Fulton's beloved old Milkcan moves west with a bit of help Landmark building makes way for a store and a gas station

March 15, 1998|By Jill Hudson | Jill Hudson,SUN STAFF

One of Fulton's oldest buildings, the tiny one-room landmark off Route 216 known to locals as the Milkcan, was moved last week to make way for the future.

The move didn't take very long or go very far -- only a couple of hundred yards west of the spot where the building had stood since 1886.

But the sight of two enormous construction cranes lifting a building off its foundation and putting it down again was enough to stir the interest of more than a few passers-by on Friday. As motorists made their way through Fulton, many slowed long enough to witness the brightly colored store dangling in midair.

A few women stood smoking cigarettes and chatting as the beloved Milkcan slowly made its way due west.

"It's not a huge building, but we wanted to save it because it's so old and historic and we love it," said Judy Iager, whose family owns the store and Maple Lawn Farms, a 700-acre farm that produces about 20,000 turkeys a year.

Iager said the building was given a face lift in the early 1980s. "We tried to keep the general shape and look to it, but none of it is really original," she said while taking pictures of the move. "It was so old that it was only a wooden shell with no insulation and lots of holes. There were mice and rats -- and no plumbing!"

Since the renovation, the building has been an antiques and crafts shop and, most recently, a framing store.

The Milkcan was moved to make way for a High's convenience store and gas station. It's new inhabitant will be an insurance company, Iager said.

Liz Humes, the Milkcan's last tenant and owner of Sundog, the art and framing shop that is now three miles away in Highland, said she had been anxiously anticipating the move.

"Moving my business out of this building was really hard because I really loved it," she said. "I mean, there was no plumbing but it just had so much character. But it's not like they're tearing the building down."

The Milkcan began as a general store, built by one of Fulton's founding fathers, Albert W. Brady, who also owned the town's post office. The store became known as the Milkcan in the early 1900s when farmers used the store's front porch as a drop-off point for their steel milk cans.

Fulton -- one of Howard's smallest villages, on Route 216 two miles west of U.S. 29 -- began in the 1800s as Waters, a community providing services for farmers.

The town got its current name in 1882 from Charles C. Fulton, an editor of The Sun and owner of the Baltimore American newspaper.

For the most part, Fulton has remained rural. In 1910, roughly 300 residents lived on farms. Route 216, the main thoroughfare, was not paved until the 1960s.

But in 1990, about 1,200 people moved to Fulton, according to the Census Bureau, and four upscale, Colonial-style subdivisions are being built or will open this year.

Charles Iager Jr. and his brother, Eugene, plan to develop their land for an estimated 2,000-unit, mixed-use project that could double the area's population.

The project -- a Columbia-style blend of houses and businesses -- would become the county's largest under development.

It would have more residents than the other large, mixed-use project proposed for the Baltimore-Washington corridor, the nearby North Laurel development sought by the Rouse Co.

Pub Date: 3/15/98

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