Hard Lodging's getting a face lift Historical group preserves house once called a folly

March 14, 1996|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

When Thelma Shriner wanted to buy and restore the old Haines property on Ladiesburg Road near Union Bridge in 1941, her husband thought she was being foolish.

The Federal-style house, built about 1800, was run down. It had been rented to a succession of tenants after about 1910, when the last members of the Haines family moved out. F. Earle Shriner agreed to the purchase, but dubbed it "Dolly's Folly."

No one called it anyone's folly in 1994 when the Carroll County Historical Society asked for $55,000 from Mrs. Shriner's estate to renovate the house she had bought, repaired, named "Hard Lodging" and donated to the historical society in 1983.

Mrs. Shriner died in April 1994 at Fairhaven retirement center. Her will provided grants for renovations to the property in addition to a $200,000 bequest that the historical society can use for general operating expenses.

"The architectural heritage of the site is very interesting," said Jay Graybeal, historical society director.

Solomon Shepherd, who built the house, chose to put it against the exposed rock cliff overlooking his mill, rather than on the south side of a hill, to protect against winter storms. The Federal style he selected also was different from the typical farmhouse of the area, Mr. Graybeal said.

The society is using the $55,000 grant to make carpentry and masonry repairs, paint the interior and exterior and install central air conditioning, a new furnace and storm windows. The work is expected to be completed by May. Mrs. Shriner furnished the house with family antiques. She didn't try to make the interior look as it would have when Mr. Shepherd and his wife, Susanna, lived there.

"She wasn't doing a restoration of a period home. She was doing a colonial revival," Mr. Graybeal said. The society opens the house for scheduled tours or special occasions but does not present it as a period restoration. "We're interpreting it as what Thelma did," he said.

The house originally was called Rock Hall. During the restoration, Mrs. Shriner and her husband found some 18th-century deeds that mentioned a nearby tract of land called Hard Lodging. They took that name for the property, according to a history Mr. Graybeal compiled in 1991 when Hard Lodging was on the Maryland House and Garden Tour.

The house had a series of owners during the 1800s and early 1900s. It was never the setting for any historic events, never a "George Washington slept here" type of place, Mr. Graybeal said.

Mrs. Shriner noticed the house when she was a student at Blue Ridge College in New Windsor in about 1910 and decided that one day she would own it.

She and her husband never lived at Hard Lodging. She remained at their home in Frederick after his death in 1951 and rented the house to several tenants until she donated it and the surrounding 39 acres to the historical society.

Ladiesburg Road resident Jack Gray, a retired fire chief at Fort Detrick, serves as the caretaker for Hard Lodging. The house doesn't have any ghosts, he said. "In all the times I've been in and out of there, I've never been accompanied by a ghost."

To schedule tours, contact the historical society at 848-6494.

Pub Date: 3/14/96

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