The demolition process has begun for the landmark building that’s sat on the corner of Talbot Street and Baltimore Avenue in Ocean City for 113 years.
The building that’s most commonly referred to as “Taylor House” was built in the Queen Anne-style of Victorian architecture in the early 19th century. It’s been cited as the largest and most elaborate of the Queen Anne-style dwellings in town, and is distinguished by its decorative fish-scale shingles, wraparound porch, and corner tower.
Construction of the house is estimated to date back to 1905; the plot of land was first acquired by Mary A. Taylor in November of 1904, hence the building’s nickname “Taylor House,” although its first use was as a hotel called “The Talbot Inn.” According to The Baltimore Sun in 1915, the Talbot Inn boasted “Bathing from hotel, cool rooms, excel. table, reas. rates.”
The building remained in the hands of the Taylor family until 1926, when it was sold to Samuel J. Massey, then later acquired by Harlan and Minnie M. Perdue in 1934. It remained in their family until 1980.
In more recent years, a number of commercial businesses operated out of the building’s first floor including Common Grounds coffee house, Quicky’s Pizza, Smoky Shop, and India Emporium.
The building has served a handful of purposes under its many different owners throughout the years as a mixed-use residential and commercial property. In 2004, Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) assisted the then-owner with its last major renovation.
“That’s when we came up with the Victorian colors we added, that building’s had multiple colors before, some outrageous colors,” said Glenn Irwin, Executive Director of OCDC. “Shortly after that they had a major fire in the building, they luckily took the insurance money and put it back in the building and helped restore it again in the matter of a year.”
Unfortunately, after the building was sold again several years later, it fell into a state of neglect.
Larry Payne of Taylor-Brooke Construction LLC purchased the building a year ago with the hope of restoring the property to its original Victorian glory. Because of major structural deficiencies that were discovered after the building’s purchase, Payne’s engineers concluded that the entirety of the historic structure couldn’t be saved. It would make more sense to demolish the old building and then replace it with a new model that highlights the original structures architectural features.
Irwin said that while the intent to restore the building was sincere, the owner decided it was beyond the point of restoration after the engineers’ assessment of its current state. The building has been modified extensively over the years and is not on the National Register of Historic Places.