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Thread: Bel Air Mill to be razed.

  1. #1
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    Default Bel Air Mill to be razed.

    Its small but may interest some of you while it is available for a short period of time.


    Bel Air’s mill to be gone in 60 days; Historic building being razed

    BY BRYNA ZUMER
    The Aegis
    Posted 6/24/09


    The 120-year-old mill on Bel Air’s Main Street will soon be just a memory.

    Constructed in 1886 and at one time producing 100 barrels of flour per day, the four-story building is now being demolished after Henry Holloway, owner of The Mill of Bel Air, stopped using it last year.

    Holloway, who has a similar facility in Cardiff, said he no longer needs the Bel Air building, which has stored livestock feed in recent years.

    “That facility can more than handle the demand,” he said of the Cardiff mill. On Main Street, “the building has pretty much been sitting vacant since last September.”

    Holloway plans to expand the retail garden and tack center next to the mill by attaching a retail greenhouse to it, and will also use the site of the mill for more parking.

    The demolition permit was signed June 17 and Holloway expects the building to be gone within 60 days.

    Instead of bringing in a wrecking ball, the company he hired will be salvaging all the pieces.

    “The manner in which they take the building down is they are trying not to damage any wood,” he said, explaining that the building is made of material “you cannot buy today” and will probably be sold for flooring.

    “There are some absolutely gorgeous, pine wood floors in this building,” Holloway said.

    Although the building has no historical easement on it, Holloway discussed his plans with Bel Air’s historical committee several months ago.

    “They urged me to find an alternative use for the building. I have told them that it wouldn’t lend itself to another use because of its construction,” he said. “You couldn’t take that building and meet building codes today.”

    Although the mill’s era is ending, some residents knowledgeable about local history say it does not come as a major surprise.

    “It is a historic old building, but progress goes on, and you hate to see things like that lost, but you realize with that particular building and that location, it was very difficult to do anything with that building,” said Jack Shagena, who wrote a book called “Bel Air Roller Mills,” a history of the operation on North Main Street.

    Shagena said he encouraged Holloway to salvage the wood and use it for shelving or other decorative purposes.

    Until he closed the operation, Holloway said there were about 800 tons of raw material being stored in the building’s 10,000 square feet.

    Shagena said the building was made with a “timberframe” construction technique that was popular until the early 1900s, and there are four other mills in the area that used the same technique.

    Although the mill once serviced an area far beyond Harford County and has a “rich history” as Bel Air’s first mill, Shagena said he does not think the building is especially significant in the big picture.

    “Unfortunately, Bel Air has lost a lot of its historic buildings. It’s just progress,” he said. “You would like to preserve all of them, but you just can’t do that.”

    Shagena said the demolition makes sense as a business decision for Holloway.

    “You have to do what is practical for a businessman to do,” he said. “Generally we are concerned about losing any old structure but you realize that if you are going to do something new that is going to benefit people today, sometimes the old has to pass into the history books.”
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails belairmill01.jpg   belairmill02.jpg   belairmill03.jpg   belairmill04.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Its a shame to see another old building torn down. But the owner has a good point in doing it for the way of progress.

    Does anyone have photos inside?

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