Special thanks to historian Deb Weiner for her efforts to help us keep spreading the word about Baltimore’s Hebrew Orphan Asylum!
New Life for Old Jewish Landmark, Simone Ellin, Baltimore Jewish Times, November 18, 2014.
“I think it’s an incredibly important building,” said local historian Deb Weiner of the Romanesque-style building designed by architects Edward Lupus and Henry A. Roby. “After B’nai Israel and the Lloyd Street Synagogue, it’s probably the most important building to the Baltimore Jewish community. “It represents the era, in the 19th century, when Jews started to build charities,” Weiner continued. “It shows how the community was becoming more affluent and could afford it.” …
“We got involved when there was a proposal to demolish the building,” said Johns Hopkins, executive director of Baltimore Heritage, Inc. and a board member of the Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation. “Then Coppin State got a new president who thought the building was an asset.” Hopkins and his colleagues worked with Coppin State to get the building on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. “It was a slam-dunk,” said Hopkins, “since the building was so significant both architecturally and historically.”
With support from Coppin State, in 2012, the Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation, Baltimore Heritage, Inc. and architectural firm Kann Partners were granted a $2.5 million tax credit from the Maryland Sustainable Communities Tax Credit program. A state study later concluded that the neighborhood around the building was one of the five least healthy in the state, leading Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown to announce that the neighborhood would encompass one of five new Health Enterprise zones. The Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation will now restore the building and create a full-service medical facility called the Center for Health Care and Healthy Living.
Thank you to everyone who came out and joined us for our Bmore Historic 2014 unconference earlier this month. Read Kate Drabinski’s column for a great take on the day or check out the unconference blog for more details.
Field Tripping: Getting Historic, Kate Drabinski, Baltimore City Paper, October 21, 2014.
“Thing is, though, my job also means that this year’s Bmore Historic Unconference is as much a field trip as a work obligation, and I got to spend the day sharing equal parts curiosity and righteous indignation with a wide swath of Baltimore-area history buffs, museum professionals, preservationists, students, and nerds as we asked those good questions of what counts as history, whose histories matter, and what the heck we should do with them…
Other sessions served as skill-building workshops in oral history, DIY genealogy, connecting youth to history and heritage issues, and how to use open-source web resources to curate online archives and collections. Eli Pousson from Baltimore Heritage shared its Explore Baltimore Heritage app that allows users to pull up historic photographs and narratives of sites all over the city from their smartphones. Drawing on her work in oral history as part of University of Baltimore’s Baltimore ’68 project, Elizabeth Nix led a packed workshop on how to do oral histories. Participants shared their ongoing Baltimore-based projects gathering the stories of such wide-ranging groups as veterans, LGBTQ people, youth, elders, laborers, suburbanites, and alt kids. These projects hope to bring out the many different and diverse ways that people have made Baltimore home.”
Brutal Reckoning: Developers are anxious to tear down the Mechanic Theatre and McKeldin Fountain, even without a plan (or money) to replace them other than asking NET debt help, Fred Scharmen, Baltimore City Paper, October 14, 2014.
The Morris A. Mechanic Theatre is the first victim of what could be seen as a new wave of demolition. “In the end, this mess over the Mechanic represents a growing wave of historic preservation conflicts taking shape across the country. Modernist buildings from the middle of last century are increasingly falling out of fashion and facing the wrecking ball,” Baltimore Heritage’s Executive Director Johns Hopkins told Urbanite in 2010, when discussing plans to destroy the theater. “In the 1940s and ’50s, Victorian buildings like the Engineers Club, the Winans Mansion, and the Marburg Mansion were all considered drop-dead ugly and not worthy of preservation, and those are among our most prized architectural possessions today.”
Baltimore blacksmith shop to run nonprofit museum, Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun, October 14, 2014.
Sparks started flying at the blacksmith shop on West Saratoga Street when James Madison was president of the United States, and a crew there is still on the job, now operating in a hybrid historical museum and working business…
“It’s not just another museum,” said Johns W. Hopkins Jr., executive director of the preservation organization Baltimore Heritage. “It is highly unusual for many reasons, that combination being one of them.”
Baltimore: The Birthplace of American Cycling?, Ron Cassie, Baltimore Magazine, July 29, 2014.
Famous (in our minds, at least) as the “City of Firsts,” the Maryland Historical Society, partnering with Baltimore Heritage, has launched a campaign to win recognition of Charm City’s unique role in early American cycling. According to a press release from the Maryland Historical Society, the first-ever American bicycle was built in 1818 by Baltimore piano-maker James Stewart. Who knew?