We have more fun tours to share today but also some unfortunate news. Earlier this week, a surprise demolition took down two 1840s stone houses in the Woodberry neighborhood near Clipper Mill. The loss is particularly upsetting because it follows repeated assurances that the houses would be retained and incorporated into a new apartment building. Read our post on this issue to learn more about what we can do to ensure Baltimore’s historic places are valued and retained.
Now, if you’ve been in Baltimore for any amount of time, we hoped you’ve visited Druid Hill Park at least once or twice. This spring, we’re hoping you’ll spend a little time getting to know the park even better. On Saturday, June 8, we want you to take a ride on Druid Hill Park’s quiet back streets and paths to explore all the hidden nooks and crannies with Ralph Brown and Graham Coreil-Allen as your guides. Then, on the evening of Wednesday, June 12, we’re back at Druid Hill Park for a tour of the Howard P. Rawlings Conservatory. Modeled after London’s famed Kew Gardens, we’ll learn about the past and present operation of this botanical oasis.
We’re also excited to share an invitation from local archaeologists Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer. Instead of the usual spring field season in Herring Run Park, you can find them in Fell’s Point next weekend, Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2, for a free public archaeology open house at the Caulker’s Houses on South Wolfe Street. We expect this archaeological investigation to turn up all kinds of stories and artifacts including connections to the 1840s and 1850s when the two wooden houses were home to a number of African American ship caulkers. Check out an update on what the dig has found so far over on the Herring Run Archaeology project website. It is a bit of an understatement to say that the houses are not universally accessible (no floors and barely-there stairs!) but, if you can’t go in, you can still see artifacts displayed on a table set up on the sidewalk.
Finally, you definitely don’t want to miss our 2019 Historic Preservation Awards Celebration on Thursday June 13! We’ll be celebrating the best work of the year at the former Hoen & Co. Lithograph Company building. In addition to helping us congratulate the award winners, you’ll get up close and inside and this former industrial building and see its transformation into new offices and training spaces.
If you’re looking to get outside and enjoy springtime in the city, we have plenty of opportunities to get some fresh air on our upcoming walking tours, a bike tour through Druid Hill Park, and the latest chance to get inside the Shot Tower.
Early next month, on Saturday, June 8, we hope you can put a little air in your tires and ride along for The Nooks and Crannies of Druid Hill Park by Bike with our two veteran tour leaders Dr. Ralph Brown and artist Graham Coreil-Allen. We keep to a modest pace and a mostly flat grade so people of all biking abilities are welcome.
Our upcoming tours give you an insider’s look at one of the most talked about projects in Baltimore, let you step into an often overlooked gem at the Maryland Zoo and tell the love stories of Mount Vernon. We are also bringing back our popular Monumental City tours on Sundays from April to November!
On April 14, our Port Covington tour offers a behind-the-scenes tour of the City Garage and a chance to talk with Sagamore Development about their vision for the future of South Baltimore. Originally developed in 1904 around the end line of the B&O Railroad, the Port Covington area is today poised to become Baltimore’s largest urban redevelopment project.
For our Maryland House tour, Tony Azola of the Azola Companies and Lori Finkelstein of the Maryland Zoo will guide you through an architectural gem located just next to the Rogers Mansion. The Maryland House was built for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and then rebuilt on the Zoo grounds. Special thanks to Preservation Maryland for co-hosting this tour! We also will hold our Mount Vernon Love Stories tours (rescheduled from a very cold Valentine’s Day weekend) on April 9 at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.
Finally, our Monumental City tours return starting April. These tours are a great way to explore Baltimore on Sunday mornings. Join us for as we explore Jonestown and the Shot Tower (1st Sunday); Landmarks and Lions Downtown (2nd Sunday); Mount Vernon and the Washington Monument (3rd Sunday); and the Patterson Park Observatory (4th Sunday).
With just hours left in 2015, we still need your support. Our members, volunteers, and partners made 2015 a remarkable year for preservation in Baltimore. You can help us make 2016 even better. Please become a member for the very first time or renew your generous support today.
As the new year begins, we also invite you to join us for a few fun tours, walks, and community events organized by our friends and partners:
Druid Hill Park First Day Hike, January 1, 2016, 9:00 am to 11:00 am: Start a new tradition on New Year’s Day by starting the year off on the right foot, left foot or any foot. Join the Friends of Druid Hill Park for their 2nd Annual First Day Hike in Druid Hill Park! – $10 per person
Historic Lauraville Walking Tour, January 2, 2016, 2:00 pm: Join the Northeast Baltimore History Roundtable and Eric Holcomb for a historic walking tour in Lauraville starting at Zeke’s Cafe.
Herring Run Archaeology Hike, January 3, 2016, 2:00 pm: Meet at Hall Springs on Sunday afternoon to join local archaeologists, Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer for a hike in the Herring Run ending at Zeke’s Cafe.
Preservation Town Hall: Baltimore, January 4, 2016, 6:30 pm: Join Preservation Maryland at this open, town hall-style meeting to learn about local, state and federal advocacy efforts to help save places that matter and how you can be a force for reinvestment and redevelopment. RSVP on Facebook!
Thank you to everyone who supported Baltimore Heritage in 2015. We hope you have a happy beginning to the new year and that we see you soon in 2016.
On Wednesday, the Baltimore Department of Public Works released their “100%” final plan for the Druid Hill Reservoir project. DPW is planning to install two drinking water tanks (one holding 35 million gallons and another 19 million) buried under the western third of Druid Lake. After construction, the land above the tanks would become part of the park including a new band shell. DPW plans to convert the remaining eastern part of the reservoir into a publicly accessible lake but Druid Lake would no longer be part of the city’s drinking water supply.
Changes to Druid Lake are required by new federal policies to improve drinking water safety and follow nearly three years of study and public meetings. With the release of this final plan, the Department of Public Works is moving forward with implementation and anticipates completing work in four to five years – 2019 or 2020.
Throughout the planning process, Baltimore Heritage worked with neighbors and the Friends of Druid Hill Park, to draw attention to issues around the treatment of the historic lake and the new configuration of Druid Hill Park. We now have answers to a few of these big questions.
What happens to the historic stone wall and iron fence around the lake?
Around the eastern area of the lake, the project plan keeps the stone wall and fence in place and repairs any deteriorated elements. Around the western area (located above the tanks), the plan keeps segments of the stone wall in place but removes all the existing ironwork. The goal of the latter changes is to make the lake accessible to the public and support new opportunities for recreational boating, fishing, and other activities.
Now that the lake is no longer needed to supply drinking water, will it still be kept full of water?
The Department of Public Works has committed to keep Druid Lake filled with water by diverting groundwater into the reconstructed lake and, if necessary, supplementing that supply with drinking water.
How does this project pay for the necessary park improvements?
Funding for this project from the Department of Public Works should pay for widening the path on the southern part of the lake and constructing the base for the band shell. The Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks is expected to find funding for to complete the band shell and related park improvements. Funding for this additional work is not currently included in the capital budget for Recreation and Parks but we hope to see those resources identified before construction is complete.