Author: Johns

Johns Hopkins has been the executive director of Baltimore Heritage since 2003. Before that, Johns worked for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development developing and implementing smart growth and neighborhood revitalization programs. Johns holds degrees from Yale University, George Washington University Law School, and the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Accepting Ideas for 2019 Micro Grants for Preservation Work

We’re in our fourth year of giving away micro-grants to help fund preservation work in the city. If you have a good idea to help preserve a historic building or place in Baltimore or help revitalize  a historic neighborhood, we’d love to hear from you! The process is easy: simply fill out the online application and hit send by Friday, September 20, 2019.

We’ll pick the six most promising ideas and give them a chance for one of two $500 grants and two $250 grants. The awards will be made on October 17 at a reception at historic Clifton Mansion. At the reception, supporters of each idea will get three minutes to pitch them and at the end, the crowd will cast ballots to decide which ideas receive the micro grants. Whether funded or not, we will promote all the ideas and projects to help them garner attention and volunteers.

The types of eligible projects are endless, and as long as they relate to Baltimore’s history, heritage, historic buildings or historic neighborhoods we will consider them. Past award winners include: restoring leaking masonry at a historic church; launching an after school arts-based safe space program in a historic neighborhood; helping fund a new exhibit at a historic house museum; and designing postcards to promote a tour series. The sky’s the limit!

The amount of the award ($250 or $500) may not be enough to complete an entire project. That’s OK. The goal is to help spark new and support existing neighborhood-level preservation work. You don’t need to be a nonprofit organization or even a formalized group to be eligible. Individuals and small groups are welcome! Complete rules can be found on the application.

For questions, please contact Johns at or 410-332-9992.

Behind the Scenes at the Parker Metal Decorating Building and Save the Date for Our Fall Lecture Series, Lexington Market Catacombs Tours, and More

In August and September, we’re taking on industrial Baltimore with tours of manufacturing facilities old and new at Parker Metal Decorating and Fashions Unlimited. We’re also resuming our tours of the catacombs and 100-year vendors at Lexington Market, and will host the first of our fall lectures at the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion. Please carve out some time and join us!

On Monday evening, August 12, we’ll join Sam Himmelrich, the owner and developer of the Parker Metal Decorating Company building, on a tour of this nearly 100 year old former lithography factory turned funky office and event space.

On the morning of September 13, we’re going back to see modern garment manufacturing in action at Fashions Unlimited. Our tour there last year was so popular that we’re repeating it to see how Made In America is happening here in Baltimore in the form of swim suits, Mt. Everest climbers’ parkas, and European League soccer jerseys.

On Saturday September 14, we’re resuming our monthly tours of the catacombs and 100-year merchants at Lexington Market. If you can’t make it on this tour, we’ve lined up additional tours through December!

We’ve also finalized our fall lecture series in partnership with the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion. We’ve got four fabulous authors and historians lined up:

  • September 15: Rowhouses Near and Far: Historian Charlie Duff on his New Book “The North Atlantic Cities”
  • October 6: Baltimore in the Golden Age of Radio with Historian Jack Burkert
  • November 17: Christmas in Old Baltimore with Historian Wayne Schaumburg
  • December 15: The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote with Author Elaine Weiss

And finally, our Sunday morning Monumental City tours are rolling along. The next tour is this Sunday (August 4), where we’ll leave from the Sunday Farmers Market on a one-hour walking tour to explore downtown landmarks and lions.

Happy summer, and we hope to see you sooner AND later.

Behind the Scenes at Rheb’s Candies, the Downtown You Never Knew, and More Tours In July

It’s July in Baltimore and it’s hot. That’s not new. What is new are two upcoming heritage tours visiting a 100 year old family business and exploring parts of Downtown many of us never knew about. Please join us!

On Thursday July 25, we’re going behind the scenes at Rheb’s Candies to see how they produce their delectable sweets at this 101 year-old business that is still going strong in the Rheb family. The production facility is in the family’s former garage next to their house-turned-shop and here we’ll get an intimate tour of perhaps the sweetest place in Baltimore. 

Did you know that the Continental Congress met in downtown Baltimore? Or that German agents plotted sabotage on Charles Street during World War I? If you didn’t (and even if you did!) join tour guide Jefferson Gray on Sunday July 28 for a walking tour of The Downtown You Never Knew to learn about Baltimore’s hidden history in plain sight.

We are still rolling through our Sunday morning Monumental City walking tours. The next tours are of Jonestown and the Shot Tower on July 14 and Mt. Vernon Place and the Washington Monument on July 21. Come out and bring a friend!

Finally, looking ahead to the fall, we are pleased to be continuing our partnership with the Garrett Jacobs Mansion in a series of Sunday afternoon lectures. We just opened up registration for the first talk on September 15 with historian Charlie Duff on his new book “The North Atlantic Cities” exploring rowhouses around the world. We hope to see you there!

A large stone building.

Maryland Division of Corrections delays decision on the future of the Warden’s House

Earlier this week the Maryland Board of Public Works approved a multi-million dollar contract clearing the way for the state Division of Corrections to move forward with the demolition of a large part of the Baltimore City Correctional Complex located just east of the Jones Falls Expressway. For now, the scope of demolition does not include the historic Warden’s House, the per-Civil War “castle” on Madison Street.

Thanks to an agreement between the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and the Maryland Historical Trust, the state will wait to make a final decision on the Warden’s House and a small portion of the west wing of the former Maryland Penitentiary along Eager Street. The plan does preserve the Penitentiary’s iconic central tower which has never been considered for demolition.

Exhibit illustrating the scope of demolition in the Baltimore City Correctional Complex. Buildings to be retained under the current agreement are marked in blue and buildings to be demolished are marked in red.

The Board of Public Works’ recent approval comes four years after Governor Hogan closed the facility and two years after the General Assembly allocated funds for the demolition of the complex. Since the state allocated those funds, the Corrections Department developed a plan that includes the demolition of over a dozen buildings on the site. Work under the new contract will begin soon.

The Warden’s House and small portion of the west wing of the Maryland Penitentiary are not included in this round of demolition but they are also not yet relieved from the threat of being razed. The Division of Corrections has only agreed to defer a decision on the demolition of these structures and consult with the Maryland Historical Trust on the future of these buildings.

Exhibit illustrating the partial demolition of the west wing of the former Maryland Penitentiary building.

While the demolition of the historic buildings within this complex is a loss for the city’s architectural heritage, our advocacy, along with Preservation Maryland, AIA Baltimore, and the Baltimore Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, helped to secure more time to seek the preservation of the Warden’s House and a portion of the West Wing. We and our partners will continue to push for permanently preserving the these two historic buildings and better incorporate the Maryland Penitentiary into whatever new plans are eventually adopted.

A massive stone building with large arched windows
The west wing of the former Maryland Penitentiary planned for partial demolition. November 13, 2018.
Crowd of people sitting and standing within a large industrial space.

Thank you for celebrating with us at our 2019 Preservation Awards!

We had a wonderful evening last Thursday in a fabulous space at the A. Hoen & Co. Lithograph Building. Thanks to everyone who attended our 2019 Preservation Awards Celebration and made it a success. Special thanks to our hosts and sponsors—you can find the full list of sponsors below.

With awards including converted churches and schools, remarkable rowhouse restorations, innovative exhibits interpreting our shared history, and even the revival of an antique street car, this year’s awardees covered a lot of ground. Take a look at the award winners below and please make sure to congratulate them the next time you see them around the city!

Arched entrance to a large industrial building.
June 13, 2019.

Restoration & Rehabilitation Awards

2229 Callow Avenue

Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, Edgemont Builders, SM+P Architects

Marburg House, 6 E. Eager Street

Charles Belfoure, J.C. Porter Construction, Marburg House LLC, SM+P Architects

3522 Elm Avenue

April Gilkey and David Rachamim, O’Connell & Associates, Zeskind’s Hardware & Millwork

2431 Eutaw Place

Amazonia Flooring, Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, Edgemont Builders, Froehling & Robertson, Inc., G&C Environmental Services, Inc., Healthy Neighborhoods, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Pando Alliance, Skarda and Associates, Inc., SM+P Architects, SRBR Engineers, Inc., The Dulin Group of Long and Foster, Zeskind’s Hardware & Millwork

First German United Evangelical Church Conversion, 1728 Eastern Avenue

ATI, Inc., Edgemont Builders, Zeskind’s Hardware & Millwork

218 E. Lafayette Avenue

Blank Slate Development, LLC

2131 E. Lombard Street

Jessica and Joshua Ruck, O’Connell & Associates, One Source Contract

1 West Mount Vernon Place (Hackerman House)

Lewis Contractors, Moseley Architects, Regan Associates, The Walters Art Museum

Five people standing with an award certificate
Award recipients from the Walters Art Museum with executive director Johns Hopkins and board president Krista Green. June 13, 2019.

Preston Street Lofts, 2-4 E. Preston Street

2 E Preston Street Partners LLC, Analogue Design, Charles Belfoure, Zeskind’s Hardware & Millwork

Chez Hugo Bistro, 206 E. Redwood Street

Foundry Architects, Helm Foundation, Southway Builders

Station Arts Homes, 325, 327, 329, 312, 316, & 318 E. Lanvale Street

Charles Belfoure, Edgemont Builders, Station Arts Homes, Trace Architecture, Zeskind’s Hardware & Millwork

George Peabody Library Skylight Restoration, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place

1200 Architects, GHD, Johns Hopkins University, George Peabody Library, Ziger|Snead Architects

Adaptive Reuse & Compatible Design Awards

Carriage House Renovation & Addition (The Brown/Thaddeus Residence), 2214 E. Pratt Street

21st Century Power Solutions, Architecture & Urban Views, Bromin Construction, Noel Brown and Sereen Thaddeus

St. Brigid’s School & Convent Conversion, 900 S. East Avenue

900 Southeast LLC, AB Associates, Charles Belfoure, Fanny Zigdon Interior Designs, One Source Contracting, Poverni Sheikh Group, SETO Architects, Zeskind’s Hardware & Millwork

Fleet Street Lofts, 3801 Fleet Street

J. Cole Builders, SETO Architects, Walid Hajj

The Fox Building, 3100 Falls Cliff Road

Alexander Design Studio, Carney Engineering Group, Henry Adams LLC, Macrostie Historic Advisors, Morris Ritchie & Associates, Red Sketch Landscape Architecture, The Time Group, Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

Recreation Bowling Alley Conversion, 602 N. Howard Street

ATI, Inc., Poverni Sheikh Group

Heritage Preservation Awards

Car 554 Restoration at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum

Baltimore Streetcar Museum

Baltimore City Historic Tax Credit Program

Baltimore Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, Baltimore Department of Planning

Chinatown Collective

Ephrem Abebe, Daniel Ahn, Marisa Dobson, Julie Eugenio, Stephanie Hsu, Leandro Lagera, Robin Lee, Daniel Pham, Jamie Sumague

Enslaved at Homewood: Research, Exhibit & Programming

Homewood Museum

Preservation in Practice Program at Morgan State University

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, HOPE Crew – National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan State University, National Park Service, National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, The Peale Center

A group of four people holding award certificates
Award recipients from the Peale Center, Morgan State University, and the National Trust’s HOPE Crew with board president Krista Green. June 13, 2019.

Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Banners

C&D Design, Baltimore City Office of the Mayor, Preservation Society

Eutaw Manor and Furley Hall Signs at Herring Run Park

Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks, Belair Edison Neighborhoods, Inc., Friends of Herring Run Parks, Herring Run Archaeology Project, Katie Mancher, Sarah Hope

Historic Sites of Industry in the Jones Falls Valley

Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance, P.J. Bogert Graphic Design, Preservation Maryland


  • Cross Street Partners
  • City Life Historic Properties
  • Strong City Baltimore
A man standing with a microphone.
John Renner from Cross Street Partners welcoming people to the A. Hoen & Co. building. June 13, 2019.

Lead Sponsors

  • Agora, Inc.
  • Eastend Design Group
  • FreedomCar
  • GLB Concrete Construction
  • Lewis Contractors
  • PNC
  • Southway Builders
  • The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
  • Zeskind’s Hardware & Millwork
  • Co-Sponsors
  • AGM Financial Services
  • brennan + company architects
  • Discern Health
  • Gant Brunnett Architects
  • GWWO Architects
  • Roland Park Place
  • SM+P Architects
  • Terra Nova Ventures
  • Ziger|Snead Architects
A large piece of stone with the reverse image of a print painted in black.
2019 June 13.