Historic house gets weatherproof sign


January 06, 2002|By Rosalie Falter | Rosalie Falter,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IF YOU DRIVE past the historic Benson-Hammond House you may not realize you are looking at a new sign at the entrance. On closer inspection, however, you will see that the wood sign has been replaced with an exact replica - but this one is made of a more durable material.

The original sign was designed, built and installed in 1989 by Paul Gable, president of Gable Signs Inc. of Pasadena. The sign was wrapped like a large gift and ceremoniously unwrapped on the occasion of the county's 339th birthday. County dignitaries and Ann Arundell County Historical Society members were among those at the unveiling.

"When we donated the first sign to the society, we also committed ourselves to lifetime maintenance and in the last 12 years we had to paint it two times," Gable said. "It became apparent that it needed to be replaced. We used high-tech materials for the new sign. The materials we have today were not available back then."

Gable said he used aluminum for structural posting and extruded polystyrene for the body of the sign, all of it covered with automotive-quality finishes. The cameo photo at the top of the sign is a digital reprint of the original Nelson Bates portrait of Ann Arundell, Lady Baltimore, for whom Anne Arundel County is named. The new sign was installed in the fall.

Ted Mathison, president of the Ann Arundell County Historical Society said: "Gable did a super job. He has certainly been a big support over the years."

Gable, who is a member of the society, said: "I am a fan of Anne Arundel County history. I appreciate the past and have always marveled at this house whenever I saw it."

The Benson-Hammond House was built in the 1820s by Thomas Benson and was sold to the Hammond family in 1887. It remained in that family until 1947, when it was purchased by Baltimore for construction of Friendship Airport (now Baltimore-Washington International Airport).

Until the 1930s, the property was a truck farm that grew vegetables and small fruits for the Baltimore market. The house was restored by the Ann Arundell County Historical Society for use as its headquarters and as a museum. It is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

Mathison said that although the house and Browse & Buy Shoppe are closed for the winter, tours are available by appointment. Information: Dottie Singleton, 410-573-9118, or Ted Mathison, 410-987-9591.

The house and gift shop will reopen March 21. Hours will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The Benson-Hammond House is at Aviation Boulevard and Andover Road.

Woman's Club

The first meeting of the year for the Woman's Club of Linthicum Heights will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the clubhouse, 110 N. Hammonds Ferry Road. The topic for the program will be "On Pins and Needles!" presented by April D. Folmer, an acupuncturist with offices in Linthicum and Columbia.

The club's Community, Health and Volunteer Services Committee is collecting new socks and underwear for homeless men staying in shelters run by area churches. Donations may be brought to the meeting.

Information: Lynne Marie McGowan, 410-859-5954, or Fran Purper, 410-859-5284.

Linthicum-Shipley meeting

The Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association will hold its monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the media center at Lindale Middle School. The guest speaker will be Wes Chan from the State Highway Administration. He will present updated plans for sidewalks along Camp Meade Road.

Information: Mike Daniel, 410-859-8586.

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