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Resident: Alms House could attract tourists

March 24, 2009

Hagerstown resident Mary Haines on Tuesday told the City Council that it should take advantage of the city's Civil War history to garner more tourist dollars.

She said the city should use the city-owned Alms House at 239 N. Locust St. as one of the marketing tools.

During her presentation to the council, Haines said Civil War soldiers were shot in front of the Alms House and probably were treated there during the Confederate retreat from the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh said the Alms House, which has fallen into a state of disrepair, should be saved because of its place in history.

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"We have so much to market here as far as our history, and no one has gotten a hold of it," Nigh said.

Councilman Martin E. Brubaker said the idea of selling the city as a Civil War tourist attraction should be explored, but he wasn't confident that the Alms House was the answer.

"I would have to be convinced it's not a financial drag for the city," Brubaker said.

The Alms House was built in the late 18th century and initially was used to house the poor.

- Dan Dearth

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