Tome Gas House restora­tion project to fin­ish in Jan­uary

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER Fol­low us on

jbellmyer@ ce­cil­whig. com

— The parts of the Tome Gas House that could be sal­vaged are be­ing used to bring the his­toric struc­ture back to life, with the restora­tion project sched­uled to be com­pleted in Jan­uary.

Tom Fors­man said he and Steve Bad­ham, from Bathon Builders in Elkton, gath­ered enough of the ag­ing tim­ber from the old trusses hold­ing up the slate roof to make new cor­bels and spires.

“We re­fin­ished 19 and made eight new ones,” he said of the cor­bels, which will go un­der the sof­fit. “We were able to save one spire and we repli­cated the rest. We are stay­ing true to the orig­i­nal.”

Amish car­pen­ters built the mas­sive birch trusses sup­port­ing the new slate roof.

“The ( Mary­land His­toric Trust) had hoped we could save more of the roof, but it was so rot­ted,” said Vicky Rinker­man, town ad­min­is­tra­tor.

Rinker­man said the trust, along with town of­fi­cials, is ec­static with the progress in the $ 1.3 mil­lion grant- funded project


Tom Fors­man with Bathon Builders ex­plains how he and Steve Pad­ham had to repli­cate the ex­ist­ing cor­bels on the Tome Gas House to have enough to go around the sof­fit of the his­toric struc­ture in Port De­posit.

to turn the 166- year- old for­mer util­ity build­ing into a vis­i­tor’s cen­ter and re­search hub.

When com­pleted, the project will bring back to life an iconic struc­ture that ty­coon phi­lan­thropist Ja­cob Tome had built to house the gas works that heated his own man­sion home as well as the Ja­cob Tome In­sti­tute and pro­vided street lights in Port De­posit, Rinker­man said.

“The bot­tom floor will be the vis­i­tor’s cen­ter with Bain­bridge Naval Train­ing

Cen­ter museum dis­plays,” Rinker­man said Tues­day.

A spi­ral stair­case and a chair­lift will make the top floor ac­ces­si­ble and al­low Tow­son Uni­ver­sity to op­er­ate its re­search cen­ter for the north­ern map tur­tles. Mary­land’s only pop­u­la­tion of the en­dan­gered rep­tile calls Port De­posit home.

While the orig­i­nal slate roof had to be re­placed, the gran­ite has been re­pointed and when the project is com­pleted in Jan­uary, the Tome Gas House will look ex­actly as it did in 1850.

“The Mary­land His­toric Trust was here last month and they are very pleased and happy with the re­point­ing,” Rinker­man said.

( Re­point­ing is what is done to sta­bi­lize stone or brick. Crum­bling mor­tar or ce­ment is re­moved and new ma­te­rial added of­ten with­out tak­ing the wall it­self com­pletely apart.)

The trust, along with the Mary­land State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Video Lot­tery Ter­mi­nal fund, Mary­land De­part­ment of Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment and the Port De­posit Cham­ber of Com- merce made grant monies avail­able for the restora­tion.

“When you look at Port De­posit and what’s been lost, in­clud­ing the ( Tome) school and the man­sion, it’s a win- win for the town to have this last his­toric build­ing on the waterfront,” Rinker­man said.


Vicky Rinker­man, Port De­posit town ad­min­is­tra­tor, de­tails the lay­out of the first floor of the Tome Gas House, which is now be­ing ren­o­vated.


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