This time of year brings out feelings of nostalgia in people. It’s a time for gifts, food, and Christmas movies – especially movies.
Several of the newsletters I subscribe to have posted lists of their favorite holiday movie homes. You probably have your own list of holiday favorite homes as well.
After all, who can forget brick mansion in Home Alone, or Rose hill Cottage in The Holiday, or the adorable cape in A Miracle on 34th Street? The movies feature homes where one could curl up in a window seat and watch the snow fall, pull up a comfy chair next to the fireplace and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, or just have friends over for potluck dinner.
My daughter calls them Christmas houses because of the warmth and happiness one feels when seeing these homes.
Most people can only dream of having a “Christmas house”… but here in Morristown we are blessed; From Olde Town’s quaint cottages, timeless bungalows, vernacular farm houses, and stately Georgian colonials to the beautiful and traditional elegance of the 1920s and 30s homes in Lyn Mar Hills, and Morningside we are a city of hundreds of Christmas houses that evoke memories and pull on our heart strings.
So in your jaunts around Morristown this holiday season take a side trip and visit Olde Towne, Lyn Mar Downs and Morningside – feel the history and the stories of Christmases past.
I found this on an old computer. It was written right after the first attempt was made to demolish the Coy WIllings house.
The Coy Willing House, on the corner of West 2nd North and Church Streets, was scheduled for demolition August 12th, 1998 at 5:30 p.m. Jerry’s Wrecker Service showed up on time. Mr. Gail Smith, the man awarded the demolition contract, made sure the cables and beams were right. But the house did not go down. True to the character of the man who built it, this stately home stood strong and defiant as steel cables strained and I-beams pressed hard against the oak-clad sheathing.
Onlookers watched in amazement. The wrecker truck, for a brief moment, lifted off the ground, the windows rattled, my five-year-old screamed and the cables snapped.
Even with the siding off, the floors removed, and half the joists gone, the craftsmanship was ever present. The Coy Willing House was built when pride and integrity were more than buzzwords for salesmen and politicians.
Of course the house did go down; other methods were employed. But that day the son of a confederate soldier, the maker of fine houses for important people, again stood tall.
Like everything houses built today have a shelf life of 20-25 years. But there was a time when homes were made to last. We are fortunate that we still have homes from that era.
Morristown’s Olde Towne historic districts were created in the late 1970s but they weren’t give any ordinances. I am guessing that people thought you had to be as extreme as Charleston.
Here is an example of how an ordinance can be written. It does not interfere with personal taste or choice.
In general, there is nothing you would want to do to your home (short of razing it) that you can’t do in a Historic District, as long as you meet Baltimore County building regulations and one additional requirement: Your proposed project must conform to the architectural style of the buildings on YOUR property.
If you are designing a new house, the design must be compatible with the homes surrounding it. Since there is such a wide range of styles developed over the year in the district, a builder has a wide range of styles to work from. your protection is that an adjacent property owner can’t build something that will wreck havoc on your property value.
The following are examples of the type of projects you can do in a Baltimore County Historic District:
- Change your driveway material, or add a new one;
- Add an addition;
- Modify the interior of the home to your taste;
- Landscape to your taste;
- Erect a fence;
- Replace your gutters with aluminum;
- Replace or remove (or add!) exterior shutters;
- Add a bathroom;
- Modernize your kitchen;
- Add a garage;
- Put up a storage shed;
- Put in a swimming pool;
- Add a deck;
- Put a hot tub on the deck;
- Add storm windows;
- Put in a patio (between the deck & pool?)
Baltimore County Historic Districts There are several historic districts in Baltimore County, including old Lutherville, Relay, Dundalk, Glyndon, and Sudbrook Park.
These communities elected to become historic districts for one or more of the following reasons:
- To stabilize the community;
- to prevent demolition by other owners;
- To keep the area looking the same;
- To prevent ugly additions to the structures;
- To prevent “demolition by neglect;” or
- For the prestige.