May 26, 2022 – It was five years ago at a Preservation Maryland event when the historic Dielman Inn at Main and High Streets in New Windsor caught the eye of Lewis Contractors. Restoration and preservation of the landmark building, noted as one of the association’s “Six to Fix” endangered historic structures, represented exactly the type of project for which Lewis is so well known. Shuttered and abandoned, the inn had become a labor of love for New Windsor Mayor and lifelong resident Neal Roop.
Dielman Inn’s history is both interesting and complex. The original late eighteenth century log cabin structure was the tavern of New Windsor’s founder, Isaac Atlee. With its more contemporary plaster removed, the log cabin construction is now clearly visible to those inside the building. As the town gained renown for its sulphur springs, the building expanded as a health resort for travelers wanting to escape summer living in the nearby cities. Expansion continued when Louis W. Dielman bought the building in 1864, and it remained in the Dielman family until 1927. Prior to the city purchasing the building in 2011, the inn was home to a well-known antique shop and several other small businesses on its first floor, while the inn’s caretaker lived on the second floor. Today, its 43 rooms, foundation, porches and staircases are all in need of restoration.
In 2016, Mayor Roop initially facilitated the removal of failing hazardous lead paint and repainting of the exterior of the inn to give the landmark greater curb appeal for the benefit of the town and neighboring homes. However, much more work needed to be done to make the complex old structure usable once again. This led to the mayor beginning his relationship with Preservation Maryland. Working with Mayor Roop and Preservation Maryland, Lewis began pre-construction services to assess what needed to be completed to stabilize the building in order for New Windsor to receive grant funding which would allow the first phases of construction to commence. With first phase grants in place, Lewis engaged the services of Mat Daw, of Simpson Gumpert and Heger, to design the stabilization of the inn’s stone foundations. Like many other stabilization projects completed by Lewis, the work may not be visible to the untrained eye, but it will ensure that the structure will once again thrive for use by its planned 21st century occupants.
After the foundation is stabilized, Lewis hopes to continue to work with Mayor Roop and New Windsor as they seek and receive additional grants, develop a preservation plan and continue restoration of the historic site to preserve the building for its future productive use.