Michael A. Sawyers
CUMBERLAND — Commemorative plaques providing historical information about buildings on Town Centre will be placed on the exterior of the individual structures by spring, according to Sandi Saville, chairwoman of the Downtown Development Commission.
“We are going to start researching the histories of the buildings very shortly,” Saville said Friday. “The thought right now is to provide at least the date of construction and the original use of each building.”
Saville said a brochure will be printed to create a walking tour and could contain additional information such as the names of various businesses and the dates that they occupied the structures.
“People who moved away return to Cumberland and wonder where was the original Curtis’ (Coney Island Weiners),” Saville said. “This project will answer those kinds of questions.”
Downtown Manager Ed Mullaney said he thinks the idea is a great one.
“People think they know where Vandergrift’s Music Store was, but they are often wrong,” he said “It was in the Baltimore Street building now occupied by G&B Gifts.”
“The project will start on the bricks,” Saville said, referring to the downtown core. “As it progresses, we’ll see how far down side streets it will go.”
Saville said many visitors are impressed with the architecture of downtown buildings and that perhaps appropriate information could be placed on the plaques.
“We’ll ask the building owners if they will pay for a plaque. I’m guessing they could be about $100 each,” she said, adding that cost should not be a problem. “We have the manpower and staff to take care of the project.”
“With all the class reunions we are having on the mall, this really fits,” Mullaney said. “For example, we already have a scavenger hunt that asks things like, ‘Where was the National Shirt Shop?’ It also explains that Ford’s Drug Store was in the Manhattan Building before it became a clothing store.”
Those with knowledge of downtown buildings or who possess old photographs may contact Mullaney at 301-268-2135.
“I’m trying like crazy to get a photo of the lobby at the Windsor Hotel,” Mullaney said.
The National Shirt Shop, by the way, was in the building at Liberty and Baltimore streets, now occupied by Edward Jones Investments.
Contact Michael A. Sawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.