Second Empire" since it originated in Paris) for public buildings, and it became popular in increasingly prosperous cities like Hagerstown. Baldwin House gave an air of distinction to a proud city emerging from the horror and disruption of the Civil War.

Renovated as the new home of the Hagerstown Education Center, it will continue to lend distinction to Hagerstown for many years to come. Further, the center - drawing tens of thousands of students, faculty, staff and visitors each year - will be spur further restoration and revitalization of Hagerstown and its historic downtown.

Tyler Gearhart

Executive Director

Preservation Maryland

Baltimore, Md.

Farmers give thanks for rain

To the editor:

Last year the summer months brought on one of the worst droughts that the farming community could recall in years. The drought wiped out many crops and caused an increased burden on the farmers to find water for their livestock and feed for the winter. The farming community received aid from the Governor of West Virginia, Cecil Underwood, and from the federal government thanks to our representatives in Washington, D.C.

Last year was a very trying year for the agricultural community, but thanks to the Lord above we have received an abundance of rain this year. The Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia is so plush and green every where you travel. It is a refreshing sight to see homeowners with green lawns instead of brown ones. It is refreshing to see field of green clover, beans, corn, and all other plant life.

I represent several of the farmers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and all of them have been very thankful for the rain that we have received this year. There is a time to plant and a time to reap; a time to give thanks and a time to rejoice. This year our agricultural community has their time to rejoice and their time to be thankful for truly the Lord has blessed them and each one of us with an abundance of rain.

I, too, am personally thankful because I live in the country and our home is dependent on a well as our source of water. Last year our well ran dry in mid July.

Carrying water from the Berkeley Springs State Park became a bi-weekly routine. This year thanks to the Lord, we too have an abundance of water in our well.

From the farming community, we need a sincere thanks to God for his showers of rain which are showers of blessings that we need. Thank you God for the rain. This year the farming community has a look of confidence because they too know it is not because of their abilities that they succeed, but because of God's daily provision that they are able to be sustained by God. Let's always be thankful people and come out this year and support the local youth fairs that our farmers host annually and join the celebration of the New Millennium.

Ronald C. Payne

Hedgesville, W.Va.

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