Part of fence at Old Otterbein Church toppled

Early-morning car crash knocks over 20-foot section of wrought-iron fence surrounding the historic church

November 24, 2013|By Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun

A careless driver ran into the wrought-iron fence surrounding Baltimore's historic Old Otterbein Church early Sunday morning, knocking over a roughly 20-foot section fronting Sharp Street and leaving church officials scrambling to get repairs done in time for the holidays.

Daniel Fisher, head of the church's board of trustees, said he arrived at Old Otterbein around 9:45 Sunday morning and discovered the damage. He said security personnel at the nearby Baltimore Convention Center told him they heard a crash around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and called police.

Baltimore city police officials could not provide any details concerning the incident.

The fence, which surrounds the church on three sides, was also damaged on the side adjacent to Conway Street. Fisher said that damage was not as extensive. Fixing the damage will involve repairs to the brick masonry at the base of the fence, as well as to the wrought-iron itself.

There was no damage to the church building, Fisher said, and worship services should not be affected.

"I have no idea how much it is going to cost to get it fixed," Fisher said. "Because the church is on the National Register of Historic Places, we have to use skilled craftsmen every time we have work done."

Old Otterbein is the oldest church building in Baltimore in continuous use, dating to 1785.

"We'll be contacting our insurance company tomorrow," Fisher said Sunday evening. "We're hoping that the driver is insured."

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