Historic District group vets several requests, previews Rev. Dr. Tindley art project
By Greg Ellison
(Sept. 9, 2021) In addition to approving requests for façade work, sign changes and privacy fencing, the Berlin Historic District Commission previewed a downtown mural project during its Sept. 1 meeting.
First up on the three-item agenda was a request to replace a section of rotten cornice on the front of a storefront at 18 N. Main St. owned by OC Law Office Holding LLC.
Property Manager Ed Reid said the damaged area of the structure also has detached molding.
“Over time that entire piece has become rotten,” he said.
Reid sought assistance from Jack Abell Home Improvement and Restoration, who quoted the project at $3,375.
“Once they get under it, I suspect they will … see more rot and damage than what we see from the stoop,” he said.
Reid anticipates the entire section of cornice will need updating.
“I applied for and received a façade grant to fund 50 percent,” he said.
Reid said the goal was to complete the improvements before the end of the year.
“We didn’t want to do it during high traffic summer months,” he said.
Committee member Laura Stearns asked if replacement materials would match the current appearance.
Dylan Drew with Jack Abell confirmed current building materials were used for comparison purposes.
“It will be as close as possible to what’s existing now,” he said.
Reid said the façade grant also restricted options in favor of maintaining tradition.
“We’re going to use wood,” he said.
Reid also confirmed the metal awning would remain and current color treatments would be matched.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the work.
Next for consideration was the approval of a sign for the Butcher’s Table at J & M Meat Market on the corner of William and Pitts streets.
Heidi Johnson told the commission the 36-by-24-inch double-sided wooden sign was previously used by the front door.
The proposed wording would change to read “The Butcher’s Table Wine Bar & Kitchen.”
J&M Meat Markets launched the new wine and beer bar at the end of August.
The committee unanimously approved the request.
Lastly, the committee weighed a request to install a six-foot privacy fence at 26 Broad Street.
Planning Director Dave Engelhart said the request is for the backyard area at a residence located adjacent to the Post Office that was previously approved for shorter fencing in the front yard.
“It squares up with the chain link fence at the post office property,” he said.
Committee Chairwoman Carol Rose said the stockade fencing would not be highly visible from roadways, while also complimenting the prior fence work completed at the property.
“It looks beautiful, they did a really nice job,” she said.
On a side note, Rose highlighted pending approval to revise locations for a planned mural of Rev. Dr. Charles Albert Tindley originally slated for the Bruder Hill building on Commerce Street.
Although rising to eventual prominence as a pioneer of modern gospel music during the post-Civil War era in Philadelphia, Tindley was native to Berlin.
Credited with writing standards such as “Stand By Me,” and “We Shall Overcome,” Tindley was born on the Eastern Shore in 1851 but relocated to Philadelphia with his wife, Daisy, following the Civil War.
The Worcester County Commissioners at its Aug. 17 meeting approved Berlin’s request to pursue a grant to help fund the venture.
Rose said the Bruder Hill location proved to be too expensive.
“The texture of the outside of that building would make it more expensive than the grant would cover,” she said.
Engelhart and Rose attended a meeting with artist Jay Coleman and various stakeholders at the Berlin Visitor Center on Aug. 24.
“The artist impressed us all,” he said. “The samples of his work around the D.C. area and Annapolis were very impressive.”
Rose said, contingent on approval next month, the mural project would be completed within view of Town Hall.
“It will go right over here on J.E. Parker’s building on the old Farlow’s Pharmacy space,” she said.
Engelhart said the Tindley mural would be an ideal addition to the Worcester County heritage area.
“It’s educational for the kids and it’s public art,” he said.
Rose said the project could have a regional impact.
“The plan is if Berlins goes well, there will be one done next in Princess Anne and Somerset County,” she said. “The Maryland Council for the Arts is really behind this.”