Firehouse plan will include sports bar Local broadcaster Patterson to showcase memorabilia collection


The brew pub and restaurants planned for Westminster's century-old Main Street firehouse will include the area's first sports bar -- showcasing memorabilia from the extensive collection of local broadcaster Ted Patterson.

Grading began last week on John Street for construction of the new station for the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Company No. 1, which is expected to move next fall.

After the move, restoration of the vacated firehouse at 66 E. Main St. should be a matter of months, because the work will be almost entirely cosmetic, said Dr. Kenneth Crawford, a retired physician who heads C&C; Restaurant Group of Bel Air.

He said the beer-brewing equipment will take up one of the three bays, while the other two will become a more formal restaurant. The large social hall at the rear will become a casual sports bar with "huge-screen TV" and museum-quality displays from Patterson's collection.

Patterson, sports director at radio station WPOC-FM, said he has posters dating from the mid-1880s in a collection that probably numbers nearly a million items -- including jerseys, hats, bats, balls, programs, pennants, pins and cards.

The agreement came about because Crawford "helped to save TC my son's life," Patterson said. His son Michael, now 21, had a brain hemorrhage in January 1992 and had been given last rites -- but the doctor stabilized him, and he recovered over the next year.

Patterson said he ran into Crawford recently, "and he came over to look at my stuff and offered me a deal."

His memorabilia represents a lifetime of collecting, Patterson said, with an emphasis on the Orioles and the Baltimore Colts. But uniforms from George Brett, Wade Boggs, Bob Feller and Rocky Colavito mingle with those of Brooks and Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, Eddie Murray and Jim Palmer, some from 1925.

"The caps go further back and the game-used bats and advertising pieces back to the turn of the century, [with] players endorsing tobacco that 'doesn't make me short of breath.'

"I have practically every yearbook of every team, and score cards back to the 1890s," Patterson said.

Majority is baseball

About three-quarters of the collection relates to baseball, said Patterson, author of several books about the Orioles, including "The Baltimore Orioles: 40 Years of Magic from 33rd Street to Camden Yards."

Patterson said he's also trying to whittle a 1,000-page book on sports announcers and broadcasting that's based upon decades tape-recorded interviews.

Details about the number of items and conditions of the loan haven't been decided.

"I haven't signed on the dotted line," Patterson said, "but we've got plenty of time. It's a question of how much stuff he wants to put in there."

He might take a share in the business or work there part time, he said. "It could blossom into my being there. I might do a sports show from the bar."

Western Maryland College is the summer training camp of the Baltimore Ravens, he noted.

"Ted's collection is going to be interspersed throughout," said Crawford. "I hate to use any comparison: It will be unique and impressive how we display it -- much more like a sports museum than just hanging things on a wall."

Restoration plans

An architect is drawing plans for the 101-year-old firehouse, Crawford said. They will restore the original brick, tin ceilings, arched windows and other distinctive features, some hidden by years of paint.

His company has leased the 14,000-square-foot first floor from developer David M. Max, a partner in Max Group Inc. of Owings Mills, which has restored several Westminster buildings, including the former J. C. Penney's building and the Winchester Exchange.

"It's huge," Max said of the plans for the firehouse. "This is going to be the biggest thing to happen in Carroll County in a long time."

Said Crawford: "The excitement starts with the building itself and just builds from there. We'll highlight the theme of the old firehouse and the pride that went into it of all the people that have worked there, dedicated all those years.

"The architecture, the location in an up-and-coming historic district, just makes for an exciting place to put a restaurant. To me, Westminster is like the New York City of Carroll County. Everybody in Carroll County knows what's happening in Westminster."

But they aren't in a hurry to move in, he said, because their efforts are focused on the mid-February opening of the group's Bayou Blues Cafe in White Marsh, a jazz and blues club.

The Westminster fire company, founded in 1879, outgrew its Main Street headquarters building, with a distinctive clock tower that's become the city logo. Spokesman Bob Cumberland said the volunteers hope to move into the new headquarters, on 3.5 acres of the former Smith & Reifsnider lumberyard, by late fall of 1998.

Pub Date: 11/30/97

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