Tag: Fells Point

New heritage tours from North Avenue to Thames Street

After a chilly February, we hope you will warm up with us next month on our new heritage tours in Station North and Fell’s Point.

We’re thrilled offer a tour of the Centre Theater on March 4 led by Jubilee Baltimore’s Executive Director Charlie Duff who is leading an ambitious rehabilitation project for the building. Jubilee and their partners at Johns Hopkins University and MICA are transforming this long-neglected Station North landmark into a home for film education and arts programming. On March 26, the Women’s Housing Coalition is opening up the grand Margaret Jenkins Mansion on Maryland Avenue for a unique tour of a former orphanage turned into a transitional home for women in 2008.

At the end of March we are launching a new series of walking tours in Fell’s Point in partnership with the Preservation Society to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the construction of the Robert Long House. Take a deep dive into the history of Fell’s Point on our tours and the Preservation Society lectures on topics including economic development, African-American heritage, and immigration. Distinguished local historian and former state archivist Dr. Edward Papenfuse, is leading the first tour in the series – Fell’s Point as Boomtown – on March 29.

News: Baltimore’s Venerable Buildings Imperiled by Increasing Seas

Lauren Loricchio highlights the urgent issue of climate change’s impact of historic buildings and neighborhoods with her article Baltimore’s Venerable Buildings Imperiled by Increasing Seas:

From fragile wooden houses in Fells Point, along the city’s oldest blocks, to Fort McHenry, which inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Baltimore’s waterfront historic places are at risk of being lost forever as sea levels rise and storm surges grow more powerful.

For a city founded because of the water—the Port of Baltimore was officially designated at Locust Point in 1706—much of its history rings the harbor. And though the state is cataloging Maryland’s treasures, neither the state nor City Hall has a plan to protect them…

“Some of the oldest houses in Baltimore are in the potential path of sea-level rise and storm surges,” said Johns Hopkins, executive director of Baltimore Heritage… “The last couple of hurricanes that came through really hurt.  I don’t know how many times the area can withstand that,” Hopkins said.  “And if it gets worse, who knows what will happen.”

The issues of historic preservation and rising sea level is not limited to Baltimore and is perhaps even more urgent on the Eastern Shore where rising sea levels threaten the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument:

Harriet Tubman led slaves to freedom through the thick reeds and marshes of her hometown on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. In an effort to preserve that history, President Barack Obama recently designated the area the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument. But even a presidential proclamation can’t halt natural forces. Sea levels have been rising in the Chesapeake Bay at more than twice the global rate — and one of the most important stops on the Underground Railroad likely will be largely underwater within the next 50 years.

Laser Scanning the “Two Sisters” Historic Wooden Homes in Fell’s Point for The Preservation Society

We are glad to share a guest post from Joe Nicoli, Heritage Scanning Specialist with Direct Dimensions, Inc. – a local technology company that specializes in 3D laser scanning and modelling. Their past work has included scanning the interior of the Maryland State House and documenting cracks in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in precise detail. Direct Dimensions is now working with The Preservation Society and the Dell Corporation to document the Two Sisters Houses at 612 and 614 Wolfe Street – two of only a handful of Baltimore’s wooden houses that have survived since the late 18th and early 19th centuries:

612-614 S. Wolfe Street
612-614 S. Wolfe Street, 2012

Over the winter, Bryan Blundell from Dell Corporation had approached Direct Dimensions with a project to completely laser scan the Two Sisters Houses in Fell’s Point. On a sunny afternoon in March, myself and another technician with Direct Dimensions took our laser scanning equipment down to Fell’s Point and in just 30 minutes created a perfectly accurate 3D digital model of the exterior of the property.

The Two Sisters are two of just a handful of remaining wooden houses in Baltimore’s Fell’s Point. These buildings were donated to the Preservation Society by the Dashiell-Marine family. The name, The Two Sisters, recognizes the efforts of the Dashiell sisters, Mary and Eleanor, to save these and other buildings in Fell’s Point. Since that time, the Society has worked steadily to develop a plan for the saving and utilization of these significant architectural examples of early life in Fell’s Point.

3D scanning is one of the many modern technologies that can be used to help reveal some of the secrets and stories that are part of these amazing structures. The scanning can provide a baseline documentation of the building’s current state, allowing the planning team to design necessary structural supports, and to also serve as a 3D, “as-built” blue print for documenting current conditions and future preservation efforts.

What is 3D scanning?

Laser scanning is the process of collecting millions of individual measurements using laser light. Think of a range finder. A laser beam leaves the scanner on a specific orientation and the time it takes to reflect off a surface and return to the scanner establishes the distance. This happens thousands of times per second. By moving the equipment to various positions and perspectives, an entire site can be “scanned” in 3D. Once the data is merged, the resulting “point cloud” can be used to create traditional drawings, 3D models, and virtual reconstructions & walkthroughs.

So far, Direct Dimensions has only scanned the exterior on Wolfe Street, and will complete the project with funds provided to The Preservation Society by an African American Heritage Preservation Program Grant from the Maryland Historical Trust. This initial scan effort is also valuable as an archived “3D snapshot”, a record of the state of the structure in the spring of 2013.

Behind the Scenes Tour: The French Connection, December 10

In 1781, French and U.S. troops under Rochambeau and Washington trekked 650 miles from Newport, Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia for what became the final major conflict of the Revolutionary War.  A new National Heritage trail, the Washington-Rochambeau-Revolutionary-Route (or W3R for short), is in the making to commemorate this historic event.  Please join us and our partner, the Fell’s Point Preservation Society, for a talk by Dr. Robert Selig, trail consultant for the National Park Service, on the trail and its history, including the contributions of Baltimore and Maryland.

Tour Information

December 10, 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Fell’s Point Visitor’s Center, 1724 Thames Street, 21231
$10 per person
RSVP for the tour today!

In 1781, General Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau, America’s great ally in the Revolutionary War, embarked with his contingent of French troops from Newport to confront the British at Yorktown.  General Washington and U.S. forces joined him at White Plains, New York.  When they arrived in Maryland, troops from Baltimore and elsewhere boarded boats to sail down the Chesapeake Bay and rendezvous at Yorktown.  The American victory at Yorktown was decisive:  it resulted in a surrender by British General Cornwallis and forced the British to negotiate peace.  To commemorate the historic march and battle, Congress recently designated the new W3R National Historic Trail to tell the story of the Allied forces in the Revolutionary War, their journey to Yorktown, and what they learned about the colonies they passed through.  Maryland, in particular, played a critically important role and has many sites and stories associated with this journey.  Please join us for a talk by Dr. Robert Selig, the National Park Service’s consultant on the trail, to learn about new information gleaned from French, German and American sources both here and abroad.  Please linger a little after the talk for a tour of the Robert Long House, Baltimore’s oldest residence (ca. 1765) and currently home to the Preservation Society, and in the spirit of the season and Baltimore hospitality, share a glass of eggnog made from an 18th century recipe.  We also invite you to stay in Fell’s Point for dinner, with a 10% discount at the seafood restaurant John Steven around the corner.

Civil War 150: Slavery and Historic Places in Baltimore

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, Baltimore Heritage is sponsoring a two-part program to explore sites in Baltimore with important ties to slavery and to learn about what historic sites around the country are doing to tell the story of slavery in America. The first part of the program is a walking tour of FrederickDouglass’s Fell’s Point, led by historian Louis Fields. The second part will be a talk by Ms. Nell Ziehl of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, on interpretation of slavery at historic sites nationally. Both are free, and I hope you can join us.

Frederick Douglass’s Fell’s Point Walking Tour

Saturday, October 1, 2011, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Free, RSVP
RSVP is required.  Expect confirmation with additional details.

Slavery and Historic Sites

Ms. Nell Ziehl, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Thursday, October 6, 2011, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Ebenezer Church, 20 West Montgomery Street, Baltimore 21230
Free, RSVP not required

Frederick Douglass is quoted as saying that knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom, and he certainly grabbed a good dose of it as a youngster in Fell’s Point. It was here that he learned to read and write, and from here that he escaped to freedom. In a two hour walking tour, local historian Louis Fields will lead us through Fell’s Point as experienced and shaped by Frederick Douglass in the years leading up to the Civil War and immediately after it. Mr. Fields was a driving force behind the creation of the plaques and monuments to Frederick Douglass that are now located throughout the area.

In the second part of our Civil War commemoration series, Ms. Nell Ziehl will lead a discussion on how sites owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation across the country preserve and interpret slavery. The interpretation and presentation of history involving slavery has evolved quickly over the last several years, with richer information and more accurate accounts in the forefront. The National Trust owns several sites with strong ties to slavery and the Civil War and has been a leader in this movement, and Ms. Ziehl will share some of the challenges and successes in this ongoing endeavor. Please join us for either or both of these free events.

These events are made possible by Free Fall Baltimore and its sponsors: Susquehanna Bank and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds, The Abell Foundation, William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, American Trading and Production Corporation (Atapco) and Baltimore Community Foundation. Thanks also to Free Fall media sponsors: The AFRO-American Newspapers, The Baltimore Sun, The City Paper, The Urbanite, The Jewish Times, , Maryland Public Television, WBAL-TV, WJZ-TV, WBFF/Fox45-TV, CW/Baltimore-TV, WMAR-TV, WUTB-TV, WYPR Radio, WEAA Radio, WWMX Radio , Radio One: Magic 95.9; Spirit 1400; WOLB; 92Q, and CityPeek.