Category: Advocacy

Call for 2020 Preservation Award Nominations

We are happy to share that Baltimore Heritage has begun accepting nominations for our 2020 Preservation Awards. Please send us a nomination and help us celebrate award-worthy work, from rehabbing buildings to volunteering as a tour guide or on an archeology dig. Nominations are due February 21 and self nominations are encouraged. 

Our awards recognize preservation work of all kinds. Our Heritage Achievement Awards honor people who have made a contribution to Baltimore’s historic buildings and neighborhoods, including authors, advocates, community organizers, and neighbors who volunteer their time and talents.

Our Preservation Project Awards honor owners, architects, contractors, and craftspeople who have completed bricks-and-mortar projects, from restoring a historic rowhouse to creating new spaces in a former brewery or factory. We know that preservation work comes in all sizes and often requires a whole team of people, and we seek to recognize everybody who makes a rehab project happen. 

Please take a look at our award categories and guidelines or go ahead and submit a nomination for a project award or achievement award today. We try to keep the process quick and easy, but if you run into trouble, please give Johns Hopkins a call at 410-332-9992 or send him an email at hopkins@baltimoreheritage.org.

Thank you for helping us recognize Baltimore’s heritage stewards. Stay tuned for details on our annual awards celebration this spring! 

The Proposed Woodberry Local Historic District: Thoughts on the Latest CHAP Hearing

For the background of this story, please see our older Woodberry demolition post. Below, we hope you enjoy our guest blog post by the chair of one of Baltimore Heritage’s partner organizations, Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance, and member of the Woodberry Community Association, Nathan Dennies. 

On December 10, I joined dozens of supporters at the second Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) hearing for the Woodberry Local Historic District. The hearing was a crucial step toward making the local historic district a reality, a move that will provide stronger preservation oversight and give the community more say about its future. I was there as a Woodberry resident and representative of the Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance, the community’s historic preservation organization and a partner of Baltimore Heritage. Joining me were dedicated members of the Woodberry Community Association, and allies at Baltimore Heritage, Preservation Maryland, and the Friends of The Jones Falls.

Overwhelming support led CHAP commissioners to unanimously recommend the Woodberry Local Historic District be introduced as a bill to City Council. The victory was the result of months of community organizing. The hardest part is yet to come.

After the Woodberry Local Historic District is introduced to City Council, a third public hearing will be held by the Baltimore City Planning Commission. Our goal is that the local historic district move through with the recommendations CHAP unanimously approved at the December 10 hearing. These recommendations have the overwhelming support of the Woodberry community. They speak to the national historic significance of Woodberry and a future that respects its historic fabric, providing oversight for its factories and the historic homes of its workers.

Thank you to everyone who has shown support by writing letters, sharing with friends and neighbors, and taking the time to attend hearings. We’ll need your support again soon. After the next hearing, we’ll be close to the finish line. Woodberry is to Maryland what Lowell is to Massachusetts. Your support will help to protect this treasure and encourage future development that is mindful of the Woodberry’s meaningful past.

Storefront Improvement Grant Program Kicks Off

In July, we joined our nonprofit partners the Neighborhood Design Center and AIA Baltimore to kick off a new program through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to rehab and improve commercial storefronts that were damaged during the civil unrest in Baltimore last April. The program, called the Storefront Improvement Grant Program, is providing $650,000 to fix storefronts along main streets from Pennsylvania Avenue in Sandtown Winchester to Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown.

From a pool of 145 applications, 26 projects were selected to receive funds. Each business will get up to $10,000 for improvements, as well as an architect volunteering through the American Institute of Architects Baltimore Chapter. After working out a design with the owner and architect, youth training teams from Civic Works and Living Classrooms will do the actual construction. We at Baltimore Heritage are helping by providing assistance on meeting historic preservation standards to ensure the redesigned storefront helps the owner and the surrounding neighborhood.

In addition to Sandtown Winchester and Highlandtown, the following other neighborhoods are slated to have storefront improvement projects: Pigtown, Waverly, Park Heights, Hollins Market/Union Square, and Market Center/Downtown. With project design work beginning this month, construction for the first set of storefronts is expected in the early fall.

Support the Red Line: Transportation is key for historic neighborhoods

For over five years, Baltimore Heritage has advocated for Baltimore’s Red Line light rail project and the positive impacts it offers for many of the city’s historic neighborhoods. Today, we are joining a broad coalition of nonprofits, businesses and community groups to ask for your help in supporting for this transformative project.

We believe that expanding public transportation is important for Baltimore’s revitalization and that the Red Line can be a powerful force in addressing vacant and underutilized historic buildings from Highlandtown to Harlem Park. In 2008, Baltimore Heritage committed to support the Red Line by signing the project’s “Community Compact” with dozens of other community organizations (PDF). In 2010, we expanded our commitment with the creation of our West Baltimore fieldwork program. Over the past four years, we have led tours, organized partnerships, and fought for strategic investments along the Red Line corridor, including at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, American Ice Company, and Lafayette Square.

American Ice Company on Franklin Street, 1938. Courtesy Baltimore Museum of Industry, BGE 11708.
American Ice Company on Franklin Street, 1938. Courtesy Baltimore Museum of Industry, BGE 11708.

The Red Line has enormous potential to spur the reuse and rehabilitation of historic buildings, create new jobs and shape a brighter future for the residents of Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods. Learn more about the potential benefits of this project from Red Line Now.

We need your help to support the Red Line and Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods.

As new and returning elected officials begin to prepare for the General Assembly session in Annapolis this winter, please take a moment to reach out and share your support for the Red Line and historic preservation:

  • Send an email to Governor-elect Larry Hogan at info@hoganforgovernor.com and share your thoughts on what the Red Line means for the future Baltimore’s historic communities.
  • Send an email to your state senators and delegates and ask them to support or continue their support for the Red Line in the Maryland Legislature. You can look up your state senator and state delegates at MDElect.net.

To underscore the rich heritage and importance of the historic neighborhoods along the Red Line that we are working hard to save, we are excited to share our brand-new collection of digital and print publications: Landmarks on the Red Line. With printed brochures and digital tours, we are showcasing the history and architecture of this part of West Baltimore and hope to illustrate the importance of preserving historic buildings along  the Red Line corridor. Please explore our digital histories and pick up a neighborhood brochure at an upcoming Baltimore Heritage event.

Courtesy Union Memorial UMC.
Union Memorial United Methodist Church in Evergreen. Courtesy Union Memorial UMC.