Since Capt. Salem Avery dropped anchor in the West River and settledin Shady Side 130 years ago, highways have replaced the river as theprimary mode of transportation on that isolated Anne Arundel peninsula.
Now, a 7-year-old Shady Side group has asked for the state's help in preserving a piece of the region's seafaring heritage.
The Shady Side Rural Heritage Society wants a $200,000 state grant to restore Avery's home. Theirs is one of two requests to finance historical restoration projects introduced by Delegate Michael Busch, D-Annapolis.
Busch also has asked for $200,000 so the Carroll Foundation can restore the Annapolis home of John Carroll, one of four Marylanders who signed the Declaration of Independence. Delegates John Astle, D-Annapolis, and Aris Allen, R-Annapolis, co-sponsored both bills.
Shady Side, the target of new suburban development, "has always been a waterman's community," said Barbara Owings, president of the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society. "We're having great growth in this part of the county, so we've formed a group to preserve the area'sheritage."
Past president T.C. Megnotti said the group formed in 1984 to establish a waterman's museum. The 187-member group purchasedthe Avery home 1 years ago from the National Mason Fish and Hunt Club, which had used it as a beach resort for its members since 1925.
Avery's home was typical for watermen of more than a century ago, Megnotti said. The Long Island Yankee came to Shady Side looking for his fortune and apparently found it. He moored several schooners in the West River, married Lucretia Wheedon of Mayo and operated a small farm further inland, she said.
"It's a worthwhile little project,"said Busch. "It doesn't have the significance of restoring the State House, but it's a tribute to all thefamilies and watermen who made their living that way for decades."
The society already has completed much of the interior restoration work. But the exterior clapboard remains hidden beneath "ugly gray" asbestos siding, Owings said.
"What they need is a one-time infusion of money to get the job done," Busch said. "It's an attraction in Shady Side. It's not going to change the economy of the state, but it's important to them."
State money for the restoration projects would come from the sale of bonds, which the state would repay over 15 years.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer has included $15 million in his proposed $815 million capital budget for state legislators to divide among their individual jurisdictions.
With the recession and severe decreases in projected state revenues, many legislators say they are reluctant to look at any new spending -- even for projects that would be repaid after the recessionends.
Busch said he, Astle and Allen might not have submitted therequests if County Executive Robert Neall or Annapolis Mayor Alfred Hopkins had made any capital project requests to the state.
The General Assembly allocated $200,000 for the Carroll House two years ago, Busch said. But that included $100,000 from the state's general cash reserves, which the governor reappropriated in September 1990 to help bal
ance this year's budget, he said.
"If the Carroll House is restored, Maryland would be the only one of the first 13 colonies to have the homes of all their signers to the Declaration of Independence restored," Busch said.
The Annapolis homes of William Paca and Samuel Chase are open to the public, while the Thomas Stone House in Southern Maryland is being restored by the National Park Service.