Tag: East Baltimore

Behind the Scenes Tour of the Audubon Society at Patterson Park

If you were migrating 5000 miles from Northern Canada to Mexico and passing over Baltimore, why would you pick anywhere else to take a rest other than historic Patterson Park? As it turns out, a large number of migrating birds do just that, and that’s why Audubon Maryland-DC chose to rehab a historic rowhouse at the edge of the park for use as an office and bird center. Please join us for a peek at the restored Patterson Park Audubon Center, a glass of wine on the roof deck overlooking the park, and a stroll through the 155-acre green space with Audubon bird guide David Curson to spot our avian visitors and see how they utilize one of Baltimore’s great historic spaces.

Patterson Park Audubon Center

2901 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore 21224
Wednesday, September 14
5:30 pm – 6:00 pm Wine & Cheese on the Roof
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Bird Tour of historic park
$15/members, $20/non-members
RSVP for the tour today!

Rain Date: Thursday, September 15 (same times)

Mid-September is peak Fall migration for birds in Patterson Park, a great time to see warblers, vireos, tanagers, and flycatchers as they make their way from the breeding grounds in the Canadian arboreal forest to South and Central America. Over 160 bird species have been seen in the park and the well-spaced trees make for great viewing opportunities. The Patterson Park Audubon Center and Audubon Maryland-DC share a charming space on the second floor of a former rowhouse opposite the northeast corner of the park. The center, occupying two adjacent rowhouses, was built around 1860 and rehabilitated in 2005. With neighboring businesses upstairs and downstairs, Audubon shares a leafy view of Patterson Park, which is even better from the rooftop deck.

Patterson Park has played a vital role in Baltimore’s history. Formerly the estate of William Patterson, the land has been home to soldiers during two wars. During the War of 1812, British soldiers began marching towards the park, then called “Hamstead Hill,” only to find themselves face to face with 100 cannons and 10,000 troops from Baltimore. The Red Coats turned around and left the Baltimore Harbor. Patterson later donated five acres for a public walk in the 1820s, and Baltimore City augmented this gift by acquiring various adjacent parcels through the 1860s. With the advent of the Civil War, the Union military placed a hospital and encampment in the park. In 1905, as with many Baltimore parks, the Olmsted Brothers architecture firm was brought in to put its special touch on the landscape. Most recently, the park underwent extensive maintenance, upgrades and beautification projects pursuant to a 1998 master plan. These include renovating the 1891 observatory (designed by Charles Latrobe), dredging and landscaping the pond, and installing pedestrian lighting. The result is certainly one of Baltimore’s greatest historic assets, for birds and for people.

Baltimore Building of the Week: Richardsonian Romanesque

This week’s Baltimore Building of the Week from Dr. John Breihan is St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church representing the many Baltimore buildings designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque Style,

Image courtesy Jack Breihan

Still another distinctively American architectural style of the late 19th century was named for the most prominent architect of the day, Henry Hobson Richardson. “Richardsonian Romanesque” was even more robust than the blocky, polychrome Romanesque style that grew up alongside Victorian Gothic in England. Richardson favored very heavy masonry walls punctuated with enormous round arches springing directly from the ground. The best-known Richardsonian Romanesque building in Baltimore is Lovely Lane Methodist Church, designed by Stanford White in his youthful Richardsonian period. Most of the old Goucher College buildings that line St. Paul Street just north of Lovely Lane are also in the Richardsonian style. My featured building is also not far away on St. Paul. It is St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, designed in 1877 by the socially prominent Baltimore architect James Bosley Noel Wyatt. Wyatt attended Harvard and the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris about a decade after Richardson, and was clearly influenced by his style.

Baltimore Building of the Week: American Brewery

This week’s Baltimore Building of the Week from Dr. John Breihan serves double duty as the first in a new series highlighting the 2010 Baltimore Heritage Preservation Award Winners! The American Brewery Building at 1701 North Gay Street might be the most “Baltimore” of all buildings in the city. It is in the style of High Victorian architecture, as so much of our city was built and it is just plain quirky. Since 1973, the 1887 J.F. Weisner and Sons brewery building (later known as the American Brewery) stood as a hulking shell lording over a distressed neighborhood. Its restoration is a noteworthy symbol of optimism for the historic building the surrounding community. The conversion of the brewery into a health care and community center for Humanim more than fits the organization’s motto: “To identify those in greatest need and provide uncompromising human services.” We are thankful that they chose this grand building in Baltimore to carry out that mission. A 2010 Baltimore Heritage Preservation Award in the Adaptive Reuse and Compatible Design category goes to owner Humanim, Inc., architects Cho Benn Holback + Associates, and contractor Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse.

Image courtesy Chauncy Primm/Flickr 2009

On a prominent ridge-top site in East Baltimore, this flamboyant Second Empire extravaganza was actually a working industrial complex between 1887 and 1973 (with a break for Prohibition). Perhaps John Frederick Weissner, who presided over the American Brewery, hoped that its towering turrets and Mansard roof, visible over much of the city, would generate a profitable thirstiness for his product. After years of vacancy and decay, the brewery buildings have been restored to life by Humanim, a community-service nonprofit active in the impoverished neighborhood around the brewery.

Baltimore Building of the Week: Eastern Female High School

We’re still playing a bit of catch-up on the Baltimore Building of the Week, but we should soon return to our regular weekly schedule. Today’s featured building is the Eastern Female High School at 249 Aisquith Street owned by Sojourner-Douglass College, is also included on our Baltimore Heritage Watchlist for its continued vacant condition.

Eastern Female High School, August 2007

An odd urban version of the towered Italian Villa style, this building includes symmetrical towers at the corners – along with Italianate arched windows and bracketed cornices. A pioneering effort in women’s education, the school was built in 1869 at the corner of Orleans and Aisquith Streets. It is the oldest Baltimore school building still standing. Derelict in the 1970s, it was restored in the following decade as housing for elderly citizens. In 2010, the again-vacant landmark awaits another round of adaptive reuse.

Baltimore Building of the Week: Cemetery Gates

This week is a bit darker than usual with a set of three historic cemetery gates in Baltimore, including the Westminster Burying Ground, Greenmount Cemetery, and the Baltimore Cemetery on North Avenue.

Greenmount Cemetery, courtesy Jack Breihan

Baltimore’s explosive growth in the late 18th and early 19th century soon created a demand for burial sites. The Presbyterian burial ground on West Fayette Street was established in 1786 and is the final resting place of many eminent early Baltimoreans, including Edgar Allen Poe. The Egyptian-style gate was probably added during the eclectic period in American architecture in the 1840s. Later, still larger cemeteries turned to the Gothic Revival style. Robert Cary Long, Jr., designed the elaborate gatehouse for Green Mount Cemetery in the mid 1840s; the less well known gatehouse for Baltimore Cemetery seems to be from about the same era. It stands at the eastern end of North Avenue.

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