Although the new owner of the property at the corner of Talbot Street and Baltimore Avenue in downtown Ocean City is taking some heat for demolishing the landmark structure, the criticism is unfair in my opinion.
If there is any shade to throw around in this situation, it should go on previous ownership who allowed this once beautiful building to become a dump from a structural perspective. The property was purchased in September 2017 by The Payne House LLC for $650,000, which interestingly compares to a $1.1 million sale price in 2007. Initially, the new owner, Larry Payne, intended on restoring the aging structure, which had been referred to as the Perdue House and the Taylor House over its 100 years of existence.
“I won’t really know until we really get in there and see what we’re dealing with,” he said in an article last October. “I know it has suffered from neglect somewhat over the years. If I have to tear down a significant amount of it, the plan is to rebuild with something very similar. I want people to ride down that street and see that building like they’ve remembered for so many years. We just have to see how much of the original structure we have left after we get through our deeper inspections.”
Unfortunately, multiple inspections confirmed the structure would need too much work to save and it will be razed soon. I personally don’t think Payne did anything wrong here. He tried to save it, but it wasn’t financially viable. He plans to rebuild on the site with a replica building in the future.
“Once we got in there and started the interior demolition work, we found there was very little, if anything, that was salvageable,” said Payne this week. “The previous owner or landlord had removed a lot of structural support walls and that work wasn’t done to code. Basically, the whole building started coming apart. We noticed the floors were rolling really bad and we learned the only thing holding up the second floor in some areas were nails. … I had two different engineers go through it and see if there was any way to save it. What we found is we really couldn’t do it safely without the whole thing collapsing on my guys.”
This week’s front page featured photos of the rare colt recently born over the Virginia line on Assateague Island. Along with its beautiful eyes and unusual coloring, what’s interesting is it appears his days of roaming around Assateague will soon be ending.
The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, which manages the wild horses and is the host of the popular pony penning event in July each year, posted on its Facebook page on Wednesday the colt, referred to as “Medicine Hat” by virtue of its rare color pattern, and three others recently born will be auctioned off in December through a silent bid mail process.
All four colts, which are considered born too late to be included in the annual summer pony auction, will be brought to the Chincoteague carnival grounds by mid-December and likely will be in their new homes before the turn of the year. Although it’s a guessing game at this point, most in the know believe the highest bid for “Medicine Hat,” who is about five weeks old, will top $10,000, which will benefit the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.
Although it was too long to print in the paper this time of year, I wanted to bring to our readers attention an article available on our website, www.mdcoastdispatch.com. It was written in the first person by Lee Ann Christ, the mother of Brian Christ, who died of a heroin overdose at home in 2004. Brian’s death changed the lives of many, especially his parents, Lee Ann and Tony Christ, and sisters, Katelyn Christ and Ashley Elmore. An event in his honor, Brian’s Christmas Songbook, is being held at the Ocean City Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Dec. 15 to influence young children to resist the temptation of drugs. This article, which is not intended to scare, although I’m fine with that being the case, tells the story behind that planned event. The following is an excerpt in the hopes you will dedicate some time to reading her full account online.
“I will never forget it was 8:10 a.m. Katelyn came running out to the carport screaming, ‘Something’s wrong with Brian.’ I flew into the house and down the steps and found Tony (the father) in Brian’s room in shock and Brian sitting at his computer with his head slumped forward. I screamed that we needed to get him on the floor and somehow we did. I started C.P.R. in between screams to God and Tony helped alternating compressions and breaths with me. Katelyn frantically called 911. We were in shock when the paramedics arrived. I can’t remember if Brian was blue; I think he was warm. I am a nurse and I never had to do C.P.R. until then, on my precious son,” Lee Ann Christ wrote. “We followed in the car to Fairfax Hospital E.R. and were brought to the E.R. where they were working on him. I stood at his feet holding on to his foot, the only thing I could get to. They shocked him over and over. Katelyn and Tony were pale and looking on in disbelief and horror as they sat near him. When the doctors and nurses stopped and informed us he was gone, we crowed together and fell up against the wall weeping. My baby, by child, my son was gone. I was in pure agony. We all were.”