Community fights to restore old academy

FAIRMOUNT, Md. – A century-old building in Somerset County has sat empty and abandoned for years, but now some local volunteers are on a mission to save it.

“My heart is in Fairmount,” Jim Ford, one of the volunteers, said. “So many of my ancestors came here, and they made hundreds of them and they made thousands of memories.”

And while it’s about their ancestors for some, for others, like Tracy Pollitt, it’s more personal.

“I came here in first grade, 1967, and second grade, it closed in 1969,” she said.

But the building is old, has been sitting empty for years, and needs some major TLC, which is exactly what local volunteers say they plan to give the building, hoping to change it into something usable.

“I want it to be seen as a museum, as a public space for events like dances, bingo, Christmas parties, whatever you can think of, these buildings are functional,” Ford said.

And while volunteers say they’ll be happy to see the building restored, they say it’s not about them.

“It’s important for my children, their children, people who have grown up here, their children, just for the different generations,” Pollitt said.

It’s a way to keep history alive right here on the Eastern Shore.

“Just kind of investing in some of our historic resources here in the county, we have such a unique natural heritage and cultural heritage, and so many historical assets,” Carrie Samis, with the Somerset County Historical Society, said.

“We can’t lose this building, it tells a lot about this area,” Pollitt said.

The Somerset County historical society will host a meeting on Sunday, September 8th at the Fairmount Volunteer Fire House to talk about the future of the building. The meeting will start at 7 p.m., but anybody who is interested in actually seeing the old school can go there at 6 p.m. for a tour of the building before heading over for the meeting at the firehouse.

Categories: Local News, Maryland