|The 400 block of Jefferson Avenue in the small town of Jefferson, MD was filled with an interesting crowd on the evening of October 22: police cars, workers from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., and an amalgam of neighbors lined the street. It sounds like the beginnings of a bad news update, but it’s actually the setting of a fairly heartwarming story in this small Maryland town.
A house located at 423 Jefferson Ave. was beginning its big move out of Jefferson and into Towson, specifically to 410 Fairmount Ave. in Towson, where the long 90-minute commute ended. The old log cabin house is known as the Historic Parker House, and it has held a very important spot in Maryland’s history dating back to the late 1800s.
When construction company Evergreene Cos. bought the plot of land which included 423 Jefferson Ave., and when news was released that the company intended to build a subdivision of 35 four-story townhouses on that plot, the former property’s owner decided to take action in order to preserve the house.
Tom Repsher, the Senior Vice President of Daft McCune Walker and the previous owner of the house, took it upon himself to secure a new spot for the Parker House. Repsher worked closely with Baltimore County to find a new location for the house in order to preserve an important Maryland landmark.
The house was built around 1886-1887 by newly-freed slaves who lived in an overwhelmingly black community. While the cabin shows obvious signs of weathering, it remarkably hasn’t fallen victim to the problems that many old houses have, such as risky cracks in the foundation, or barely-functioning plumbing and electricity. In fact, Repsher has owned the house for about 10 years and lives in it when he comes to Jefferson for work a few times per week.
Repsher told the Baltimore Sun that the house was definitely an investment — that its relocation and preservation would require a constant stream of money — but he reasoned that the Parker House was worth the price. The relocation itself took weeks to plan, and construction workers had to build a foundation for the house and set up the utilities in its new location. Repsher says that it will take about three weeks for the house to fully “settle” in its new location and be safe to live in again, but he doesn’t seem to anticipate any problems; the whole move went very smoothly, and the entire community seems to support the cabin’s preservation now more than ever.