Long-time Crisfield residents may know the history of the old Customs House, but one local foundation is making an effort to ensure that its legacy isn’t lost on future generations.
According to Delmarva Now, the Customs House, on the corner of West Main St. and North 11th St., has been undergoing renovations with an eye toward eventually turning it into a cultural center. However, for the time being, renovators are just focused on preserving the legendary building.
The Customs House was purchased by the Crisfield Heritage Foundation for $40,000 in April. After Superstorm Sandy and decades of other weather-related abuse, many were unsure of its fate.
That’s when Jay Tawes, president of the Crisfield Heritage Foundation, decided to take matters into his own hands. He purchased the building in December, and finalized the sale to his organization a few months later, in hopes that they could provide the resources necessary to truly transform the Customs House.
“This is going to be a show place for the Eastern Shore, not just Crisfield,” said Tawes.
The end goal for the project is to turn the building into a cultural center in which visitors can learn about the Bay’s maritime history. Younger Marylanders may be unaware of how important the Customs House was to the area just a century ago, and allowing them to tour the premises would help them to understand.
Most people prefer visual content, which would explain why online video views exceed 50 billion a month. The foundation hopes that informing the public through artwork and pictures will help them to truly appreciate the Customs House’s rich history.
According to local news affiliate WBALTV, the Customs House renovation isn’t the only local endeavor to educate people about Maryland’s history. An recent event called “Doors Open Baltimore” allowed residents inside of several historic buildings, some of which had remained completely dormant and empty for decades until the tour.
Those who participated in “Doors Open Baltimore” saw inside The Peale Center, Baltimore’s first City Hall, which dates back to 1813, in addition to a number of other uninhabited landmarks.
As for the Customs House, the Crisfield Heritage Foundation is still trying to get a $35,000 state grant to hire a consulting firm and solicit ideas from the public on exactly what they’d like the building to become.
Construction and renovations are therefore a work in progress, but the foundation hopes to obtain more financial backing to expedite the process and open the Customs House’s doors to the public as soon as possible.