Formstone Removal on Fort Ave. Reveals Old Murals

| August 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

Red brick rowhomes in Baltimore began getting covered in Formstone, a stucco faux-stone material, in the middle of the 20th century. But, in recent decades, Formstone has been removed from thousands of these homes. This process is typically followed by brick restoration which includes acid washing and repointing. If you live in South Baltimore, you’ve most likely seen this happen countless times. It is often part of a full-home renovation.

Recent Formstone removal on two corner-unit rowhome renovations on Fort Ave. revealed old murals.

CL Ventures is undertaking a renovation of 1500 E. Fort Ave. in Locust Point. Owners Lisa Julio and Chevelle Welsh found a large mural facing Hull St. The mural is an advertisement for The Barn Restaurant, a former Glen Burnie restaurant and event space that burned down in 1974.

Welsh told that the community loves the look of the vintage mural, but that she and Julio will be going in a different direction with it. Since The Barn has no history with the site or Locust Point, they will be replacing it with a vintage-style mural. It will either honor the former confectionery Gallagher’s, which once made its home at the building, or Under Armour which is at the other end of Hull St. Welsh told she will be reaching out to Under Armour about this possibility.

CL Ventures is undertaking a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom luxury renovation on the property. It will include a third-story addition, a wine cellar, and a new one-car garage. The garage will have doors on each side so a second car can drive through and park in the adjacent back patio. There will additionally be an au pair suite above the garage. The property will be about 2,500 sq. ft. when completed and will be priced between $750,000 and $800,000.

Kenny Klotz of Klotz Complete Contracting and Michael Perry are renovating 634 E. Fort Ave. in Riverside and found two murals underneath the brick wall facing Webster St. The first is a mural for a pharmacy which was run by Dr. Sylvan J. Sollod from 1942-1990. Neighborhood residents called the pharmacy Sollod’s. Along with filling prescriptions, Sollod’s sold “sundries,” ice cream, and sodas. Sollod’s wife Marian Sollod told The Baltimore Sun in 1990 that “we couldn’t have made it without the soda fountain; it was the busiest part of the store.”

The wall also has a mural for Hendler Ice Cream, which is labeled as a “Family Treat.” The ice cream was also sold at Sollod’s. Hendler closed its large creamery at 1100 E. Baltimore St. in Jonestown in 1970s. A new 296-unit apartment building with 20,000 sq. ft. of first floor retail is now proposed for the E. Baltimore St. property which was constructed in 1892.

After Sollod’s closed, Earl’s Old Malt Shop opened in the retail space along with a beauty parlor in the rear of the building. The space has been without a retail tenant in recent years.

Klotz grew up in Locust Point going to Sollod’s and later Earl’s. He also went to Dr. Aaron C. Sollod, the brother of Dr. Sylvan J. Sollod, who had an office on the same block. When Klotz noticed there was murals underneath the Formstone, he immediately told his brick restoration contractor to leave them and work around them.

Klotz and his team will be restoring the murals. “Knowing it’s a part of the history of the neighborhood, I’m a stickler for them staying,” said Klotz. He noted it will be up to the new owner if they want them removed. He is hoping someone has a picture of the murals from their heyday so he can recreate them as accurately as possible.

The building also has a steel turret and a steeple. Both will be restored and new slate tiles will be added to the steeple.

Klotz and Perry’s renovation of 635 E. Fort Ave. will include a new one-car garage, a third-story addition, a finished basement, and high-end finishes throughout. When completed, it will have five bedrooms, five-and-a-half bathrooms, and more than 2,600 sq. ft. It will be listed for $700,000-plus.

Photos courtesy of Todd Douglass

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