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.
As we enter into the 2016 holiday season in earnest, we hope you can squeeze in one last heritage tour with us into your December: a peek inside the U.S. Custom House on Lombard Street. On Dec. 28, we’ll tour this fantastic building with its Beaux Arts architecture, fabulous call room, and elaborate nautical murals by noted artist Francis David Millet.
This Sunday, November 15, architect David Gleason is leading the final walking tour of Fell’s Point in our series celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Robert Long House with the Preservation Society. Mr. Gleason’s tour will focus on the making of modern Fell’s Point, from the fabled “Highway Fight” in the 1960s and 1970s to ongoing efforts to ensure that this waterfront community retains its charm.
We are also pleased to announce two holiday-themed tours in early December. On December 1, we are exploring Mt. Clare, the richly preserved 1760 colonial home of Charles Carroll that will be decked out for the holidays. And on December 9, you can find us at St. Mary’s Seminary, the grand edifice on Northern Parkway that is home to the nation’s oldest Catholic seminary.
What better way to spend the weekend than by joining us on two upcoming heritage tours? On Saturday morning we’re visiting the richly restored Annapolis State House Senate Chamber where George Washington resigned his military commission and affirmed that civilians would control the new United States. And on Sunday we’re stretching our legs on a walking tour in Fell’s Point with local historian Dean Krimmel to discover more about this historic waterfront neighborhood and its colorful immigrant past.
George Washington’s fellow revolutionary Benjamin Franklin once said:
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
We invite you to come and get involved through these upcoming tours!
Over the next few days, we are excited to be celebrating African American history in Fell’s Point in partnership with the Preservation Society. Tomorrow evening, please come out for a free lecture with historian and activist Dr. Helena Hicks. This Sunday, we are looking forward to a walking tour of African American heritage in Fell’s Point covering everything from the famed escape of Frederick Douglass to little-known organizing efforts of African American drydock workers. The walk is led by Louis Fields a tireless advocate for black history in Maryland who was the driving force behind Maryland’s Harriet Tubman Day.
If you are interested in taking a look at the artifacts from last year’s dig in Patterson Park, please join us next Thursday evening on Pagoda Hill for a pop-up exhibit on Baltimore archeology. Organized in partnership with the Archeological Society of Maryland, this informal one-day only exhibit will let you take a close look at artifacts from Carroll Park, Hampden, Herring Run, and Texas, Maryland and meet local archeologists.
Finally, we are excited to announce our newest Behind the Scenes tour of the lovely Gramercy Mansion and Gardens (located near Stevenson University). Built in 1902, this Tudor-style home started as a wedding present from railroad president Alexander Johnston Cassatt to his daughter Eliza. The building took an unexpected turn in the 1950s when it became home to the Koinonia Foundation – a predecessor of the Peace Corps. Sign up soon for this tour with Ann Pomykala, the mansion’s owner and historian at heart – we expect the tour will fill up fast!