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.
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.
At our annual preservation micro-grant event in October, Baltimore Heritage gave the Reservoir Hill Improvement Council $500 to support its Light City Baltimore community party, Arches and Access, at Druid Hill Park. It was a huge success and absolutely brightened the neighborhood! Please enjoy our guest blog post by co-organizer Graham Coreil-Allen.
Showcasing the cherished connections between Druid Hill Park and surrounding neighborhoods, the Arches & Access project illuminated and activated the historic Druid Hill Park Gate at Madison Avenue, Druid Hill Park, and the Rawlings Conservatory with colorful lights, a community parade, and a public party. On the evening of November 3rd, 2019, over three hundred residents, artists, and performers transformed Madison Avenue and Druid Park Lake Drive into a spectacular, roving block party. Neighbors collectively created a place to march, dance, and perform in celebration of our West Baltimore communities united in green space and creating safe streets for people. The Neighborhood Lights Project was presented as part of the Brilliant Baltimore festival of light and literature and organized by Reservoir Hill residents Jessy DeSantis and Courtney Bettle, and Auchentoroly Terrace public artist Graham Coreil-Allen.
The project was made possible with help from community organizer Kate Jennings and the Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, 7th District Councilman Leon F. Pinkett, a grant from Baltimore Heritage, volunteers from Beth Am Synagogue’s IFO organization, and numerous local youth. The Baltimore Heritage Microgrant help fund multicolored flashlights and a free photo booth at the after party.
The Baltimore Centennial Homes project, developed in collaboration between Baltimore Heritage and City Councilman James Kraft, recognizes families that have been in the same house for 100 years or more. Their stories show the changes that our communities and our city have experienced as well as the critical roles that neighborhoods and their families have played in keeping historic neighborhoods thriving.
Over 100 years ago, on October 22, 1918, two Baltimore natives of German ancestry purchased a house with ground rents at 3704 Greenmount Avenue on the eastern border of Baltimore’s Guilford neighborhood. The couple, Joseph Simon Wernig, Sr. and Caroline C. Hauhn Wernig, were the maternal great-grandparents of Edmond Francis Kohlhepp who presently lives in the same house. The Wernigs of 1918 had three children Mary Evelyn (Edmond’s grandmother), Harry Bernard and Joseph Simon, Jr. The property has remained occupied and in continuous ownership by a family member for 101 years.
The family patriarch, Joseph S. Wernig, Sr., owned the Joseph S. Wernig Transfer Company, one of the largest transfer companies in Baltimore City in the early part of the twentieth century. He had 172 horse-drawn wagons that rolled over the cobblestone streets of Baltimore.They transferred products such as paper goods, merchandise and furnishings from the train station to local businesses. The company also moved entire businesses such as McCormick Company, Inc. and Maryland Casualty Insurance Company to other locations in Maryland.
Upon his death in 1944, Wernig, Sr. conveyed the property at 3704 Greenmount Avenue to his wife, Caroline C. Wernig, and to his heirs thereafter in fee simple ownership. Unfortunately, Caroline died five years later in 1949. Prior to her death she decided that the house would be left to her daughter, Mary Evelyn, because her only living son, Joseph S., Jr., had inherited the family business.
In the early 1940’s when Mary E. was in her late teens, she met Edmond James Kohlhepp. Edmond was working behind the counter at the drug store located at the corner of Chestnut Hill Avenue and Greenmount Avenue. When Mary E. would cross the street and order ice cream, Edmond would always give her an extra dip, indicating even then, that he had a crush on her.
During World War II, Edmond J. Kohlhepp served in the Navy as a gunner on the Destroyer Escort, the USS Hissem. Years later his name was inscribed on the Destroyer Escort Memorial Plaque located in the main hall of the War Memorial Building in downtown Baltimore City.
Edmond J. and Mary E. began dating in December 1946. Two years later they married at the Blessed Sacrament Church (4200 block of Old York Road). The couple separated in 1962, and Mary E. moved into the Wernig house at 3704 Greenmount Avenue with her four children to live with her mother. By 1965 the couple divorced. 3704 Greenmount Avenue became the permanent residence of Mary E. and her children. In 1970, Edmond F.’s grandmother, M. Evelyn Wernig, died suddenly and left the house to her daughter Mary E. and her heirs, the four children–Edmond, Michael, Mary Ann, and Harry.
Edmond Francis, born in 1949, and his mother had many fond memories of the house and the neighborhood. He recalled the time she took the streetcar to La Paix Lane in the Towson area to visit her great uncle and aunt. From her relative’s house, Mary E. could look over to the Turnbull Estate and see the famous writer and novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald walking around in the backyard or swimming in the pool. Edmond F. also remembers his visits to Sherwood Gardens. One time, he even met Mr. Sherwood.
Some of Edmond F.’s fondest memories are of visiting the famous sculptor, Grace Hill Turnbull, twice a year for seven years from 1965-72. She lived in his neighborhood on Chancery Road, a few blocks northwest of their house. Although in her eighties, she was sharp as a tack and very knowledgeable about many topics. She always insisted that Edmond play her one of his recent musical compositions on her grand piano.
Mary E. Kohlhepp passed away in 2005 and the grand old house became the possession of the next generation. Upon the decision of the children of Mary E. Kohlhepp, the eldest son, Edmond F. Kohlhepp would occupy the house. On November 11, 2019, Baltimore Heritage was pleased to mount a Centennial Homes plaque on the Wernig/Kohlhepp house.
And you’ll get to help us give away four micro-grants to help great projects in Baltimore. Over light fare and drinks inside the world-class restoration project that at Clifton, you will help us choose to give grants from these six finalists:
Ernie Dimler, Baltimore Artifacts at the Bromo Seltzer Tower Adam Fracchia, Northampton Furnace Archaeology Friends of St. Vincent Cemetery, St. Vincent Cemetery Memorial Project Homewood Museum, “Naturally Beautiful: Uncovering Nature in the Nineteenth Century Home” Exhibit Matthew J. Hood, History of the Squeegee Kids Project Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, Arches & Access Project