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.
Many of our friends and supporters joined us this past Wednesday for a wonderful event at The Ivy Hotel to honor long-time Baltimore Heritage board member and historic preservation advocate Karen Lewand. The Karen Lewand Historic Preservation Fund provides support for a range of education initiatives at Baltimore Heritage from our heritage tours to our neighborhood history programs to our work with students in Patterson Park. The fund has more than doubled in size since its inception, thanks to generous donors and the dedicated staff and volunteers who plan and run our fundraising events and programs!
We’re thrilled to say that the Lewand Fund’s donor roster now includes the Azola family. Not only did Marty and Tony Azola host us at The Ivy but they also made a generous gift that same evening. The Ivy’s staff, including General Manager Rob Arthur and Executive Chef Mark Levy, gave us a preview of the beautifully appointed guest rooms, the fabulous spa (location off the back of the main house in the handsome addition designed by Ziger/Snead Architects) and the exciting Magdalena restaurant in the works.
The Ivy is going to be a show-stopper when it opens this spring and you can already learn more about the history of this landmark on Explore Baltimore Heritage. Thanks again, so much, to everyone who made this event so memorable!
Thank you so much to everyone who came out last week to help us celebrate the legacy of Karen Lewand at the Ivy Hotel. Please help us continue to sustain and grow our educational programs with a donation to the Preservation Education Fund and by renewing your support as a member of Baltimore Heritage.
We are excited to announce a new tour this Saturday and another great tour coming up next month! On December 13, we’re going behind the scenes with Baltimore Brick by Brick and Details Deconstruction to see how deconstruction can help to preserve historic materials, create new jobs and contribute to the revitalization of historic neighborhoods. On January 6, we are headed to the former Load of Fun building on North Avenue where BARCO (the Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation) is hosting our pre-rehab tour of their Motor House project.
Even as fall turns into winter we are keeping busy with archeology and preservation projects. In Herring Run Park, we teamed up with a group of residents and volunteer archeologists on a search for the early history of Northeast Baltimore. We are also just starting work on a new initiative to identify and document landmarks associated with Baltimore’s long Civil Rights history. Learn more about the project and stay tuned for an exciting line-up of Civil Rights heritage programs and stories in the new year. Finally, our partners from the Greater Heritage Hampden Alliance helped us highlight the history of the Mayor’s Christmas Parade last week and they’re hosting their own seasonal celebration at the historic Church & Company this Friday.
For over five years, Baltimore Heritage has advocated for Baltimore’s Red Line light rail project and the positive impacts it offers for many of the city’s historic neighborhoods. Today, we are joining a broad coalition of nonprofits, businesses and community groups to ask for your help in supporting for this transformative project.
We believe that expanding public transportation is important for Baltimore’s revitalization and that the Red Line can be a powerful force in addressing vacant and underutilized historic buildings from Highlandtown to Harlem Park. In 2008, Baltimore Heritage committed to support the Red Line by signing the project’s “Community Compact” with dozens of other community organizations (PDF). In 2010, we expanded our commitment with the creation of our West Baltimore fieldwork program. Over the past four years, we have led tours, organized partnerships, and fought for strategic investments along the Red Line corridor, including at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, American Ice Company, and Lafayette Square.
The Red Line has enormous potential to spur the reuse and rehabilitation of historic buildings, create new jobs and shape a brighter future for the residents of Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods. Learn more about the potential benefits of this project from Red Line Now.
We need your help to support the Red Line and Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods.
As new and returning elected officials begin to prepare for the General Assembly session in Annapolis this winter, please take a moment to reach out and share your support for the Red Line and historic preservation:
- Send an email to Governor-elect Larry Hogan at email@example.com and share your thoughts on what the Red Line means for the future Baltimore’s historic communities.
- Send an email to your state senators and delegates and ask them to support or continue their support for the Red Line in the Maryland Legislature. You can look up your state senator and state delegates at MDElect.net.
To underscore the rich heritage and importance of the historic neighborhoods along the Red Line that we are working hard to save, we are excited to share our brand-new collection of digital and print publications: Landmarks on the Red Line. With printed brochures and digital tours, we are showcasing the history and architecture of this part of West Baltimore and hope to illustrate the importance of preserving historic buildings along the Red Line corridor. Please explore our digital histories and pick up a neighborhood brochure at an upcoming Baltimore Heritage event.
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.
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.