Image courtesy Living Classrooms, 2006 July 7.

Walk through Fell’s Point African American heritage and explore the grand Gramercy Mansion

Over the next few days, we are excited to be celebrating African American history in Fell’s Point in partnership with the Preservation Society. Tomorrow evening, please come out for a free lecture with historian and activist Dr. Helena Hicks. This Sunday, we are looking forward to a walking tour of African American heritage in Fell’s Point covering everything from the famed escape of Frederick Douglass to little-known organizing efforts of African American drydock workers. The walk is led by Louis Fields a tireless advocate for black history in Maryland who was the driving force behind Maryland’s Harriet Tubman Day.

If you are interested in taking a look at the artifacts from last year’s dig in Patterson Park, please join us next Thursday evening on Pagoda Hill for a pop-up exhibit on Baltimore archeology. Organized in partnership with the Archeological Society of Maryland, this informal one-day only exhibit will let you take a close look at artifacts from Carroll Park, Hampden, Herring Run, and Texas, Maryland and meet local archeologists.

Finally, we are excited to announce our newest Behind the Scenes tour of the lovely Gramercy Mansion and Gardens (located near Stevenson University). Built in 1902, this Tudor-style home started as a wedding present from railroad president Alexander Johnston Cassatt to his daughter Eliza. The building took an unexpected turn in the 1950s when it became home to the Koinonia Foundation – a predecessor of the Peace Corps. Sign up soon for this tour with Ann Pomykala, the mansion’s owner and historian at heart – we expect the tour will fill up fast!

American Brewery. Photograph by Paul Burk.

With our shared heritage, we are undaunted in working for Baltimore’s future

As we reflect on the events of the past few days in Baltimore, our thoughts are with those who are working to make our historic city a better place – through pursuit of equal justice and the revitalization of historic neighborhoods. While damage to historic buildings is so far limited, iconic landmarks like the Arch Social Club on Pennsylvania Avenue, the city’s oldest Jewish cemetery on North Avenue, the Gwynns Falls Parkway (a brand-new addition to the City’s historic landmark list), and the 1887 American Brewery on Gay Street stood close to the scene of yesterday’s violence. This morning, I hope you will join us in thanking the people who are continuing their committed stewardship of these and other great places that mean so much to our city.

Looking forward, we believe that our work preserving the historic places that matter to our city’s history is needed as much now as ever. The Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Central Branch is open today just as it began: “for all, rich and poor without distinction of race or color.” On the Gwynns Falls Parkway, volunteers are out this morning planting flowers and giving the park a fine spring cleaning. Patterson Park is undamaged and any visitor to Pagoda Hill will find locals as undaunted as when we faced down the British in 1814.

We will continue to use our calendar as a resource share community events. We also encourage you to get involved by coming to some of our upcoming talks and tours that explore our shared heritage and the lasting legacy of the city’s past. If there is one theme that stands out to me, it is that we are indeed all in this together.

We look forward to talking, walking, and working with you in the days and weeks ahead.

Artifacts & Archeologists

Meet archeologists and experience hands-on archeology in Patterson Park and Herring Run

This spring weather is perfect for picnics, bike rides, and, of course, archeology! Next week, you can find Baltimore Heritage in Patterson Park for Archeologists and Artifactsa pop-up exhibit showcasing archeological collections from Carroll Park, Patterson Park, Herring Run Park, and the forgotten town of Texas, Maryland.

If you came out for a site tour during our Hampstead Hill dig last spring, please join us to see the artifacts we recovered from the Battle of Baltimore, the Civil War and beyond. If you volunteered on our 2014 dig and can’t wait to get your hands dirty again, this informal social is the perfect opportunity to meet local archeologists and learn more about projects where volunteers can get involved.

Photograph by Eli Pousson, November 2014.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, November 2014.

Next month, we are continuing our archeological investigation in Herring Run Park in partnership with the Northeast Baltimore History Roundtable, Friends of Herring Run Parks and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks. Initial research last fall uncovered some exciting finds that help reveal the early history of Eutaw Farm – better known today as the area of Hall Springs. A generous grant from Preservation Maryland’s Heritage Fund program is supporting our return to the park in May for a week-long investigation led by local archeologists Jason Shellenhamer and Lisa Kraus.

Read our last update about the Herring Run Park projectsign up to volunteer and save the date of May 16 and May 17 for our open house weekend at the dig.

Photograph courtesy Stephanie Town, 2015 April 18.

Photos: Spring 2015 Cleanup Day at St. Vincent’s Cemetery

This past weekend, the Friends of St. Vincent’s Cemetery held a successful spring clean up day in Clifton Park with support from a great group of volunteers. Thanks to Stephanie Town for sharing a few photos from the event!

Special thanks to AOH-3 Towson, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Police Emerald Society, and Maryland Irish Charities for their hard work. Thank you Terry Nolan for bringing and operating the bush hog and Ed Crawford and Tom Kelleher for recruiting and advocating for this project.

Arlene Fisher, Lafayette Square. Photograph by Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun.

News: Lafayette Square shares its history

“Next Saturday’s tour of “Lafayette Square By Foot” carries an accurate secondary description: “Baltimore Thru the Ages!” This neighborhood, constructed around a public park, has ties to the Civil War, slavery, and the monied Victorians who gave way to Baltimore’s African-American upper middle class. Did I mention that jazz legend Billie Holiday once lived around the corner too?

The square itself is a fascinating, if overlooked, urban destination. On a chilly April afternoon, I observed its detached beauty. It was quiet and occupies high ground. You could observe its history in the facades of all the grand mansions. You visualize Baltimore’s 19th-century wealth one minute and the next imagine how those fortunes moved on.”

Jacques Kelly, “Lafayette Square shares its history,” The Baltimore Sun, April 11, 2015.

Join us for our Lafayette Square walking tour this weekend and check out the full list of Billie Holliday Centennial Programs this month. You can also learn more about the history of Lafayette Square with the story of the Civil War Lafayette Barracks and our neighborhood history of Harlem Park.