PRINCESS ANNE — Several individuals will be recognized later this month by the Somerset County Historical Trust for their outstanding efforts and vision to preserve the historic fabric of Somerset County.
The annual preservation awards for 2021 honor property owners, business leaders and a municipality during a ticket-only fundraiser on Sept. 24.
Dr. Randy George, Trust president, will make the presentations. He said, "We are incredibly grateful for the tireless effort and commitment to preserving the historical character of our county. Thank you." This year’s awards and honorees are:
Outstanding Restoration of a Historic Property
This category honors excellence in structural rehabilitation of a historic property, while preserving or restoring significant architectural features.
The first honorees are Eric Jodelbauer and Sarah Timko-Jodelbauer for restoring their former home, the Beauchamp House, on Prince William Street in Princess Anne. This circa 1900 Colonial Revival just two doors away from Teackle Mansion was a family do-it-yourself project first started by Eric alone after its purchase in 2009, but then he was joined by Sarah for which without her it might never have been completed.
Exterior asbestos shingles were removed only to reduce insulating value and then multi-colored paint applied flaked away. Eventually vinyl siding crafted to replicate the original solved the peeling paint problem and made the house easier to heat.
Inside projects included plumbing and electrical work, a new kitchen and bath, and repairing collapsing plaster. For a time only a few rooms were livable and it was a construction site as Eric focused on completing his doctorate in history.
Prior to their wedding in 2017 Eric and Sarah saw the house’s possibilities. One project involved restoring a claw-footed tub used in the garden to put back in a bathroom of Sarah’s design. The wrap-around porch with reconstructed with the columns, balusters and handrails replicating the originals.
While the Jodelbauers have moved to a house in the country more suitable for their growing family, they left the Beauchamp House far better than they found it.
Also being recognized in the "Outstanding Restoration" category is the Town of Princess Anne for renovating the Election House, a structure built in 1876. It was moved in 1986 first to the west end of Manokin River Park and then to the east entrance to the park and suffered serious decay during the "Great Recession" of the early 2000.
The Town Commissioners made a commitment to save the building so it can continue to be used for voting, the last time in June 2016. It is listed on the Maryland Historical Trust Sites inventory.
In addition to this structure, the town was instrumental in major restoration work of the former Washington Hotel, a public-private project now operating as the Washington Inn & Tavern, plus it supports the use of façade improvement grants through the Department of Housing and Community Development.
Outstanding Adaptive Reuse of a Historic Building
This category honors the adaptive reuse of a historic building while preserving its architectural integrity and stimulating economic revitalization. The first award recipient is Sharon F. Upton, for her leadership in establishing Somerset Choice Station as a vibrant Princess Anne business from what was once a derelict gas station, and also for restoring St. Mark’s Chapel in Westover.
Somerset Choice Station occupies a 1950s Texaco station which today sells vintage, antique and collectible items to support the upkeep of Teackle Mansion. The property was a gift to the Somerset County Historical Society from Katherine Washburn, who purchased and renovated the structure for use as a shop which drives visitors and shoppers to downtown Princess Anne.
Sharon won the 2008 Restoration Award from the Maryland Historical Trust for restoring her family’s 1836 farm house, the Jeptha Hayman Farm, and it was recently recognized by Gov. Larry Hogan as a Maryland Century Farm.
Next to her property in Westover is St. Mark’s Chapel, a long-closed former Episcopal church which she was able to restore and make available for small events such as weddings and christenings.
She is an active member of the Historical Society and Historical Trust, the Princess Anne Chamber of Commerce, and is on the board of advisors for the Fairmount Academy restoration.
The second honoree in the Adaptive Reuse category is Paul Thornton’s Craftsmen Inc. Paul and his workers have had a significant impact on the landscape by saving and restoring multiple residential properties, and stabilizing the former C.H. Hayman Hardware store in Princess Anne.
Paul emigrated from Ireland at age 19 to study business at UMES, and years ago before reaching 100 he stopped counting the number of properties he’s renovated. One of his first was in Crisfield, the boyhood home of Gov. J. Millard Tawes, a property now on the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties.
Recent transformations include properties along Mt. Vernon Road, from a mid-century ranch to a 1930s bungalow with a beach house.
One recently celebrated accomplishment was Ed Corbett’s "house of dreams." This was a 28-year effort by Mr. Corbett to reproduce the circa 1700-25 Powell-Benston house. It was vacant for eight years after his death but Paul bought it in 2019 and brought it back to life, repairing damage to historic materials.
The stewardship on this property included adding a wing to make it appealing to 21st century owners. Pines trees from the property provided some of the flooring.
C.H. Hayman Hardware which has become an antiques store looks familiar in the front but Paul razed and removed the dilapidated warehouses in the back and erected a fence to hide the commercial activity from Manokin River Park, a notable landscape improvement.
This category honors individuals who make a lasting contribution to preserving or enhancing community structures, appearance, and culture. The first honoree is Dennis Williams for his tireless and ongoing commitment to preservation of public and private buildings and the streetscape of Princess Anne.
Dennis came to town in 2004 via the Seagull Century, staying overnight in the former Washington Hotel. Within a month he purchased six old properties including the former library which was once a meeting house for the Presbyterian Church.
He purchased a house on Beechwood Street that would become his permanent home when his home in Annapolis was destroyed by flooding. He became a part of the community, serving for several terms as president of the Princess Anne Chamber of Commerce and as a Town Commissioner. He is a long-time member of the Main Street Princess Anne board, Somerset County Economic Development Commission and recently was appointed to the Somerset County Sanitary Commission.
From Crisfield, John W. "Jay" Tawes is being honored for his life-long efforts to protect and enhance the community’s culture and historic buildings.
From his leadership to stabilize the former Custom’s House to most recently the former J.P. Tawes Hardware building into what is now the gallery of the Somerset County Arts Council Jay has been involved with many economic development improvements through the years.
In uptown Crisfield he outfitted a coffee shop next to his laundromat which later became a snack shop for Somerset Community Services.
For decades Jay led a successful insurance business now managed by his daughter Jayna Tawes Grant and he has been active with the Chamber of Commerce, Crisfield Heritage Foundation, the Crab & Clam Bake, the National Hard Crab Derby and Greater Crisfield Action Coalition.
Information about the upcoming annual meeting is online at schtrust.org where reservations must be received by Sept. 15.
The Trust welcomes new members and also publishes a quarterly newsletter and list of resources for historic preservation projects.