Category: Advocacy Issues

CHAP Update: Sarah Ann Street Historic District Nomination Advances!

This afternoon the city’s historic preservation commission (CHAP) advanced the nomination for Sarah Ann Street in the Poppleton neighborhood of West Baltimore to become a local historic district. The district would include the alley houses in the 1100 block of Sarah Ann Street that have been owned by Black Baltimore families since they were built in the 1870s, as well as two houses on North Carrollton Street that also have rich histories. The next step for the nomination is for the preservation commission to conduct further research and solicit additional input from the public before holding a second and final hearing this fall.

We at Baltimore Heritage first got involved in the effort to save these historic houses from being demolished back in 2004. We joined neighborhood residents, including homeowner Sonia Eaddy and her family who still live there and are still active advocating for their homes, along with retired judge Tom Ward who worked for decades preserving historic places in West Baltimore. The city’s recent willingness to create a new historic district and preserve the houses comes after years of uncertainty. It also comes after new allies joined the fight, including Dr. Nicole King and her students from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

If you would like to have your voice heard on this issue, you can email comments to the preservation commission’s executive director, Eric Holcomb: eric.holcomb@baltimorecity.gov. And check back here for additional information as the Sarah Ann Street historic district proposal advances.

Victory in Poppleton!

Baltimore Heritage is thrilled to share the news that the Eaddy family and all of the advocates in Poppleton have won. The city just announced that it will not evict the Eaddy family (they will get to continue to own their homes), and that the City is selling the Sarah Ann Street alley houses to non-profit developer Black Women Build for $1 each. Black Women Build has already started thinking through their rehab and eventual sale, with the former tenants getting first priority. This has been 20 years in the making and is a huge victory. A big thank you and congratulations to the Eaddy family and Organize Poppleton for their sustained campaign to save these historic homes. We’ll share more later, but here is a wonderful Baltimore Brew article.

Help Us Protect Historic Woodberry

We at Baltimore Heritage are pleased to be helping neighbors in the Woodberry community protect this wonderful 19th century mill town and we are asking for your help. The neighborhood is on the cusp of being designated an official local historic district and one of its signature historic buildings, the Tractor Building of the former Pool and Hunt Foundry and Machine Works, is in line to become a designated city landmark.

Both efforts need public support to get the green light from the Mayor and City Council. Please help us by sending an email to the local councilman, Leon Pinkett, thanking him for his past support for Woodberry and urging him to do all he can in the weeks ahead. The historic mills, workers houses, general store, and other buildings are a treasure for all of Baltimore (we believe for all of Maryland and beyond), and even if you are not in Councilman Pinkett’s district (Council District 7), contacting him will help.

Thank you for helping protect historic Woodberry!

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.