By DAN DEARTH
6:00 AM EST, February 9, 2013
A building on Antietam Street in downtown Hagerstown that burned in a Thursday night fire was just short of a century old.
The building at 19-23 W. Antietam St. was built in 1914, the same year World War I started. Although it had been vacant for years, it previously had apartments on the top four floors and businesses on the first level.
The building was last assessed at $512,600, but failed at a tax sale last year to draw a bid high enough to cover back taxes and fees.
The owners are listed in tax records as Fulton Gordon III and Gloria Mayes, who records show as having a Bethesda, Md., address.
Gordon and Mayes owed $10,221.92 in taxes and fees on the building over the last two fiscal years, the records show. In an effort to recoup the money, the Washington County Treasurer’s Office said it tried to auction the building last year at a tax sale, but no one bid on the property.
The Treasurer’s Office said a bid in the amount owed for taxes and fees would have been an acceptable bid.
Gordon and Mayes also owe taxes on at least six other properties in Washington County in the amount of $4,656.96, according to Treasurer’s Office records.
Online tax records show that Gordon bought the building in 2005 for $650,000. Mayes’ name was added to the deed after the initial purchase.
A call placed to what is believed to be Gordon’s residence in Bethesda was not returned.
District Court Bailiff Bob Hart said that he remembers going into the building during his years as an officer for the Hagerstown Police Department.
“It used to be apartments, and we used to have a lot of calls in there for nuisance complaints,” said Hart, who worked as a police officer from 1965 to 2000. “I used to walk the beat down here.”
Carol Smith, 65, who volunteers her time at Advantage/Robert Bail Bonds, said that the company used to be on the first floor of the building from 2005 until 2009, when it moved to the corner of West Antietam Street and Summit Avenue.
“The building always had a bunch of people hanging out outside,” she said. “It’s very old. I don’t know what happened to it when we moved out of it.”
Staff writer Caleb Calhoun contributed to this story.
Editor's note: This story was edited Feb. 11, 2013, to clarify Carol Smith's role with Advantage/Robert Bail Bonds.
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