On Thursday, May 17, we’ve lined up another outdoor tour, this time to see first hand how architectural stone products are made at the 150-year-old Hilgartner Natural Stone Company, one of Baltimore’s Centennial businesses: Oh Those Marble Steps: 150 Years of Stone Work at the Hilgartner Stone Company. We’re planning at other Baltimore businesses with roots going back a century or more throughout the year. Stay tuned for details!
And, as always, if you haven’t made it to a Monumental City walking tour yet, please come along! On Sunday mornings through November, we’re offering one-hour guided tours of downtown statuary, the Shot Tower and Jonestown, the Washington Monument, and Federal Hill. Come outside with us and explore Baltimore.
In June, Baltimore Heritage recognized 14 great historic preservation projects and people who have contributed significantly to the preservation of Baltimore’s historic places. Read on over the course of the summer as we cover these buildings and people, beginning with the Baron and Company Cigar Building.
The Baron and Company Cigar building at 1007 East Pratt Street lies within the South Central Historic District, along Central Avenue just east of Little Italy. Most of the structures in this area are vernacular rowhouses but a few, including the Cigar Building, are much larger industrial buildings that help give the area its distinctive flair. Baron and Company Cigars first occupied the space beginning about 1880, and by 1910 a company called the American Coat Pad Company had moved in. American Coat Pad was an apparel company that distributed throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada devoting itself exclusively to the little poofy parts of men’s and women’s coat fronts. In 2010, Mr. James Seay and his company, Premier Rides, Inc., along with Fishell Architecture, renovated the building into office space for a number of companies and light manufacturers.
The current restoration included saving and restoring existing doors, replicating metal windows where the originals had deteriorated too badly to be salvaged, and keeping the original metal shutters. The interior spaces were largely compatible for light manufacturing, and were kept intact, with much patching of plaster of course. Many of the original interior doors were salvageable and were kept, as was much of the original wooden flooring. Overall, the work seems squarely in keeping with the purposes for which this late 19th century industrial building was built. Starting out life as a cigar company, then as a clothing manufacturer, it has a new lease on life as offices and light manufacturing.
Read on for more shots of the building from before and after this award winning rehabilitation! Read more
In our first foray to combine Baltimore’s great history with equally great food, please join us at Little Italy’s Chiapparelli’s Restaurant for an evening of Italian food and history about the Little Italy neighborhood shared by life-long residents. The evening will include a buffet of antipasto, calamari, salad, bread, and, of course, wine. We will end the evening with a short walk through the neighborhood to learn a little more about this wonderful Baltimore community.
Chiapparelli’s Restaurant | 237 S. High Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 | 5:30 – 7:00 PM
$35 for members, $50 for non-members Price includes antipasto, calamari, salad, bread, and wine. RSVP Today!
Confirmations will be sent by email, and payment will be due upon confirmation. Free on street parking and paid off street parking are both available in the area. Valet service available at the restaurant for an additional fee. For additional information and questions, call Baltimore Heritage’s tour coordinator, Marsha Wise, at 443-306-3369 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more
Sadly, Little Italy’s John Pente passed away earlier this week at age 100. Mr. Pente was a lifelong resident of Little Italy and Baltimore Heritage’s first honoree in the Centennial Homes program. Mr. Pente’s family moved into the house on High Street in 1904, and Mr. Pente lived there almost his entire life. His grandfather settled along President Street in Baltimore as an immigrant from Abruzzi, Italy in the 1890s when “Little Italy” was more German and English than Italian. The area became known as “Little Italy” in the 1920s after the first Italian restaurant opened then. As part of Baltimore’s growing Italian community in the area, the Pente family found work where they could and carried on a family tradition as musicians in various local Italian bands. As a volunteer with St. Leo’s Church, the Sons of Italy, and the ambassador for the Little Italy Film Festival (which projected from a window on his second floor), John Pente was an active participant for decades in helping neighborhood grow and prosper. Part of this remarkable man’s legacy is certainly the Little Italy neighborhood that he took such good care of.
The Baltimore Sun ran a nice article on Mr. Pente in today’s paper. Also, WYPR will re-broadcast an interview with Mr. Pente from 2009 when he helped launch the Centennial Homes program. The interview will air on Friday, July 30, between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. A viewing will be held at Zanino’s Funeral Home in Highlandtown on Friday between 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. and a funeral mass will be held at St. Leo’s Church in Little Italy on Sunday at 10:00 a.m.