George Ellicott House auctioned off to state agency after foreclosure 204-year-old home sold for $400,000

June 13, 1993|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

Armed only with a camera and his memories, Herbert Joh said goodbye Friday to the George Ellicott House as it was sold at public auction.

"We put a lot of effort into this project, and we're kind of sad to see it come to this conclusion," said the vice president of rTC Historic Ellicott City, which owned the building before state housing officials foreclosed earlier this year.

The Community Development Administration (CDA), which is an agency of the state Department of Housing and Community Development, bought the historic building for $400,000 -- the amount of its outstanding loan to Historic Ellicott City.

"I feel badly because it's a wonderful asset to the community," said CDA Housing Management Director Stephanie White, who bid on the house for the agency.

For the next two to three weeks, Ms. White said she would accept offers to purchase the property. If no one expresses interest, the house will go on the market.

The state Department of Housing and Community Development began foreclosure proceedings on the building earlier this year after Historic Ellicott City stopped making payments in August 1991 on two loans totaling $600,000.

The state will not be held responsible for a $200,000 loan from the Maryland Historical Trust, which Historic Ellicott City used to renovate the 204-year-old house.

Charles Wagandt, chairman of the George Ellicott House Project Committee, said the group had expected to find a tenant by August 1991. When it failed to find someone, it could not make the roughly $4,000 monthly mortgage payments. Under terms of loan agreements, the property would have to be used as office space.

"Our objective was to save it and restore it," Mr. Wagandt said. "We're saddened . . . but this is the logical thing to have happened."

The auction attracted the curious and those who helped restore the historic building, which is across the Patapsco River from downtown Ellicott City.

John Clark, a direct descendant of the Ellicott brothers who founded Ellicott City and a member of the George Ellicott House Project, stepped inside the 4,000-square-foot house Friday for the first time since completing the restoration two years ago.

"It makes you feel homesick," he said, glancing around at pine floors and sturdy banister and staircase. "We worked so hard on this."

The house, severely damaged by Hurricane Eloise in 1975, was moved across Frederick Road and out of a flood plain in 1979.

Mr. Wagandt said his group would cooperate with state housing officials to determine the building's future.

'We don't cease being interested in the building because we don't own it," he said.

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