The tall, slender Georgian-style tower of St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church has stood as a Baltimore landmark for 175 years. Situated in Jonestown, the church was founded in response to a swell of Irish immigrants to the area. The building, whose architect is unknown, retains the same exterior as when it first opened its doors in 1841. Its continuity of service makes it the “oldest parish church in continuous use in Baltimore.”
Join us this Sunday for Baltimore Meets Florence: Italian Architecture & Desserts by Bike. It’s the next best thing to a trip to an actual trip to Florence. The tour transports you to the Piazza della Signoria, the Ponte Vecchio, the Tempio Maggiore, the Ospedalia deli Innocenti, and the Carrara quarries. Plus, find out why Baltimore is way more important than Florence in the history of frozen desserts. Sorry, but this hypnotic experience only lasts a few hours.
Next week, join the Baltimore Architecture Foundation (BAF) and Baltimore Heritage for a tour of a historic 1856 Victorian home designed by architect Thomas Dixon, founding member of the American Institute of Architects, Baltimore Chapter. In 2004, the home’s owner carefully restored the building and won awards for their efforts from the Maryland Historic Trust, the Mount Washington Improvement Association, and Baltimore Heritage. This Mount Washington landmark is currently up for sale.
Next month, join us and Housewerks owner Ben Riddleberger, for a tour of their showroom and a little wine and cheese. Opened in 1885 as the headquarters of the Chesapeake Gas Works Company, 1415 Bayard Street originally served as the valve house for an immense gas production facility. Housewerks Architectural Salvage now occupies the building as a showroom for salvaged items from historic Baltimore.
Finally, don’t forget that this Sunday, and almost every Sunday until Thanksgiving, our volunteer-led Monumental City Tours will take you on one-hour jaunts to learn more about Baltimore: Jonestown and the Shot Tower, Landmarks and Lions Downtown, Mount Vernon and the Washington Monument, and the Patterson Park Pagoda.
Join us next week for some wine, cheese, and a tour through the Housewerks Architectural Salvage showroom. Housewerks occupies a former valve house with a long history tracing back to 1885 when it was built for an immense gas production facility on the site. Another building, still standing on the site, manufactured Oriole Stoves, the anchor of many Baltimore kitchens. The valve house retains much of its architectural glory and industrial past, making it a perfect setting for a showroom of salvaged items from historic Baltimore.
While the beaches beckon on these hot summer weekends, we are offering our Sunday Monumental City tours for anyone staying in the city. Each tour gives you the chance to look up from the city pavement and see Baltimore’s landmarks from a new perspective.
Summer may be in full swing, but we are already lining up tours for the fall. Mark your calendars for two Baltimore bike tours sure to satisfy your taste buds. On September 17, we will bring back our Baltimore Bakeries by Bike tour and on October 15, we will introduce our new Baltimore Beer by Bike tour. In addition, you can get yourself in the Halloween mood on October 8, with a tour of Westminster Hall and Burial Grounds, the burial site of Edgar Allan Poe and many other Baltimore notables.
As we head into the fall, we hope you can join us on some of the bike tours, bus tours and walking tours that we’ve line up to explore Baltimore from Edgar Allan Poe to Babe Ruth, from German sticky buns to Baltimore beer, with loads of new and historic inventors and artisans in between.
Our bike tours start on September 17 with our ride-and-sample East Baltimore Bakeries by Bike Tour. It is perhaps the only bike tour where you must be careful to watch your calories. On October 29, we are pedaling again on our “3 B’s Tour”: Baltimore, Bikes, and Beer. We’ll learn about malt and hops from the Barnitz Brewery (Baltimore’s first in 1748) to Union Craft Brewery (a relative new-comer) where we’ll end, of course, with a beer.
If you prefer four wheels over two, our Babe Ruth in Baltimore Bus Tour on September 24 offers two hours of insight into one of Baseball’s greatest stars, from the hardscrabble streets of Baltimore’s longshoreman district, through the formative years of his life and development as professional baseball player. As a treat, we’ll get a peek inside the former Cardinal Gibbons High School to see the mural honoring Ruth at the place where he got his start in the National Pastime.
And if plain old walking shoes are your go-to mode of transportation, join us on October 8 for Poe and Beyond at Westminster Hall to learn about Poe’s death and to tour the church, graveyard and more than a little eerie catacombs. The following day on October 9, we are exploring 150 years of Industry and Artistry in Station North and Open Works on a walking tour of Station North and a look inside Open Works, a just opened maker-space for Baltimore’s newest artisans working in metal, wood, fabric and more. Come on our morning tour and then head back out into Station North to visit dozens of artists who will have their studios open as part of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts 28th Annual Open Studio Tour.
Come out tomorrow for our 2016 Fall Lecture celebrating 100 years of the National Park Service. The talk by Ms. Joy Beasley, the Park Service’s Deputy Director for Cultural Resources, at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore begins at 7:00 pm with a wine and cheese reception following. We hope you can join us to hear how the National Park Service has changed how it manages some of our country’s most precious cultural resources over the last century and what it is planning for the next one.
We also hope you can join us for two upcoming tours that explore Baltimore landmarks in new ways. This Sunday, we will journey from artists in the present working in metal, paper and plastic to artists in the past who sculpted intricate marble funeral markers. Our two-part tour starts at Open Works in a historic Railway Express warehouse before crossing the street for a tour of Green Mount Cemetery with Baltimore historian Wayne Schaumburg.
On November 19, we will get an insider’s look at Lexington Market with market manager Stacey Pack to learn about recent changes and plans for the future of this iconic space. Along the tour, we will talk with the owners of Faidley’s, Berger’s, Konstant’s Candy, and other vendors that have been in their stalls for one hundred years or more. We will also go down and explore the catacombs under the marketplace, getting a first-hand look at these mysterious spaces that are normally closed to the public.