Historic Statehouse Is Getting a Facelift

By Jeff Shim
UJWANNAPOLIS, Md. — You can call the Maryland State House a work in progress, even though it’s been around for more than 200 years.

In fact, it’s where General George Washington resigned his commission as head of the Army in 1783.

But now, the historic building is getting a facelift – piece by piece.

Last year, the Maryland Department of General Services announced that $8.2 million would be spent for an eight-month renovation that will include upgrading the State House’s piping system and HVAC, the heating and cooling interior piping systems.

The building was closed in April 2008 while the work was being done and reopened in January. Now, more work is being done to the walls and other structures inside the building.

“The visitors expected to see a lot of changes after the renovations, but the renovation was only about replastering and replacing the HVAC system,” said Elaine Rice Bachmann, the state archivist.

“I briefly heard about the renovations in the Maryland State House and expected to see a lot of change, but when I visited there last month, I did not see any major changes since the last time I had visited,” said Joey Mazzara, a Maryland resident.

Since the early 1940s, there have been lots of efforts to preserve the building. Still, the building has for years sprung water leaks. Architects detected the problem years ago, but are just now addressing the leaks.

Architects studying the problem found out that moisture was being trapped inside the walls, resulting in condensation and, in turn, water leaks.

When Maryland resident Stephen Craig heard the news, he thought, “It really needs an effort — our State House has historical values, so it should be preserved in the best way possible.” He worries that historic documents and artifacts in the building could be ruined.

Bachmann, the state archivist, said that while the preservation of the documents and artifacts is a concern, “Nothing has gone up to that point yet.

“Water leakage is only coming from the certain wall where it does not reach any of the historical items,” Bachmann said.

Architects working on the project expect the renovations to take up to two years.

Annually, the State House gets about 15,000 visitors a month. That number is not expected to change during the renovations.


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