By Eli

Eli Pousson started as a Field Officer at Baltimore Heritage in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation in October 2009. Prior to moving to Baltimore, Eli worked for the DC Office of Historic Preservation and completed graduate work in anthropology and historic preservation at the University of Maryland College Park. Eli continues to work with the Lakeland Community Heritage Project and other heritage organizations in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Photograph of the Recreation Pier by Sean Marshall, 27 June 2012. Courtesy Flickr (CC BY-NC).

2015 Sustainable Communities Tax Credit awards nearly $7 million for preservation in Baltimore

On Wednesday, December 10, the Maryland Historical Trust announced the exciting preservation projects receiving the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit in 2015. Next year, the historic tax credit program will invest ten million dollars in nine projects from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore. In Baltimore, four projects received historic tax credits—supporting a planned investment of over sixty million in the Fell’s Point, Stone Hill, Broadway East and Charles North neighborhoods.

  • Eastern Pumping Station/Baltimore Food Hub: Conversion of former pumping station to a mixed-use food center business incubator. Credit: $3 million; Estimated project cost: $15 million
  • Fell’s Point Recreation Pier: Conversion of the former municipal pier building for use as a hotel and restaurant facility. Credit: $3 million; Estimated project cost: $39.8 million
  • Florence Crittenton Home: Conversion of former mill owner’s mansion/social services campus for use as rental apartments. Credit: $520,000; Estimated project cost: $2.6 million
  • Eastwick Motor Company: Conversion of a 1914 Ford dealership for use as an arts organization center and restaurant. Credit: $453,968; Estimated project cost: $6.1 million
Rendering of planned rehabilitation for former Eastwick Motor Company.
Rendering of planned rehabilitation for former Eastwick Motor Company.

You may remember the Eastern Pumping Station from our Behind the Scenes tour last summer. We’ll also be visiting the Eastwick Motor Company next month—a building better known as the former home to Load of Fun and now known as the Motor House. According to a March 2009 study funded by the Abell Foundation, the state historic tax credit program has helped to create more than 26,000 jobs throughout the state. The Baltimore Sun quoted Elizabeth Hughes of the Maryland Historical Trust, “One of the things that they all share, the common thread, is good preservation practices, combined with promise of local economic return.”

Learn more about how you can advocate for continued investments in Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods at the Preservation Priorities Forum hosted by Preservation Maryland on January 13.

Photograph by Anastasia Tantaros, Side A Photography, 12 December 2014.

Photos: Christmas in Hampden with the Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance

The Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance holiday celebration at Church & Company last Friday was a great success! Thank you to everyone who came out for the evening and special thanks to Anastasia Tantaros of Side A Photography for capturing the event.

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 6 December 2014.

Photos: Baltimore Brick by Brick Tour with Details Deconstruction

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 6 December 2014.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 6 December 2014.

Over thirty people braved a chilly December morning this past Saturday and enjoyed our tour of the Details Deconstruction project site on East Eager Street. Special thanks to Max Pollock, Jeff Carroll and the members of the deconstruction crew who hosted our tour! Thank you also to Michael Braverman from the Baltimore City Department of Housing who generously shared valuable context on the future of the site and the importance of this pilot deconstruction project to the city’s efforts to address vacant and abandoned housing in Baltimore.

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 6 December 2014.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 6 December 2014.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 6 December 2014.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 6 December 2014.

Learn more about Details Deconstruction or explore the stories behind East Eager Street from Baltimore Brick by Brick.

34th Street Lights, 5 December 2008. Courtesy mkriedel/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

Holiday house tours, Hampden heritage and the Mayor’s Christmas Parade

The holiday season has arrived and historic places are at the heart of how our city celebrates! This Saturday, you can explore the grand mansions of Reservoir Hill and Bolton Hill on the Mount Royal District Poinsetta Tour. Next weekend, you can discover the handsome rowhouses around Union Square for the 29th Annual Christmas Cookie Tour. Not to be outdone, Charles Village offers their 6th Annual Snowflake Tour of historic houses on December 21.

So among all these contenders which neighborhood can boast the most seasonal cheer? No one can top Hampden with the lights on 34th Street and the Mayor’s Christmas Parade coming up this Sunday, December 7. Last winter, volunteer and Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance organizer Nathan Dennies talked to long-time parade organizer Tom Kerr about the history of the event and came back with this story.

Photo of Tom Kerr, c. 1980. Courtesy the Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance.
Photo of Tom Kerr, c. late 1970s. Courtesy the Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance.

William Donald Schaefer approached Tom Kerr, head of the old Hampden Business Association, in 1972 to organize the Mayor’s Christmas Parade. The parade would be Schaeffer’s answer to the Hochschild-Kohn Toytown Parade which drew thousands of spectators for thirty years on Thanksgiving Day, but stopped running in 1966. Schaeffer wanted the parade to be held downtown but Kerr insisted on having it in Hampden.

Kerr hoped the parade would bring positive attention to Hampden. The Mount Vernon Mill Company closed its last remaining mill in Hampden-Woodberry that year, marking the end of the textile industry in the area. The first parade was far more modest than the department store extravagance of the Toytown parade. Kerr was only able to secure a single Santa Claus float and six marching bands. Nonetheless, the parade drew a large crowd and was considered a success. As of 2013, Kerr has been organizing the event for forty-one years.

Every year the parade elects a Grand Marshall. Past prominent figures to hold the title include baseball legend Brooks Robinson in 1978, and more recently, John Astin, famous for his role as Gomez in The Addams Family. Schaeffer made a number of appearances as mayor and came back as Grand Marshall after becoming governor. In 1980, spectators were baffled to see his yellow Cadillac moving toward Thirty-sixth Street without him. The convertible left while he was giving a speech and he quickly darted across the street, ran through an alley, and ducked under a police barrier to cut off the ride for his own parade.

Find the end of the story on Explore Baltimore Heritage. You can enjoy Hampden history and a special holiday celebration next Friday with the Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance Christmas party and fundraiser! Tickets will help support the adaptation of the new self-guided walking tour brochure into a tour for Explore Baltimore Heritage along with a traveling exhibit on Hampden history. Learn more details and register today. Please share your own ideas on how to celebrate the holidays with history in the comments.

Poly and Western Marching Bands, 4 December 2011. Photo courtesy Spinstah/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
Poly and Western Marching Bands, 4 December 2011. Photo courtesy Spinstah/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
This Place Matters, Hebrew Orphan Asylum

News: New Life for Old Jewish Landmark

Special thanks to historian Deb Weiner for her efforts to help us keep spreading the word about Baltimore’s Hebrew Orphan Asylum!

New Life for Old Jewish Landmark, Simone Ellin, Baltimore Jewish Times,‍‍ November 18, 2014.

“I think it’s an incredibly important building,” said local historian Deb Weiner of the Romanesque-style building designed by architects Edward Lupus and Henry A. Roby. “After B’nai Israel and the Lloyd Street Synagogue, it’s probably the most important building to the Baltimore Jewish community. “It represents the era, in the 19th century, when Jews started to build charities,” Weiner continued. “It shows how the community was becoming more affluent and could afford it.” …

“We got involved when there was a proposal to demolish the building,” said Johns Hopkins, executive director of Baltimore Heritage, Inc. and a board member of the Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation. “Then Coppin State got a new president who thought the building was an asset.” Hopkins and his colleagues worked with Coppin State to get the building on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. “It was a slam-dunk,” said Hopkins, “since the building was so significant both architecturally and historically.”

With support from Coppin State, in 2012, the Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation, Baltimore Heritage, Inc. and architectural firm Kann Partners were granted a $2.5 million tax credit from the Maryland Sustainable Communities Tax Credit program. A state study later concluded that the neighborhood around the building was one of the five least healthy in the state, leading Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown to announce that the neighborhood would encompass one of five new Health Enterprise zones. The Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation will now restore the building and create a full-service medical facility called the Center for Health Care and Healthy Living.