UNIONTOWN — In 2015, the former Uniontown Bank was at risk of collapsing and being considered for demolition.
But after almost four years, it has been transformed into a single-family home that marries history with the present.
The old rural community bank at 3424 Uniontown Road was built more than 110 years ago, and sat vacant for 30 years before former Sykesville Mayor Jonathan Herman purchased it from Historic Uniontown Inc. in 2015 — when it was at risk for collapse if expensive repairs weren’t made.
“It’s in a historic district. I had to come up with a historically compatible design, and Steve [Ziger, the architect], did a great job,” said Herman, who is also the founder and president of Herman Construction Inc.
“I was kind of enamored by the old structure,” he told the Times last week. “So the front room, whoever buys this house, is going to have a perfectly preserved front room and perfectly modern three-story addition behind it.”
By the time Herman bought the building in 2015, Historic Uniontown had replaced the roof, repaired iron bars on the windows, replaced a boiler and made other repairs to the building over the years with grant money the organization received — but other repairs could not be completed due to lack of funding.
And Morabito Consultants, a structural engineering firm, evaluated the building that year, confirming it had deteriorated so much the rear wall of the bank was structurally unsafe and needed to be replaced.
The Carroll County Savings Bank originally constructed the building in 1907 before it was purchased by the Taneytown Bank in 1951. Historic Uniontown owned the bank from 1979 — when Taneytown Bank operations were moved to another Uniontown location — until Herman purchased it.
Herman, who has been in the restoration business for 45 years, said he always loved the bank and knew he needed to do something when Historic Uniontown reached out to him with dire news: The back wall had just collapsed and they were going to demolish the building in two weeks unless they could find someone to stabilize it.
“They put a fence around the entire building because they thought it was going to explode or something,” Herman said. “But it’s like a time capsule, just beautiful.”
Ziger, the architect on the project, said it was Herman’s vision that inspired the design, and they wanted it to be “simple and elegant.”
“At Ziger-Snead we do a lot of historic renovation projects,” he said, “but also a number of projects around the region that involve modern additions in historic contexts.”
He said one example of a recent Ziger-Snead project is the Parkway Theatre — a 1915 movie theater in Baltimore. Right next to the building is a modern building with a new lounge and two other theaters.
“So we love the idea. We love communicating through design that history is living: that there’s this incredible, beautiful bank building that was once a real anchor in its community; that by creating an addition that turns it into a new use, it also communicates the new life or new moment for the future — so that it’s both rooted in the past and looking to the future,” Ziger said.
“Those types of projects really get our creative juices flowing, because of that narrative of kind of connecting past to present.”
Now the building is complete and listed for $369,000 through Re/Max Realty Centre. Herman said it would be ideal for a young family that loves a mixture of old and new, with someone potentially working from a home office operating in the restored bank lobby.
“I think it would be great for a live-work kind of thing. If you were an accountant and had clients meet there — I think it would be good for somebody who had a home business, or someone who likes antiques. It’s such a unique space,” Herman said.
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“It was tough [deciding what to do]. What could you do with a bank? You can’t make it a bank anymore, but a single-family home? Everybody needs a place to live.”