Group gets a grant to help save Aberdeen train station

Study on possible uses for building to be done

November 23, 2003|By Lane Harvey Brown | Lane Harvey Brown,SUN STAFF

A group hoping to save a historic train station in Aberdeen from demolition has received a state grant to determine whether the Victorian-era building can be moved and how it might be reused.

The Historical Society of Harford County was awarded the $5,000 grant Thursday, said Fred Holycross, Preservation Maryland's program director.

The society, which received a $50,000 grant from the Maryland Historical Trust last month, expects to choose an engineer next month to study whether moving and reusing the building are feasible, said Maryanna Skowronski, administrator of the historical society.

She said the group has also received $2,600 in private donations.

The group took on the project in July, when Aberdeen officials, noting safety concerns, issued a demolition order for the station, which has become a graffiti-covered, dilapidated shell on West Bel Air Avenue.

The historical society stepped in with help from preservation agencies and blocked the destruction of the building. The city lifted the demolition order about four weeks ago, City Manager Peter Dacey said, after the historical society worked out a temporary lease with CSX to enter the building and do the feasibility study.

"If it makes sense, and it's something that can be done, all the better," Dacey said.

How the building might be used has not been decided. "We're not really to that point yet," Skowronski said. "We're open to all suggestions," she said, which so far include a restaurant or tourism offices.

The station is one of the few remaining small-town stations on the old B&O Railroad, Holy- cross said. It was designed by Frank Furness, a noted 19th-century architect and Civil War Medal of Honor recipient from Philadelphia, he said.

"Even though this was a more modest structure, it's excellent work," said Michael Day, chief of Maryland Historical Trust's preservation services office.

Day, a Harford County native, called it "amazing" that the historical society was able to negotiate with CSX and the city to not take the old building down. "It took a lot of folks agreeing to be lenient ... to make this possible," he said.

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