Here's a Real Column for You....First It Was Bags, Now It's Porches ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Here's a Real Column for You....First It Was Bags, Now It's Porches

The paper versus plastic bag debate rages on, yet with a new twist. A debate now rages in our Historic District about whether a porch column can be made of fiberglass or must be made of wood. As reported in The Sun, on the one hand are Bryan and Valerie Miller, longtime residents, civic and political activists who have put in fiberglass porch columns, apparently in violation of a building permit that specified they must be wood. Ms. Miller was also the legislative aide to former County Councilwoman Barbara Samoracjzak. Supporting (or should I write "upholding"?) their case is historic preservationist Daniel Sams of the MD. Historic Trust. On the other side are the members of the Historic Preservation Commission, and according to the Sun, Mayor Moyer as well.

This was brought to CP's attention many months ago by local folks who were concerned, but CP deferred at that time from posting about it. CP is acquainted or friendly with the Millers and every individual mentioned in the article in today's Sun.

This and more makes me hesitant to take a stand. I don't live in the historic district, and when I renovated my 1920's era home in Eastport, I used a lot of non-traditional materials, but I kept all of the footprint and much of the look and feel of the era. Of course, I don't live in a nationally recognized historic district with these restrictions. On the face of it (pun intended) I would tend to side with sticking to wood, rather than using technology which has only been around for the past fifty years or so. I just feel that historic is historic and something as readily apparent and visible as porch columns should not be made an exception. Were it less visible or obscured, I might feel differently. On the other hand, as I have opined before, how are cars, electric lights and jets flying overhead historic, but perhaps I am being...petty?

I just hope that this can be sorted out in a friendly and amicable manner and that it will not serve to make life among the residents in the already crowded and contentious historic district yet more unpleasant. See today's Sun:,0,1838811.story

1 Comment:

John said...

I understand all about the "look", but when does a material become historic? As you pointed out, fiberglass has been around for 50 years. A car that is 50 years old is considered historic.

My two cents, if the look and feel of the district/project is not changed, let it go. If we are to be historically accurate, break out the buckets and remove the indoor plumbing.

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