Preservation Maryland’s 1830s log cabin in Hagerstown, Maryland is nearing the end of its makeover. The once haggard home in the historic Jonathan Street community now stands revived and resolute, ready to hold the stories of many more homeowners for generations to come. And while this rehabilitation may have been a relatively modest one when compared to larger enterprises, the cabin underwent no less of a transformation and the project had just as much to impart.
Preservation Maryland and the project team took great care to protect as much of the historic fabric as possible through conscientious design, utilization of historic preservation techniques, and the intentional selection of new materials on and in the cabin where reuse of the original was not feasible. The cabin is now fitted with a new standing seam metal roof as well as new siding that will protect the nearly 300-year-old logs from the elements. At the back, an addition occupying the same footprint as one that existed historically provides some extra square footage for the next resident.
Inside the cabin, historic material was reinstalled and remains exposed in areas to maintain and showcase the original nature of the structure. Paired with these historical elements are some modern touches, including new drywall and finishes, as well as updated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. The cabin also has new appliances, generously supplied by the Washington County Habitat for Humanity.
Big or small, every project provides opportunity for expanding knowledge and gaining insight. Sometimes this expanded knowledge is more practical in nature. For example, when working on a historic structure, expect the unexpected and know that the schedule provided at the start of the project will not necessarily look like the schedule you end up with by the project’s conclusion.
Other times, the insight is less about best practice and more about the intangible. While gathering research on the cabin’s age and evolution, Preservation Maryland stumbled upon facts about Hagerstown and the people who called it home. These facts might have otherwise remained unnoticed; however, as a result of this project, we now know that much more both about Hagerstown history and the individuals that added to it, contributing to our understanding of the city’s heritage and society at different stages of our country’s development.
Such is the beauty with preservation projects. Not only do they offer a moment to uncover important tangible and intangible parts of history, but they help bring a historical resource into the modern age so that it can continue to have a place in the community. We are excited to see what the future holds for this humble home and are grateful to all those that helped us save this significant piece of Maryland history.
On Tuesday, September 14th we are hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of this project with partners and the community. Continue to follow along here as we share more stories from the cabin and photos of the revitalized home at 417 N. Jonathan.
Laura Houston · Historic Property Redevelopment Manager
Laura Houston supports the unprecedented growth of Preservation Maryland's property redevelopment program, including flagship projects in Hagerstown and Annapolis. Born and raised in Texas, Laura is excited to get to know Maryland and her fellow Marylanders as she, her husband, and their rescue pup Roscoe make the beautiful Old Line State their home.