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A large brick building with a gable roof.

Second annual Preservation Pitch Party donates $3,500 to creative local heritage projects Surprise gifts from Southway Builders and FreedomCar offer $500 for all seven preservation micro-grant finalists

Baltimore Heritage’s second annual preservation micro-grant pitch party on last Monday at Whitehall Mill ended in a happy surprise. Southway Builders and FreedomCar made the unexpected decision to offer matching gifts and expand our micro-grant funding pool from $1,500 to $3,500. The result? Instead of just giving out four gifts, all seven groups that pitched an idea received $500 to make it happen.

On behalf of everybody at Baltimore Heritage, congratulations to the seven organizations, and sincere thanks to micro-grant donors Ms. Brigid Goody, Southway Builders, and Freedom Car!

The seven projects span the city from east to west Baltimore, including:

  • Beloved Community Services Corporation at Union Baptist Church is working with the Baltimore Museum of Art to launch Soul Café: a project to create a safe space for community art engagement in Upton’s Marble Hill.
  • Civic Works is making a new exhibit at Clifton Mansion showcasing an antebellum call-bell system and improving visitor experience on tours for their Legacy Education Project.
  • H.L. Mencken House is buying garden supplies for volunteers to beautify the front stoop and improve the home’s back garden.
  • Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum is buying books and organizing a new Saturday Civil Rights history book club for teens and young adults.
  • Mount Clare Museum House is planning new special weekend tours celebrating Mount Clare’s one hundred years as a house museum
  • Poe Baltimore is designing and printing a set of postcards featuring historic images of the Poe House.
  • Preservation Society of Fells Point is planning to secure and stabilize the Caulker’s Houses on Wolfe Street, the only surviving eighteenth-century timber frame buildings left standing in Baltimore

Thank you to everyone who submitted proposals for the pitch party and everyone who came out on October 3. We plan to check in with the seven award-winning projects and share updates on their fantastic projects over the next few months. Stay tuned!

A Day at Clifton: After the Battle of Baltimore

Join the Friends of Clifton on Saturday, October 11 for a special program celebrating the legacy of the Battle of Baltimore and the unique history of the Clifton Mansion.

  • Meet Captain Thompson and members of the First Baltimore Horse Artillery and hear their tales of the Battle of Baltimore. Visit with the Clifton family, friends and workers.
  • Re-live the beat of cavalry horses’ hoofs and roar of musket fire! Explore the harvest, food, fun, games and music of the 1800s.
  • Remember the Chesapeake Campaign with Christopher George, author of Terror on the Chesapeake and The Mirage of Freedom: African-Americans in the War of 1812.
  • Tour the Clifton Mansion, Baltimore’s remaining home of an officer from the War of 1812. Climb the Clifton Tower and bring the family!

For more information, contact cliftonmansion@civicworks.com or (410) 366-8533.

Clifton Mansion set for a $7 million restoration

Mayor Rawlings-Blake signs Clifton renovation rendering with Civic Works Director Dana Stein
Mayor Rawlings-Blake signs Clifton renovation rendering with Civic Works Director Dana Stein

On January 7, the nonprofit youth training organization Civic Works announced that it has met its fundraising goal and is launching a $7 million restoration campaign for Clifton Mansion.  The Mansion was home to Henry Thompson, a War of 1812 hero, and the summer home of philanthropist Johns Hopkins. It is now owned by Baltimore City with Civic Works as a long-term tenant.

For me as the executive director of Baltimore Heritage and a board member of Civic Works, and, yes, with a name strongly associated with Clifton, one great part of this project is the tie between the past and the future. Hopkins – the philanthropist – gave his fortune to start the college and hospital that bear his name based on his belief that the future of Baltimore lay in educating our youth and providing basic services for all.  Civic Works today carries out that same vision by educating and training Baltimore youth and working to improve our neighborhoods. In fact, a number of young Baltimore apprentice carpenters from Civic Works will have the opportunity to work alongside master carpenters as part of the Clifton renovation project. What better place to bring past, present, and future together than Clifton?

The restoration work, which will take place over the next year, is a whole building project. It will include fully rebuilding the signature porches that surround the house, putting the main front stairs leading to the building back to their location in the mid-1800s, and renovating the interior throughout. And, thankfully, there is no talk of turning the building into another house museum. At the end, the Mansion will continue its dual role as office space for Civic Works and public space open for all of Baltimore. Stay tuned for a tour of this grand place as soon as the construction work allows.

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Learn more about the history of Clifton Mansion and the War of 1812 on Explore Baltimore Heritage!