In just a few months, what is believed to be the oldest building in Catonsville will see a new era, reborn as a retail shop and cigar parlor.
In December, purchased 701 Frederick Road. The stone building at the back of the property that borders Bloomsbury Avenue dates back to 1819. Over the years, the building housed the area’s original post office, a drug store, a soda fountain and a sign shop.
In May, the House of Time and Jewelry, which is currently located on Baltimore National Pike, will relocate to Frederick Road and to the building.
Catonsville residents Jim Himel, along with Greg and Julia Alexander, pooled money to purchase the location. They are investing their own money to restore the building, but eventually hope to sell it.
Himel, who has been in the process of restoring his home for 20 years, said he felt like the project was something that could be duplicated by other residents if they work together.
“A lot of people have complained about how ratty the downtown looks,” he said. “You don’t have to be a big developer to do something like this."
Several area carpenters and electricians have been working to strip the building of its various incarnations down to the original structure.
Along the way they have found some pieces of Catonsville’s past, including 100-year-old Southern pine beams, old glassware and the soda fountain.
House of Time owner Jon McCabe, which is a second-generation Catonsville family business, said he is looking forward to the move to Frederick Road. The rent has increased on Baltimore National Pike in recent years, McCabe said, and he would like to be closer to many of the other Frederick Road stores.
“That’s just a fabulous corner,” he said.
In fact, the store had been eyeing that property for a number of years, said McCabe, who stops by the building frequently to check on the progress.
Both McCabe and Himel see the value in restoring the building with its history in mind. They plan to keep large bay windows in the front of the building, as well as salvage much of the old wood.
The store specializes in clocks, antiques and jewelry but will use the back of the building as a tobacco humidor room and cigar-smoking parlor.
The store has been announcing its move to customers for the past two months. The plan is to move during the month of May.