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Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them.

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ESLC to Break Ground on Eastern Shore Conservation Center

EASTON – Join Eastern Shore Land Conservancy for a groundbreaking with Gov. Martin O’Malley at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center on S. Washington Street. O’Malley dedicated $1 million toward the historic renovation project in his FY2014 capital budget. The ceremony begins at 3 p.m. Friday, July 18, at the site of the former McCord building and neighboring Brick Row, the buildings that will become part of the Eastern Shore Conservation Center campus. Also speaking will by former Gov. Harry Hughes, EPA Region III Administrator Shawn Garvin, and ESLC Capital Campaign co-Chairman Jenny Stanley. ESLC since 1990 has helped protect more than 56,000 acres of farms, forests and wetlands. As the organization approached its 20th year, ESLC leaders realized Eastern Shore farms and forests are supported by and support Eastern Shore towns. The Shore’s unique rural communities can continue to thrive with the help of green infrastructure design, outdoor recreational opportunity, and access to local foods. ESLC has the resources and years of experience to recommend and implement good design and to help counsel community leaders about keeping towns great places to live, work, and play. To that end, ESLC broadened its mission to include these things and is leading by example with the concept of the Eastern Shore Conservation Center. ESLC will leave its home in the beautiful woods, near the Wye River, and put their stake in a vulnerable area of the Town of Easton. In addition to bringing ESLC staff and skills to the community, ESLC leaders envision a new day for the community and for nonprofit collaboration. The historic McCord Laundry Building and Brick Row are part of Easton’s National Register Historic District. Though currently abandoned, they are beautiful examples of early 20th Century commercial architecture. The project is design to have a catalytic effect on the South Washington Street corridor, where the

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ESLC Prepares to Break Ground on Conservation Center

EASTON – Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is preparing to begin construction on the Eastern Shore Conservation Center. Construction is scheduled to begin by late spring 2014 on the former McCord and Brick Row buildings on South Washington Street. The site will serve as headquarters for ESLC, as well as offices for other environmental, agricultural, and community-centered nonprofits. During the first phase of construction, ESLC is working with the Land Restoration Program of the Maryland Department of the Environment to remove a few pockets of chlorine- and petroleum-based chemicals. The clean-up could increase the cost of the project. The finding was unexpected because the Department issued a notice of compliance in 2001 stating that an extensive 15-year cleanup process had been completed. Before taking ownership, ESLC had completed a Phase I environmental study that indicated the site was not likely to require further cleanup. Because of the increased costs and the organization’s faith in and commitment to the project, the ESLC Board of Directors voted to increase the project budget to $7.6 million to accommodate clean-up without sacrificing the vision of a nonprofit center for collaborative work. Fundraising continues for the Eastern Shore Conservation Center. ESLC recently signed a grant agreement to receive $500,000 through the Neighborhood Business Works program. Operated by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the program supports revitalization projects that invest in commercial districts and town centers. Additionally, ESLC seeks a café tenant for the Eastern Shore Conservation in Easton. "We are excited to have reached this point," said Executive Director Rob Etgen. "After a lot of work, we are ready to find the key tenant who will bring additional energy to the project. The café will serve as the front door of our project, its public face." The portion of the former McCord Laundry building that once served as the commercial counter

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Plein Air Easton!

We were pleased to host Plein Air artists during Plein Air Easton! at the former McCord building, which will become part of the Eastern Shore Conservation Center campus. Studio B Art Gallery in Easton donated a $500 Historic Preservation Award which this year was given to the painting that best highlighted the building. Peruse photos of artists painting inside the McCord building …  

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Etgen Presents to Talbot Chamber

Last week, we were honored to attend the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Robert Morris Inn in Oxford.  Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Executive Director Rob Etgen gave a presentation about our work toward completing the Eastern Shore Conservation Center. We at ESLC are happy to be coming to Easton and becoming part of the community there. The luncheon was sponsored by Pier Pressure, which now is managing Easton Point Marina. The company also offers kayak rentals and other recreational boating services.

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The Eastern Shore Conservation Center

By Bill Thompson Editor’s note: The building known as Brick Row neighbors the former McCord building in Easton. Fire damaged Brick Row in 2012, and former owner Helaine White donated the building to Eastern Shore Land Conservancy late that year. The handsome yet unimposing brick structure at 130 South Washington Street in Easton, next door to the McCord building, has been known by several informal names. Lately, it is referred to as the “White Building” in honor of Helaine L. White, a longtime Talbot County Realtor who transferred the property to the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy in a deed dated December 28, 2012. For brief periods it was called “Lawyers Row” and, in the late 1800s, “Barrow’s Row” after the maiden name of Mary A. Hughes, who owned the building with husband William H. Hughes. But for most of its early life—it was erected in 1850 and possibly earlier—"Brick Row" was how local residents knew it and listed it in land records. The word “row” is significant in that what clearly today is a single two-story, multiple-unit structure with a shared façade may have been originally four separate buildings. In fact, a 1904 deed recording the sale of the property describes the premises as “four two story brick dwellings,” not one brick structure with four units. Whether the original Brick Row was one or multiple buildings, it is believed that it may have been designed as low-cost “factory dwellings,” according to a 1967 Maryland Historical Trust historic site report. That same report describes the building architecture as “a late Federal design” with “a gently pitched A-roof.” The report continues: “There are 4 entryways and each house is 3 bays wide. In the center of the row is an areaway with a rounded brick arch. This areaway permits access to the rear of the property. The windows are

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