- Associated Press - Saturday, March 18, 2017

LINWOOD, Md. (AP) - Standing in the new woodworking shop they recently built in the Linwood Mill, Richard Blacksten and his son, Doug, explained their vision for revitalizing the old building.

Doug Blacksten and his wife, Kelly, of Union Bridge, purchased Linwood Mill in September and plan to open Relics, an architectural salvage company, in the structure. Richard Blacksten and his wife, Charlene, also of Union Bridge, are their business partners.

“It’s a lovely building in a beautiful setting,” said Doug Blacksten.

Richard Blacksten said he has salvaged out buildings for more than 40 years. When his son returned to the area after doing missionary work, he brought him to look at the mill, and the family decided to buy it and start a business there.

Doug Blacksten explained the mill was built by Joseph Englar in 1882. It had several owners before closing its doors on April 15, 2000. The mill remained vacant until the Blackstens’ purchase.

“We want to help people add a little bit of history to their houses,” Doug Blacksten said.

The family plans to use Richard Blacksten’s architectural salvage inventory to assist homeowners looking for matching materials. They also plan to sell customized repurposed pieces.

“It’s material that you can’t just go out to Lowe's and buy,” Doug Blacksten said.

Dave Keefer, of Linwood, said he thinks the Blackstens’ business is “a great thing.”

“The feed mill is a big part of Linwood’s history, and I’d like it to remain,” Keefer said. “I think it’s a good use for the building, and it’s good for Linwood.”

Francis Baker, of Union Bridge, said he is “all for the project.” Baker’s father worked at the mill from 1945 to 1965. Their family lived in an apartment above the Mill’s storeroom and also in a house adjacent to it.

“I’m so glad they’re not tearing it down,” Baker said. “Richard is very knowledgeable, and his son is the same way.

“I hope it works for them. I don’t know of anything else in the area quite like it.”

Richard Blacksten, a former Maryland State trooper, began salvaging buildings as a hobby. He started doing it full-time in 1971 and gained business “through word of mouth.”

“It’s exciting,” Blacksten said. “It’s like peeking through cracks of time at the past.”

Doug Blacksten said the family has done a lot of cleanup in the building. They have started using the workshop and plan to officially open for business in a few months.

“When we bought the place, you couldn’t walk through it - there was so much rubbish,” Blacksten said.

Richard Blacksten said they plan to use the mill’s inter-workings as a backdrop to display his architectural salvage pieces.

“The end product is to make a profit, but it’s also an opportunity to resell the old materials out of my inventory,” Blacksten said.

Doug Blacksten said he hopes the pieces “get a new life in someone’s home.”

“It’s a chance for them to continue on.”

___

Information from: Carroll County Times , https://www.carrollcountytimes.com/

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