Category: In the News

News: Archeologists Dig Up 200-Year-Old History In Patterson Park

Archeologists Dig Up 200-Year-Old History In Patterson Park, WJZ News Sun, April 21, 2014.

They’re searching for history on what used to be Hampstead Hill. Using high-tech radar and shovels, Baltimore Heritage has launched an archeological dig in Patterson Park.

“We started out here with our remote sensing. We have ground penetrating radar. This is a way to cover a lot of ground quickly without disturbing the soil. We try to dig as little as possible on a really historic site because we don’t want to damage the site,” said archeologist John Bedell, of Louis Berger Group. Bedell says it’s a great Baltimore story, where 15,000 proud city residents and dozens of cannons formed a line of defense against the British in 1814.

News: Patterson Park dig uncovering traces of War of 1812 militia camp, defenses

Patterson Park dig uncovering traces of War of 1812 militia camp, defenses, Scott Dance, Baltimore Sun, April 20, 2014.

When Samuel Smith, major general of the Maryland militia, needed a headquarters to plot Baltimore’s defense from British invaders in the summer of 1814, archaeologists believe he called on the owner of a shop that gives Butcher’s Hill its name. Jacob Laudenslager leased much of what is Patterson Park today from landowner William Patterson, including a butcher’s shop steps from where the park’s iconic pagoda sits today.

Archaeologists have uncovered a wall of that structure as they embark on a dig for a better understanding of what happened when thousands of militiamen camped along the hills of southeast Baltimore during the War of 1812. An excavation that began Wednesday has uncovered artifacts including bricks, mortar, glass, nails, shards of pottery and a gunflint — used to ignite gunpowder inside 19th century firearms.

News: Tour hours expanding for historic Phoenix Shot Tower

Tour hours expanding for historic Phoenix Shot Tower: Preservationists and city hope to restore, draw visitors to structure built in 1828, Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun, April 18, 2014.

In one of the city’s first historic preservation battles, Baltimore residents paid $17,000 in 1924 to save the soaring Phoenix Shot Tower from a wrecking ball and a future as a Union Oil Company gas station.

Today, preservationists are again rallying around the Shot Tower. While it is no longer in danger — the city has abandoned a 2012 proposal to consider selling more than a dozen historic properties, including the tower — they say more needs to be done to showcase the attraction and to fully restore what was once the nation’s tallest building.

The nonprofit Carroll Museums, which manages the Shot Tower and the nearby historic Carroll Mansion, plans to open the tower for drop-in visitors next month. And starting Sunday, the nonprofit Baltimore Heritage is adding a tour of the historic Jonestown neighborhood that includes the Shot Tower.

News: Archaeologists seek War of 1812 remnants buried within Patterson Park

Archaeologists seek War of 1812 remnants buried within Patterson Park, Scott Dance, Baltimore Sun, March 26, 2014.

Today it’s best known for the pagoda, summertime jazz concerts and some of the city’s best sledding. But an archaeological dig planned for Patterson Park’s Hampstead Hill seeks to revive a largely forgotten 200-year-old story. While most know Fort McHenry’s role in the Battle of Baltimore, thanks to Francis Scott Key and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” few know or remember what transpired on the hill overlooking the harbor. Buried there could lie remnants of the trenches that helped Baltimore fend off advancing British land forces and end the War of 1812.