Thursday, June 21, 2007

Free log home to good owner

Eldersburg house built circa 1840 must go

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Tom Fedor⁄The Gazette
Esther Matulonis talks on June 14 about her chestnut log home believed to be built in the 1840s along Pine Knob Road in Sykesville. Matulonis family built a new home on the property and must remove the structure, but would like give it to someone to rebuild. The home’s family room is one of the few places where the exposed timbers can be seen.
Esther and Tony Matulonis fell in love 35 years ago with a historic chestnut log home in Eldersburg, but they are willing to part with it for free.

They are giving away the home, 1620 Pine Knob Road, that was built circa 1840 as long as someone can pay to dismantle it and take it with them.

If not, it will be taken apart and stored. The logs could possibly be sold to companies that specialize in restoring historic homes.

‘‘I can’t see a part of Carroll County history torn down,” Esther Matulonis said outside the home last week. ‘‘There’s got to be a better solution.”

The Matulonises have to do something with the log house because of zoning regulations, she said. They lived in it until moving into a wing of their daughter’s home that was built on the same property in March.

Zoning regulations permit only one home on the property, she said. The family has until Oct. 23 to move the old farmhouse or dismantle it.

Zoning regulations give people 30 days to remove their previous home dating from the first day of use and occupancy of the new home.

The family requested permission for more time to decide what to do with the house, and the county approved their request, said Mike Maring, of the county’s Bureau of Permits and Inspections.

Matulonis and her son-in-law Kerry Anders have tried searching to no avail for an entity to take the house as a museum or for education.

‘‘Someone could put it up for schools and take children on tours to see what it was like 150 years ago,” Esther Matulonis said.

She said the Carroll County Farm Museum, Carroll County Historical Society and Carroll County Recreation and Parks have all turned down the house citing budget constraints. So has other surrounding counties and states.

She also asked the State of Maryland to take it and move it to Patapsco State Park. Matulonis said she is determined to find someone to take the house. ‘‘I just haven’t hit the right person yet,” she said.

The family asked the Town of Sykesville, said Town Manager Matt Candland at the June 11 Town Council meeting. ‘‘I am not aware of a use we would have for it,” Candland said.

Mayor Jonathan Herman agreed. ‘‘Certainly, it’s a nice offer,” he said. ‘‘Unfortunately, we don’t have a particular use.”

The town would have to pass on the offer unless someone had an ‘‘extraordinary” idea of what the town can use it for, where to put it, and at minimal to no cost, Herman said.

Anders said the family would hold a refundable security deposit to ensure that the whole house is moved and debris removed. He estimates it would cost about $40,000 for someone to dismantle the house.

Little house in the woods

Matulonis and her husband moved from Joppatowne in 1972. ‘‘I thought, there has got to be a better way of life,” she said.

They found an ad for a log cabin in Eldersburg. It was theirs for $29,000.

Her husband, Tony Matulonis taught carpentry and masonry at Perry Hall Senior High School in Baltimore. His background in carpentry is what helped the family get the home. The previous owners had a bidding process for the home, and wanted to make sure the new owners would preserve it.

The family had a little help from Tony Matulonis’ students who helped dig out a basement and pour concrete. ‘‘On the weekends, students would sleep here. They had the house and we would sleep out in the camper,” Esther Matulonis said. ‘‘In the evenings, it was their house to enjoy.”

The logs inside are chestnut that were taken from trees surrounding the property. The chestnut dates prior to when worms ravaged chestnut trees, she said.

The house shows its heritage in several areas. In the kitchen, a brick fireplace is intact for cooking. The floor joists seen in the basement are flattened tree trunks that were on the land at the time, she said.

The exterior features vinyl siding to protect the logs. Walk inside the porch and the original German siding is still in tact. The family enclosed 8 feet of the outdoor porch for additional living space.

To Matulonis’ knowledge, nothing of historical significance has happened at the home, but plenty has happened that she will remember. ‘‘When you’re in a house for 35 years, there are some good memories,” she said.

She knows she has to part with the house, but just hopes someone will take it and find a good use. ‘‘I loved to find somebody who’ll love it as much as we have.”