Cumberland Times-News


July 30, 2013

Just save it

We love our old and obsolete buildings

Americans, for whatever reason, have a devotion to preserving old buildings that have outlived their original purpose and are in peril of being subjected to the wrecking ball.

We who live in this area certainly are no strangers to this phenomenon.

Witness the the Queen City Hotel, a once-magnificent structure that was just over a century old when it was demolished. Built as a B&O Railroad station, it made way for a much smaller and far less fancy Amtrak station.

Periodically, someone will mention what a shame it was — more than that, a crime! — that the hotel was lost. We remember being in it some years before it was torn down, and feeling anxious to leave before it collapsed around our ears — so dilapidated was the place. Its condition was the result of years of poor maintenance and decades of pounding by vibrations from railroad traffic.

A similar fuss has surrounded the Footer Dye Works and the now-demolished “sawtooth” building (which was a disaster waiting to happen).

Some people want to save the Footer building for reasons that escape other people. However, it has been designated a historic property and therefore is immune to demolition. It is apt to stay that way. The cost of maintaining it by fixing the roof and stabilizing the numerous windows has proven considerable; a “money pit,” if you like.

Some years ago, officials in Lonaconing wanted to tear down a large firetrap of a building that somehow had found its way onto a historic register. Reason eventually prevailed and it came down, to the relief of most — if not all — in the town.

A similar brouhaha may accompany plans to raze Memorial Hospital and its medical building. Attempts to find a developer for the facility or a sufficient number of tenants to support it apparently have failed.

Old hospitals have this in common with old schools and old banks: They were designed and built specifically to be hospitals, schools and banks. Remodeling and repurposing them can be an expensive challenge.

A new use was found for the old Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser, W.Va., which was taken over by Potomac State College for use as student housing.The biggest drawback for the old Memorial Hospital may be its sheer size. The former Keyser hospital was miniscule, in comparison.

We suspect that the land left vacant by the demolition of Memorial Hospital and its annexes will prove far more desirable to developers than the old buildings that occupied it.

Text Only
  • Please return valuable items taken from woman’s parked van

    On July 8 at 2:33 p.m. my 16-year-old granddaughter Caitlyn Cook and I arrived at Children’s Medical Group for a 3 p.m. appointment.

    July 23, 2014

  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legion honor guard available to honor veterans at their funerals

    We in the honor guard of Fort Cumberland Post 13, American Legion, performed 196 veterans service in 2013.

    July 22, 2014

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Remember, we’re not immune to extinction

    I’d like to pose a theoretical scenario to Cal Thomas.

    If a medical specialist said, “Cal, you’ve got a serious physical problem. Do nothing and you’ll die soon. Follow my prescription, which involves certain life-style changes, and there’s a good probability you’ll live, even if your life may be a bit more constrained than now.”

    July 21, 2014

  • America has three branches of government for good reasons

    “Mikulski Calls for Continued Action to Protect Women's Health Following Dangerous Supreme Court Decision” is the heading you will find on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s website.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tell legislators to do what is right for America’s vets

    Without our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, where would America be today? It is anyone’s guess, however certainly not the Freedom and Liberty we enjoy.

    July 18, 2014

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Move over Move over

    Have you noticed, in your travels, that the front end of a police cruiser usually protrudes a bit more than you would expect when the officer has it parked behind another vehicle on the side of the road?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Use local workers in building new Baltimore Pike travel stop

    As a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing Allegany County, and specifically the City of Cumberland, I welcome you to our community as you prepare to construct a Love’s Travel Stop at the above referenced location (on Baltimore Pike).

    July 17, 2014