Owings, MD – According to lifelong Calvert County resident Jason Scaggs, the whole thing started on Facebook.

Another county resident posted a picture of a barn located on property that Scaggs owns. The structure is highly visible on Route 4 in Owings and with an American flag painted on its broadside facing south, the barn has become a local landmark.

Scaggs told The BayNet he purchased the property, which is zoned industrial, with the aim to headquarter his excavating business there. The barn, which does not fit into the development plans, has reportedly been acquired by a veterans group, with the intention of dismantling it and then reassembling it in a location across the road.

Under the picture of the barn posted on Facebook, the poster declared that the property owner was going to demolish the barn, adding “I guess if you have enough money nothing matters.”

“The word spread like wildfire, my phone starting ringing off the hook,” said Scaggs, who wrote on his Facebook page, “it is incredible how quickly one post can snowball into such hateful language and thoughts.”

Scaggs admits the barn “has evolved into a landmark. I don’t want to see it go. But it has to be moved.” Scaggs said he has agreed to pay for the services of a tractor trailer for the purpose of moving the structure once it is disassembled.

In 1991, the American flag was painted on the barn by Heather Smith, currently an art teacher with Calvert County Public Schools. Smith, who painted the flag during the summer prior to her senior year at Towson University, received the enthusiastic support of the couple who owned the property and the barn at the time. Smith told The BayNet she wanted to paint the American flag on the structure as a tribute to Operation Desert Storm troops. Smith is currently teaching art at Huntingtown High School. “It took me longer than I thought it would,” said Smith, who added that local hardware stores donated paint for the project.  

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com