Marsha Wight Wise has been the tour coordinator of Baltimore Heritage since February 2011. Before that, Marsha worked in the association management industry for 15 years. She is also the author of four books on local history. Marsha holds a degree in corporate communications from the University of Baltimore. In 2012 she earned the Certified Tourism Ambassador Designation.
Photo: Sister Hildie at the Institute of Notre Dame
Behind the Scenes Tour of the Institute of Notre Dame High School – rescheduled for August 12!
Join us on a tour of the Institute of Notre Dame – a Baltimore landmark that has educated young women for over 150 years. Our guide, long-time resident Sister Hilda Marie Sutherland better known as Sister Hildie, is 81 years old and a local treasure in her own right. She came to IND from St. Mary’s Female Orphan Asylum in Roland Park at age 14 and never left.
Originally established in 1847 as the Collegiate Institute of Young Ladies, the Institute of Notre Dame High School (IND) was founded by Baltimore’s own Mother Theresa – the Blessed Mother Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger. A native of Munich, Bavaria, Mother Theresa helped to found the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) in Germany and came to Baltimore with a small group of sisters to educate the children of immigrants and minister to the poor. Mother Theresa purchased the original convent building from the Redemptorist priests assigned to nearby St. James in 1847 and soon expanded the convent into a boarding school when the sisters discovered two orphans left on their doorstep. By 1852, the sisters had built the school that still stands today.
The school continued to grow through the years: adding an auditorium in 1885, a chapel in 1892, additional classroom space in 1926, and their gymnasium in 1992. Since the first graduation ceremony on July 24, 1864, over 7,000 alumnae have graduated from IND including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (1958) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (1954) who later recalled, “They taught me more than geography or mathematics; they taught me to help those in need of help. They inspired my passion for service.”
Sister Hildie is the perfect guide to the school’s rich legacy with over 60 years in residence at the school. Her service has touched countless students among the school’s students and East Baltimore residents who have been helped by her weekly efforts to collect clothing, household items and food to share with the school’s neighbors. Come out to Aisquith Street and discover the charms and history of Sister Hildie and IND!
Stories of railroading, Roundhouses and recovering from a roof collapse at the B&O Railroad Museum on June 24
The birthplace of American railroading. The site of the first telegraph message in history. The largest collection of 19th-century locomotives in the United States. A National Historic Landmark treasured by every parent of a train-loving child in Baltimore. With this long list of superlatives you don’t need to be a kid to love the B&O Railroad Museum! The nearly 60-year-old museum opened on July 4, 1953 as the Baltimore & Ohio Transportation Museum in the B&O Roundhouse. The Roundhouse, designed by E. Francis Baldwin,was the largest circular industrial building in the world when completed covering more than an acre of ground and rising 125 feet into the air. Regrettably, on an early winter morning just over 10 years ago, disaster struck when the roof of the Roundhouse collapsed under a record-breaking snowfall devastating both the building and the collection.
In the decade since, the B&O has come back stronger than ever and remains a must-see historic site for all Baltimoreans. The museum’s collection includes 250 pieces of railroad rolling stock, 15,000 artifacts, 5000 cubic feet of archival material, four significant 19th-century buildings, including the historic roundhouse, and a mile of track, considered the most historic mile of railroad track in the United States. Join Baltimore Heritage for some wine and cheese and the fascinating history of the B&O Railroad Museum on our latest Behind the Scenes Tour.
Find 300 years of history beyond the stone walls of the Friends Burial Ground on June 5
Contained on a little less than three acres across from Clifton Park in northeast Baltimore, the Friends Burial Ground tells the stories of generations Baltimore’s Quaker families across their 300 years of rich history in our city. Established in 1713 on a tract of land known as Darley Hall when the Friendship Meetinghouse was built on what is today Harford Road, the cemetery has been in continuous use ever since. While small, and a bit unassuming, the Friends Burial Ground has approximately 1,800 graves with the earliest legible marker dating from 1802 and many undoubtably date from the 1700s. The stone wall around the grounds and the Sexton’s House both date back to the 1860s and, in 1926, 122 graves were moved from a Friends cemetery at at the Aisquith Street Meeting House in Old Town.
The many notable internments include Louisa Swain, who made history in Wyoming in 1880 as the first woman to legally vote in the United States at age 69, and Dr. Thomas Edmondson who lived in a grand estate that eventually became Harlem Park in West Baltimore. Dr. Edmondson recently resurfaced in the public light: it is his collection of Richard Caton Woodville’s artwork that is currently on exhibit at the Walters Art Museum.
Please join us on a tour of the site with long-time caretaker Adrian Bishop, who will share his knowledge of the cemetery and the Sexton House on the grounds that he and his wife call home, together with Ms. Frances Ferguson, who has been digging graves by hand at the cemetery for over 40 years.