Two men, Johns Hopkins and Sen. Ben Cardin, both wearing dark suits and red ties in a room at Clifton Mansion.

Contact your representatives! Congressional tax bill threatens the Historic Tax Credit for rehabbing buildings in Baltimore "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" seeks to cut program used by hundreds of Baltimore projects

Last Thursday, November 2, the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives released a tax reform bill that, if approved, eliminates the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit program.

Please contact your members of Congress to show your support for the Historic Tax Credit program. The National Trust for Historic Preservation makes it easy to send your Senators and Congressional Representatives an email about this issue. All you need is your zip code.

Contact your representatives

Losing federal historic tax credits would be devastating for Baltimore City. Since 2002, over 350 projects have relied on funding from the federal historic tax credit program. The credit has helped developers find new uses for vacant buildings including the American Can Company, Clipper Mill, Tide Point, Montgomery Park, and the Stieff Silver Building. Historic tax credits can protect and preserve treasured historic places like Clifton Mansion, the Woman’s Industrial Exchange, Eastern High School, American Brewery, Center Theater, and many more. And, for each example, there are many more historic buildings that will need these credits to support rehabilitation in the future.

A nightime view of a large Victorian brick building with light shining from the windows.
American Brewery Building. Photograph by Paul Burk.

This concerning proposal is moving forward quickly: the House leadership is seeking a full vote on their proposal before Thanksgiving. We need your help to protect one of the most important programs for historic buildings in Baltimore today. Reach

For more on how the federal historic tax credit helps Baltimore and Maryland, check out this advocacy alert from our friends at Preservation Maryland or this resource from Preservation Action. Thank you for lending your support to keep this program that has helped so many in Baltimore and deserves to continue being a catalyst for our economic growth.

Fingers holding the "Park Ranger" card for the Game of Floods in the foreground and the game board in the background.

Join us for Keeping History Above Water next Thursday, November 9 And don't miss our last three Monumental City tours for 2017

Over the past few days, preservationists from all over came together in Annapolis for the second Keeping History Above Water conference. Participants shared experiences using GIS to track eroding shorelines, protecting infrastructure in coastal cities, and designing resilient museum exhibits. Conference participants even played the Game of Floods—a board game created to teach players about flood risk from rising sea levels.

We can’t promise you’ll play a board game at next week’s lecture on climate change and cultural heritage but we can promise you’ll discover how communities are working to protect historic buildings and archaeological resources from rising water and serious storms. Our speaker, Lisa Craig, is the Chief of Historic Preservation for Annapolis and she brings over twenty years of experience in preservation to meet the challenges facing Annapolis and historic coastal communities all across the world. I hope to see you there.

We also have more tours this fall. We’re back at Lexington Market next Saturday, November 11 (come for the history and then stay for the food!). Our market tours continue through the winter but there are only three Monumental City tours left this year: Jonestown and the Shot Tower on November 5, Downtown Landmarks and Lions on November 12, Mount Vernon Place and the Washington Monument on November 19. Tickets are just five dollars!

Finally, if you are already a member of Baltimore Heritage, thank you. We can’t do it without you. If you haven’t donated this year, please consider renewing your support or becoming a member for the first time.

A side view of a two-story brick buildings with turrets at two corners.

Former Eastern Female High School building up for auction this Friday, October 27 After a 2015 fire, the building needs a new owner and a new use

Update:The October 27 auction was cancelled but will be rescheduled. For questions, contact Paul R. Cooper, auction agent, by email at paul@alexcooper.com or by phone at 410-977-4707.

The 148-year-old Eastern Female High School building is up for auction this Friday, October 27 at 10:30 am. The building suffered a serious fire in July 2015 but we are optimistic that this former school and local landmark can find a new owner and a new use after fifteen years of vacancy and neglect. The Casey Group, a local firm acting as the receiver for the property, required potential bidders to register by last Friday, October 20.

A sign reading: "Alex Cooper Real Estate Auction To Be Sold On the Premises Fr/ Oct 27th @ 10:30 AM Paul Cooper 410-977-4707 www.AlexCooper.com"
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2017 October 24.

The Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development began seeking a receivership sale for the building in December 2014 and, in September 2015, the city’s District Court appointed the Casey Group the receiver for the property. The property is located at the edge of the Pleasant View neighborhood where the city’s first HOPE VI redevelopment project opened in 1998 with over two hundred townhouses and a 110-unit senior building.

The Eastern Female High School is a designated local landmark which means that the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation must review any proposed changes to the exterior of the building. Read more about the history of the former school on Explore Baltimore Heritage.

A large brick building with a gable roof.

Second annual Preservation Pitch Party donates $3,500 to creative local heritage projects Surprise gifts from Southway Builders and FreedomCar offer $500 for all seven preservation micro-grant finalists

Baltimore Heritage’s second annual preservation micro-grant pitch party on last Monday at Whitehall Mill ended in a happy surprise. Southway Builders and FreedomCar made the unexpected decision to offer matching gifts and expand our micro-grant funding pool from $1,500 to $3,500. The result? Instead of just giving out four gifts, all seven groups that pitched an idea received $500 to make it happen.

On behalf of everybody at Baltimore Heritage, congratulations to the seven organizations, and sincere thanks to micro-grant donors Ms. Brigid Goody, Southway Builders, and Freedom Car!

The seven projects span the city from east to west Baltimore, including:

  • Beloved Community Services Corporation at Union Baptist Church is working with the Baltimore Museum of Art to launch Soul Café: a project to create a safe space for community art engagement in Upton’s Marble Hill.
  • Civic Works is making a new exhibit at Clifton Mansion showcasing an antebellum call-bell system and improving visitor experience on tours for their Legacy Education Project.
  • H.L. Mencken House is buying garden supplies for volunteers to beautify the front stoop and improve the home’s back garden.
  • Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum is buying books and organizing a new Saturday Civil Rights history book club for teens and young adults.
  • Mount Clare Museum House is planning new special weekend tours celebrating Mount Clare’s one hundred years as a house museum
  • Poe Baltimore is designing and printing a set of postcards featuring historic images of the Poe House.
  • Preservation Society of Fells Point is planning to secure and stabilize the Caulker’s Houses on Wolfe Street, the only surviving eighteenth-century timber frame buildings left standing in Baltimore

Thank you to everyone who submitted proposals for the pitch party and everyone who came out on October 3. We plan to check in with the seven award-winning projects and share updates on their fantastic projects over the next few months. Stay tuned!

A blue-tinted historic map below the words "Keeping History Above Water"

2017 Heritage Lecture: Climate Change and Protecting Historic Places And upcoming tours of century-old Baltimore businesses, Lexington Market, and more

We’re continuing to add tours this fall with fun programs this weekend and over the next few weeks. We just lined up a new bike tour on October 28: All in the Family, a Bike Tour and Lunch with Baltimore’s Business Legacies. We’ll stop and talk with the owners at three, century-old Baltimore businesses: Budeke’s Paint and Decorating, Meyer Seed, and Tochterman’s Fishing Tackle, and then enjoy a picnic lunch from a fourth legacy business, DiPasquale’s Italian Market and Deli.

We still have room for you to join any or all of our three tours this weekend. On Saturday, come down to Lexington Market for a tour (and consider staying for lunch!). On Sunday morning, we are walking around Mount Vernon Place and climbing the steps at the Washington Monument. That afternoon, you can take a tour of the historic War Memorial Building followed by a concert by the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra.

Finally, we are excited to welcome Ms. Lisa Craig, Chief of Historic Preservation in Annapolis, to Baltimore on Thursday, November 9 for a free talk, Keeping History Above Water: Cultural Heritage in an Age of Climate Change. Ms. Craig will discuss her work planning for protecting historic places and cultural heritage in the face of rising waters and bigger storms. From hazard mitigation planning and flooding adaptation strategies to 3D modeling and hurricane case studies, Ms. Craig will share with us the leading edge of how Maryland can protect historic neighborhoods and communities from a future of rising tides.

There is a lot happening, and we hope you can join us!