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Funkstown designated historic place

December 07, 2000

Funkstown designated historic place



By LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer


FUNKSTOWN - Surrounded on three sides by Antietam Creek, the small town of Funkstown hasn't grown much since it was laid out by Jacob Funk in the 1700s.

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That unfailing nature is now reaping a reward. The town has been officially named to the National Register of Historic Places.

"It's kind of a prize that they've won for taking such good care of their town," said George Wheelock, a member of Funkstown's Historic District Commission.

This evening, town officials will celebrate the fact that the National Park Service has placed a large portion of the town on the national register. The designation became official Sept. 8.

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The celebration will take place downtown in conjunction with the annual Olde Tyme Christmas festivities.

"We're an old town in Washington County and it makes us feel real big to have that honor bestowed upon us," said Funkstown Mayor Robert L. Kline.

The historic register designation makes property owners eligible for various tax credits for historic renovations. It places no requirements, restrictions or limits on property owners.

In order to receive the designation, the town hired local architectural historian Paula Reed to do a historic site survey.

The $2,000 survey was paid for by local, state and federal grants, town officials said.

The town has 403 properties, 221 of which have been classified as historically important.

The federal government created the national register program as a way to encourage people to preserve historic homes.

It's most often used for individual properties rather than entire towns and neighborhoods. The town of Williamsport is also seeking the designation.

The town has long been interested in its history, said Greg Sullivan, owner of Hudson House Galleries antique shop in Funkstown.

In 1972, then-Mayor Harvey Kershner designated several blocks near the intersection of Antietam and Baltimore streets a historic district, Sullivan said.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Roger Beckley established a thriving antique trade there before it came into vogue. Since then Beckley's shop, Ruth's Antiques, has been joined by others in downtown Funkstown.

Sullivan said he hopes Funkstown's national register listing will help protect the town from encroaching development.

The town has been fighting a plan to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter several blocks away on Edgewood Drive.

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