Sykesville Town House getting make-over reminiscent of 1880s


July 02, 1996|By Sherry Graham | Sherry Graham,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE TOWN HOUSE in Sykesville is getting a face lift, or at least a make-over. Some minor renovations and a good deal of cosmetic work have already begun in the town offices.

Since 1968, the town offices have been in the historic house. Most town officials believe that was the last time work was done on the Town House.

Town records date the house to 1883, when local architect J. H. Fowble built the residence for John McDonald. The house is an example of Colonial revival with Greek revival influences. Although the outside of the structure is in good shape, the recent harsh winters took a toll on the house. Water damage from melting snow caused paper to peel and wallboards to fall in several rooms.

"The ice and snow from recent years caused some problems and prompted the repairs," said Wiley Purkey, a member of the town's historic commission. Purkey is very familiar with decorating techniques and finishes that were used in the late 1880s.

Faded wallpaper has been stripped from five rooms, and the main hallway of the house and is being replaced with paper and paint that reflect the look and feel of the last century. Floral patterns, vines and stripes were popular wallpaper motifs and are being repeated in the make-over.

The main conference room now boasts a cream, gray-green and gold color scheme featuring vines, lily pads and scrollwork. A white and cream scrollwork paper was used on the room's ceiling. Ceiling paper was often used in the late 1800s.

Marbled paper with vines, vertical stripes and a leafy border will be used in the planning room. The town manager's office is papered in a gray, striped pattern with gray painted trim. A light paper with a small floral medallion is planned for the secretary's office, and the town clerk's office will be hung with dark green moire and a small floral wreath pattern.

"All the paper was chosen with an eye toward historically appropriate wallpaper," said Purkey. "Since we were making the repairs, we might as well be as accurate as possible with the wallpaper."

D & E Painting Contractors is expected to have the work completed by July 12. Town Council members will get a preview of the work at the next council meeting, scheduled for July 15.

Art and trains

I took a little walking tour of downtown Sykesville during my recent visit to check on the Town House. I thought I would catch up with some of the people and projects that I've written about in recent months.

I stopped in to view the finished renovations at A. B. Huddlestun's Fine Arts Studio. A circular staircase leading to the newly added second floor is a real eye-catcher.

As I was coming out of the art studio, I caught a glimpse of some activity at the railroad car that is home to the Sykesville & Patapsco Railway. Since I'd been meaning to visit the model train display, I went to check it out.

I met the president of the club, Mark Bennett and another club member just as they were finishing a cleaning and repair job at the railroad car. Lucky for me I persuaded Bennett to give me a brief tour of the trains inside.

At this point, I must tell you that Bennett and I have known each for a while and our families have shared many adventures.

I suppose that was why we both thought it hilariously funny that I momentarily lost my balance the instant I entered the railroad car. Mark quickly acknowledged that the car, sitting on abandoned tracks, tips slightly.

This off-balance feeling had me grabbing the walls for most of my visit -- but don't let that stop you from taking the children. I've been assured that most people hardly notice.

The Sykesville & Patapsco Railway will be open to visitors on July 14 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Information: 795-3157.

Softball tournament

Girls from all over Maryland and parts of Pennsylvania converged on Freedom Park June 22 and 23 for the State Amateur Softball Association Tournament. Thirty-one teams competed in four age groups.

Carroll County was well represented in the 16 & Under Division, with a team from Westminster placing first and the Freedom Heat finishing second.

And Freedom Optimist Softball played host to the annual Freedom Invitational Tournament last weekend. Seventeen teams from Carroll and surrounding counties played in the round-robin tournament.

The Freedom Flames, coached by Jerry Janowich, won the 12 & Under Division, and coach Mike Boehme and the Freedom Firecrackers finished third.

The Freedom Firebirds, coached by Glen Warholic, captured first in the 14 & Under Division.

Sherry Graham's Southeast Carroll neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 7/02/96

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