Historic Mount Tabor Lodge has a future Structure from about 1900 will undergo renovation

March 28, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

For almost a century, the Mount Tabor Good Samaritan Lodge weathered years of battering rains, harsh winds, and the wear and tear of its members.

Now, the two-story, gable-roofed lodge on St. Stephens Church Road in Crownsville will get a much-needed face lift, thanks to a $5,000 grant from Preservation Maryland.

"We've used our lodge for quite a bit," said Delores Hawkins, lodge president. "We could use this."

"We felt confident that this was a good project and that the right people were involved," said Tyler Gearhart, programs director for Preservation Maryland, the state's oldest preservation organization. "We felt that the restoration would go forward."

The grant was given to the Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation Inc., which also donated $3,500 for in-kind services.

The money will be used to help pay for renovations inside and outside the African-American landmark, one of only two Good Samaritan Lodges in the state still standing.

The other is on Bestgate Road in Annapolis, said Donna Ware, a historic sites planner for the county Department of Planning and Code Enforcement.

The project includes reinforcing window casings, repainting the building and upgrading the heating and electrical systems. The county preservation group also received a $30,000 grant from the Maryland Historical Trust to pay for the construction of an addition for a bathroom.

Mr. Gearhart said his organization approved the grant because it was a chance to shed light on an often ignored historical relic in America.

"We are focusing on African-American historical sites because there are many sites that aren't as grand or aren't architectural monuments that have received as much attention," he said. "We're trying to broaden our movement and include all aspects of Maryland heritage."

The lodge was built around 1900 by the United Sons and vTC Daughters of the Levi Beneficial Society No. 1 of Mount Tabor. The Levi Society is part of the Independent Order of Good Samaritans, an international religious and charitable organization based on the parable of the good Samaritan in the Bible.

Over the years, the building has taken a beating, Mrs. Hawkins said. White paint on the exterior wooden walls is peeling, there's a hole in the roof, the window casings are loose and the water pump is broken.

But Mrs. Hawkins said lodge members were devoted to preserving the building.

"This is part of our heritage," she said. "You could tear it down and put up a new building over it, but it wouldn't have the same significance. There's a lot of history here."

Donna Hole, president of the Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation Inc., said the society's tradition of aiding others was critical in the decision to award the grant.

"It supports a group that is well over 100 years old to support their program of helping people in their community," Ms. Hole said.

Mrs. Hawkins said lodge members would continue their programs of helping the sick and the poor well into the 21st century.

"We do not pass by anybody in need," she said. "We reach down and help them up. It's all about unity."

Pub Date: 3/28/96

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