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Firm is a historic business

Paula S. Reed and Associates receives state honor

Paula S. Reed and Associates receives state honor

October 22, 2006|by CANDICE BOSELY

Put Paula Reed inside an old building and she is happy.

The owner of Hagerstown-based Paula S. Reed and Associates Inc., Reed's business specializes in doing, among other tasks, cultural resource evaluations on historic properties.

Her work has taken her across the country, and she also has worked on local historic structures, including at Antietam National Battlefield.

Earlier this month, Reed was announced as a recipient of one of the Top 100 Minority Business Enterprises for the year, a program designed to recognize the state's best minority- and women-owned businesses.

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Reed, 57, of Hagerstown, started her company in 1996 after leaving Preservation Associates Inc., a company she co-founded.

"I've just always had an interest in historical buildings and antiques and furniture and stuff," she said. "I really enjoy historical properties. I love old buildings. I love working with them."

Reed said she enjoys what older buildings represent.

"The sense of time and place. When you get right down to it, life is about time and place," she said.

Reed performs architectural evaluations on buildings to determine when they were constructed and what is original with the building versus what was added after it first was constructed.

"Being out in the field, rummaging through old buildings," is the best part of her job, Reed said.

Seeing snakes, spiders and rodents, though, is not as enjoyable, she said.

Her business has grown, and now has a staff of two full-time employees and two part-timers. All of them are women, but Reed said that is a coincidence, not a requirement.

Reed received her undergraduate degree in American studies and intended to do museum work, but strayed to buildings instead.

She now has a doctorate from George Washington University in American studies, with an emphasis on cultural history, American architecture and historic preservation.

Reed's company does National Historic Landmark documentation as well as National Register of Historic Places nominations and determinations of eligibility.

In that vein, Reed has done work for the federal government, municipalities and private homeowners. She also can guide private property owners through the tax credit applications for rehabilitation work on historic properties.

Locally, Reed performed a Cultural Landscape Report for the cemetery at Antietam; updated the National Register of Historic Places nominations for Antietam and Harpers Ferry (W.Va.) National Historical Park; did building reports on structures including the Lockwood House at Harpers Ferry and the Newcomer Barn and Roulette House at Antietam; and has done National Register nominations for several historic districts in municipalities.

Elsewhere, Reed has worked on properties at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and done work related to properties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and elsewhere.

Reed said she has goals for her business.

"I want to make it a better business, a bigger business, a stronger business," Reed said. "I'm happy with where we are and (want to continue doing) good work for our clients - that's a big one, a really big goal."

Reed and the other recipients of the state award will be honored at a ceremony Friday in Adelphi, Md.

This is the first year for the awards program.

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