We’re throwing a party on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 and you are the reason for the celebration. This is our third year hosting a heartfelt thank you event for the many people who volunteer, participate in our heritage tours, and support Baltimore Heritage as members and sponsors. Our friends at the Greater Baltimore Urban League are opening up their historic Orchard Street Church for this free event that will include tours of the church (among the oldest structures built by a local Black congregation), food, drinks, and a chance for you to help us give away four preservation micro-grants.
This event is also our annual meeting where members elect new board members and officers. Please join us!
Finally, we are teaming up with Doors Open Baltimore again for a unique bus tour: Masons, Jazzmen, Doctors and More. Join us and CHAP director Eric Holcomb on this narrated trip that includes five fantastic sites: the Prince Hall Masonic lodge, Eubie Blake National Jazz Center, Davidge Hall, Rachael’s Dowry Bed and Breakfast, and the Ambassador Marburg Mansion on Mount Vernon Place.
Thank you again to everybody who volunteers with us and supports our work as members and contributors. Without you, we could not do what we do. I hope you can join us on October 2 and on some of our upcoming events.
Our micro-grant give-away is back for a third year and we’re looking for your ideas. Are you helping restore a community park? Planning a neighborhood tour? Or getting ready to tackle a hands-on preservation project? Share your project idea by Thursday, September 13 and you’ll have a chance at being one of the six projects competing for micro-grants during our preservation pitch party at the historic Orchard Street Church on Tuesday, October 2.
The pitch party gives each of the six finalists just three minutes to make a pitch for why they deserve one of four micro-grants. The crowd votes and the four projects with the most support win one of two $500 grants or two $250 grants.
We know the modest award may not be enough to complete an entire project. But we also know even a little help can go a long way to starting something new or sustaining an existing preservation program.
You do not need to be an incorporated nonprofit or formal community organization to apply. Individuals and informal groups are welcome to submit ideas! If you have any questions, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-332-9992.
The following weekend on Saturday, September 15, historian and radio personality Lisa Simeone will walk us around Charles Village showing off the neighborhood’s fascinating history and eclectic architecture. And, on Wednesday, September 26, our hosts at Sheppard Pratt are leading a tour of their historic campus that has been the home of pioneering health care for over a century.
Over the weekend of July 28, Dr. Adam Fracchia and a group of trained archaeologists volunteered with Baltimore Heritage in an archaeology exploration on the grounds around the Sellers Mansion in West Baltimore’s Lafayette Square neighborhood. The work was done to help the mansion’s owner, Sellers Mansion Partners LLC, meet a city requirement to conduct an archaeology investigation before moving forward in stabilizing the building.
The Sellers Mansion was built in 1868 as the first residence on Lafayette Square by Matthew Bacon Sellers, Sr., the head of the Northern Central Railroad. Sellers’ son, Mathew Bacon Sellers, Jr., grew up in the house and went on to become a leader in creating what is today the space agency NASA. In addition to the Sellers home, the mansion served as offices for a variety of community organizations before becoming vacant in the 1990s. It has been a preservation priority for Baltimore Heritage since then.
The two-day investigation documented several aspects of the Sellers’ estate, including a curved brick walkway on the north side of the building and the foundation of a small free-standing building at the northeast corner that was likely a nursery.
The volunteers also unearthed a number of ceramic fragments dating to before the Civil War. These include pieces of dinnerware and the stem of a clay pipe, the types of things that you would expect to find around a house that dates to the mid-nineteenth century.
Late on the second and final day, the team also uncovered a section of a slate pencil: akin to today’s graphite pencil but without the wood and used to write on slate.
The exploration is now complete and the next step is for Dr. Fracchia and Baltimore Heritage to prepare and submit a report to the City’s historic preservation commission (CHAP) documenting the work and what was found. With CHAP’s approval, Sellers Mansion Partners will then have the green light to continue with stabilizing and eventually rehabbing the building.
One hundred years ago, newly-wed couple Louis and Esther Rheb started making fudge and taffy out of their house on Wilkens Avenue. Join us on an August 8 tour to discover the story of Rheb’s candies and tour the family house and garage where a fourth generation still carries on this legacy business and long-time Baltimore favorite sweet spot.
Mark your calendar for a tour on Saturday, September 8 where we will visit the Maryland Historical Society’s newly updated exhibit “Divided Voices: Maryland in the Civil War,” then walk around Mount Vernon Place with our own Eli Pousson, and hear the neighborhood’s stories of slavery and emancipation. The following weekend, on Saturday, September 15, radio host, architectural historian, and Charles Village resident Lisa Simeone will lead a walking tour covering the colorful history of this rowhouse neighborhood.
We’re also pleased to announce a new lecture series in partnership with the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion. About once a month from September until March 2019, we’ll feature a different speaker on Baltimore history. The first speaker is historian Jack Burkert talking about the Port of Baltimore on Sunday, September 23. Other speakers include Wayne Schaumburg, Antero Pietilla, and Ric Cottom. Come to one or come to all!
We hope you are staying cool this summer and can stay tuned as we line up our fall tours, talks, and events.