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B&B helping to revive Hancock

Riverrun structure on Taney Street also houses art studio

Riverrun structure on Taney Street also houses art studio

March 11, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK - Since Sinclair Hamilton first came to Hancock in 1994, this small mountain town in western Washington County has suffered the loss of four major industries - Rayloc, Fleetwood, Londontown and several historic fruit orchards.

"Now our growth industry is tourism," Hamilton said with strong resolve.

And in furtherance of that goal, Hamilton is on the cusp of opening Riverrun Bed and Breakfast and the Riverrun Arts Center at 7 Taney St. South.

"Hancock has been crying out for something like this," Hamilton said. "It will be great for people coming here from the city."

Vacant for about 25 years, the house sits along the Potomac River and the C&O Canal Historical Park in the heart of Hancock. Built in 1878, it has been a whiskey warehouse, a greenhouse and a single-family dwelling.

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Hamilton added a second floor to the building. "People will be able to paint up there," he said.

When it opens in April, there will be five bedrooms, each with a private bath. There are also common rooms, a kitchen, a balcony overlooking the canal and river and a lower-level studio where artists can work. Lectures, slide shows and other programs can also be accommodated in the building.

On the faculty of the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture near Bethesda, Md., Hamilton said there has been a lot of interest there for classes at Riverrun.

"I really want to bring people to Hancock," Hamilton said.

An accomplished artist, Hamilton has been accepting portrait commissions since 1968. He has taught at the Maryland College of Art and Design, the Landon School and the National Cathedral School.

Then 20 years ago, he helped establish the Glen Echo facility and teaches there still. He said a number of his students are anxious to come to Hancock.

"There are plans for orchestra weekends, workshops for chamber groups and a painting group wants to meet here," Hamilton said.

An original sculpture by Hamilton was erected at the veterans memorial near the entrance to Widmeyer Park in 2004 - a bronze of a woman and a child. The little girl is pointing toward the wall with the veterans' names on it while looking back at the woman.

Currently he is doing a relief sculpture for Mount Olivet Church near Berkeley Springs, W.Va., titled Noah's Doves.

Hamilton lives and has his sculpture studio in the old bank building at 24 W. Main St. in Hancock.

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