Scouts Eye County's Cinematic Appeal

November 18, 1990

Imagine a Hollywood movie company coming to Havre de Grace to make a blockbuster film starring actors like Mel Gibson and Meryl Streep.

Sound far-fetched? Maybe not.

The state Film Commission came to Harford County on Thursday to scout sites for movies, television shows and commercials.

Although no film projects are targeted for the county at the moment, the commission wants to be ready just in case, said Jay Schlossberg-Cohen, director of the commission.

After the tour Thursday, commission members agreed Havre de Grace, with its bridges, historic structures and picturesque view of Chesapeake Bay and the Susquehanna River, is a top prospect for movie locations, Schlossberg-Cohen said.

"The whole town itself was extraordinary," he said.

The commission's scouts also liked the Liriodendron Mansion on West Gordon Street in Bel Air because of its unique architecture and the large expanse of open land that surrounds it, Schlossberg-Cohen said.

In addition, the commission put the Ladew Topiary Gardens near Jarrettsville and the Churchville Elementary School on its list of possible filming sites, Schlossberg-Cohen said.

He noted that the school provides an example of 1940s American architecture that is becoming rare.

The commission's team came to the county as part of routine tours it makes of each county in the state, Schlossberg-Cohen said. During the tours, the team takes photographs and videotapes of scenic areas for the commission's files.

The film commission then uses the files to match the needs of movie-makers with potential film sites, Schlossberg-Cohen said.

The movie, television and advertising industry has spent about $40 million a year on filming in Maryland over the last four years, Schlossberg-Cohen said.

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