An 18th-century stone house on Downsville Pike near Halfway has been named to Preservation Maryland's 2011 "Endangered Maryland" list of 11 threatened historic properties throughout the state.
The 1780 home, known as "David's Friendship," is one of only 12 remaining stone homes built in Washington County prior to that date, according to the listing.
"The site was part of Allegheny Power's 400-acre technology park for more than 20 years," Preservation Maryland's list said. "Since being sold in 2005, the effects of deterioration and neglect have taken their toll."
Patricia Schooley, a local preservationist who nominated the property for the list, said she hoped the publicity would help attract a buyer to fix up the building for commercial use.
"There aren't very many 18th century stone houses in this county, and every one of them should be saved," Schooley said. "We just don't have an excess."
The house is on land that Joseph Funk received in 1779 from his father, Henry Funck, who came to the area in 1749 to buy land with his brother, Jacob, according to a history of the property written by Schooley, who sits on the board of the Washington County Historical Society and the Washington County Historical Trust.
A date stone inscribed "J.F. 1780" suggests Joseph Funk built the house the following year.
Potomac Edison bought the home and its more than 147 acres in 1960, and for the next quarter-century, the land was rented as a farm, according to Schooley's history.
Allegheny Power later began restoring the building with an intent to make it the centerpiece of its corporate headquarters, Schooley said.
After the power company moved its headquarters to Greensburg, Pa., in 2004, Brad Fulton and his father, Adna, bought the property, Schooley said.
"They didn't realize how important it was, historically," she said.
As the property sat vacant, it was broken into, windows were broken, sills rotted, and vegetation grew up over the house.
Then, last spring, Schooley and fellow Historical Trust member Sandra Iser contacted the Fultons and took them out to see the condition of the house, Schooley said.
Since then, the Fultons have secured the house and had the windows repaired and the vines removed, she said.
"The present owners are being good stewards, but this is not what they do," she said.
Schooley said she hoped that making the Endangered Maryland list — which was featured in the March/April edition of Maryland Life magazine — would bring the property to the attention of a buyer who would restore it and take advantage of tax incentives available for historic properties.
"There's somebody for every old building," she said. "There's some business out there that will look at this and say, 'This is the place for me.'"
The property was selected for the list by a panel of historic preservationists based on its level of threat, historic and architectural significance and community commitment, a Preservation Maryland news release said.
It is the preservation group's fifth Endangered Maryland listing, which now includes 53 historic sites throughout Maryland.
Previous Washington County properties have included the Almshouse in Hagerstown in 2010 and the Brumbaugh Kendle Grove Farmstead near Hagerstown Regional Airport in 2009.
Top 10 endangered historic properties
The other 10 "Endangered Maryland" properties listed this year include:
- Anchor of Hope Cemetery, Dorchester County
- Bean Tobacco Barn, St. Mary's County
- Dee of St. Mary's, St. Mary's County
- McKim Free School Building, Baltimore City
- Miller's House, Talbot County
- Gymnasium at National Park Seminary, Montgomery County
- Peale Municipal Museum Building, Baltimore City
- Perpetual Building, Montgomery County
- Roland Water Tower, Baltimore City
- Wetipquin Chapel, Wicomico County