The sagging, scorched house on East Pennsylvania Avenue in Towson has survived for more than 100 years. So what's a few more weeks?
Since last summer, the boarded-up house has been slated to go before the county Board of Appeals. Its owner, Josef L. Gehring, was given permission to raze the property after a 1998 fire. Community groups objected, noting that the house - or at least part of it - has significant historical value.
The so-called Jacob House at 437 E. Pennsylvania Ave., is one of the few log houses left in this predominantly black neighborhood in East Towson. But much of the original log structure has been obscured by years of renovations. And what the fire didn't damage, the elements have scoured.
The Board of Appeals has postponed several meetings, hoping the two sides can work things out. The Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission has agreed not to hold a hearing on the structure's historical significance until the Board of Appeals has ruled on whether it can be razed - a decision that could be appealed to Circuit Court.
"Right now we have it scheduled for Dec. 5," said Kathleen Bianco, administrator of the Board of Appeals.
"It's a very iffy thing," said John McGrain, the county historian. "If it had burned all the way, we'd be in a better situation. It's just so complex."
Still, some neighbors and Historic Towson Inc. hope to save the house, if they can work out a purchase agreement with the owners. The negotiations haven't gotten very far, the owner's lawyer, Carroll Holzer, acknowledged last week. A verbal appraisal sets the price at about $186,000, but Holzer said he has yet to receive the written appraisal he requested.