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Now Vacant, Columbia Flier Building Holds Only Memories

'There were 25 years of incredible happiness that happened in there.' - Architect Bob Moon

In 1976, Bob Moon sat in an architecture design office in Montreal, intent on returning home with his mission complete.

Moon, now 72, had been chosen to design the home of the Columbia Flier—which was enjoying the prosperity more common to community newspapers in those days—by the manager of the Flier and his wife, Jean Moon.

"I was just determined that the other folks weren't going to design it," Bob told Patch.

He sketched the design for what would eventually become a blueprint on a napkin in the Montreal office.

"I came home and thought, 'This is what it's going to be,'" Bob recalls.

Today, the Flier building on Little Patuxent Parkway sits vacant. The paper's owner, Patuxent Publishing, announced plans to move to a smaller location last year and the publication moved to an office suite on Sterrett Place.

And Jean left the paper in 1995, when she was then the general manager. At that time, she had sold her share of the company to start her own business, a .

But more than 35 years ago, when the paper was looking forward to its new home, Bob Moon went through some anxious times. He jokingly said he had three nervous breakdowns trying to keep the building's cost within budget. Moon put more than 12 parts of the building process up for bid, which helped save $250,000.

He wanted to get the building right, for the Flier readers and for his most helpful critic, Jean.

"This was how I felt about her paper, and about our relationship and wanting to do something just the best I could do," Bob says.

And even though Bob was stressing over the job–sometimes waking up in the middle of the night–Jean had faith in her husband.

"He was our man for the job from the very beginning," Jean Moon says.

From August 1978 to February 2011, Bob's building was home to the Columbia Flier and the multiple publications under the Patuxent Publishing Company. It now sits empty with a large empty lot and a few old telephone books decomposing at the front door.

Dennis Lane, a columnist for The Business Monthly, said the publication moved because it doesn't require as much space any longer.

Bob Moon said that he would love to see it put to use for the community, perhaps as an art studio. But regardless, he knows the building's first life was a good one.

Reflecting on the quarter-century that his wife spent at the helm of the newspaper in the building he designed, Moon could say with pride and satisfaction, "There were 25 years of incredible happiness that happened in there."

Weigh in below: What do you think would be the best use of the vacant Columbia Flier building?

b.santos March 16, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I think it is a strong candidate for a new CA Headquarters. If we could only get CA involved...
Lisa Rossi March 16, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Did you guys watch the video? I think it's so romantic that Bob designed a newspaper building for his wife.....
bookworm81 March 19, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Talk about a walk down memory lane; I practically grew up in that building! You did good Uncle Bob :)
catherine smith March 19, 2012 at 10:32 PM
I love Bob Moon!
Harry Schwarz March 19, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Thank you Patch for raising awareness of this iconic building and this community leader. Bob Moon deserves our gratitude for his many contributions to the community, this being only one of them. Thank you Bob. The Flier Building would make a great studio for artists, or perhaps incubator space for nonprofit organizations. I hope we can find a way to save it.

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