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A large brick building with a gable roof.

Second annual Preservation Pitch Party donates $3,500 to creative local heritage projects Surprise gifts from Southway Builders and FreedomCar offer $500 for all seven preservation micro-grant finalists

Baltimore Heritage’s second annual preservation micro-grant pitch party on last Monday at Whitehall Mill ended in a happy surprise. Southway Builders and FreedomCar made the unexpected decision to offer matching gifts and expand our micro-grant funding pool from $1,500 to $3,500. The result? Instead of just giving out four gifts, all seven groups that pitched an idea received $500 to make it happen.

On behalf of everybody at Baltimore Heritage, congratulations to the seven organizations, and sincere thanks to micro-grant donors Ms. Brigid Goody, Southway Builders, and Freedom Car!

The seven projects span the city from east to west Baltimore, including:

  • Beloved Community Services Corporation at Union Baptist Church is working with the Baltimore Museum of Art to launch Soul Café: a project to create a safe space for community art engagement in Upton’s Marble Hill.
  • Civic Works is making a new exhibit at Clifton Mansion showcasing an antebellum call-bell system and improving visitor experience on tours for their Legacy Education Project.
  • H.L. Mencken House is buying garden supplies for volunteers to beautify the front stoop and improve the home’s back garden.
  • Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum is buying books and organizing a new Saturday Civil Rights history book club for teens and young adults.
  • Mount Clare Museum House is planning new special weekend tours celebrating Mount Clare’s one hundred years as a house museum
  • Poe Baltimore is designing and printing a set of postcards featuring historic images of the Poe House.
  • Preservation Society of Fells Point is planning to secure and stabilize the Caulker’s Houses on Wolfe Street, the only surviving eighteenth-century timber frame buildings left standing in Baltimore

Thank you to everyone who submitted proposals for the pitch party and everyone who came out on October 3. We plan to check in with the seven award-winning projects and share updates on their fantastic projects over the next few months. Stay tuned!

Literary Heritage in Baltimore: Three free programs with H.L. Mencken, Edgar Allen Poe, and more Baltimore authors

Poe House, 1971
Poe House, National Register of Historic Places, 1971

Gertrude Stein learned to smoke cigars at home on Biddle Street. Novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald drank himself into a stupor at the Stafford Hotel. Poet Ogden Nash cheered for the Baltimore Colts at Memorial Stadium. Emily Post, Edgar Allan Poe, H.L. Mencken Dorothy Parker, and scores of other nationally-known poets, authors, journalists and writers grew up, worked, wrote and died in Baltimore. Three free programs this fall offer a rich introduction to the city’s literary heritage with an the H.L. Mencken Open House in Union Square, the Poe House open for weekends in October, and an evening of readings from the works of Mencken, Poe and many more Baltimore authors.

We are also excited to announce the launch of our new Literary Heritage in Baltimore tour for Explore Baltimore Heritage. The tour was created in partnership with the University of Baltimore, CityLit, the Maryland Humanities Council and the Maryland State Arts Council with contributions from student volunteers including Ryan Artes, Nathan Dennies, Amelia Grabowski, and Elizabeth Matthews. Don’t forget to download Explore Baltimore Heritage for iPhone or Android or visit explore.baltimoreheritage.org to learn more about how these writers left their mark on Baltimore neighborhoods!

Happy 133rd Birthday, Mr. Mencken!

Sunday, September 8, 2013, 1:00pm to 5:00pm
1524 Hollins Street, Baltimore, MD 21223

Born on September 12, 1880, H. L. Mencken lived in the handsome historic rowhouse at 1524 Hollins Street for nearly all of his life. Join the Friends of the H.L. Mencken House as they celebrate Mencken’s 133rd birthday with their annual open house! The house and garden will be open and light fare will be served. Beer and wine will be available for a modest amount. The highlight of the occasion will be cake (with candles, though not 133 of them) served in his beloved garden. More details from the Friends of the H.L. Mencken House.

“Poe-pen House” Weekends in October

Saturday, October 5, 2013, 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Edgar Allan Poe House, 203 N. Amity Street, Baltimore, MD 21223
Thanks to support from Free Fall Baltimore, Admission to the Poe House will be free every weekend in October from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.

Closed since 2012, Baltimore’s famous Poe House re-opens to the public with a “Poe-pen House” on October 5! Join Poe Baltimore for stories and snacks, lore and a chance explore the famous house of the master of the macabre.  The family-friendly event will also delight avid fans of Poe, introduce the house to new visitors, and engage the surrounding community with this jewel in their neighborhood. No advance registration required. The house is small so tours will accommodate visitors on a first-come, first served basis. Email poebaltimore@gmail.com for more information.

An Evening with Dead Baltimore Authors

Thursday, October 10, 2013, 7:30pm to 8:30pm
University of Baltimore Wright Theatre
UB Student Center, 5th Floor, 21 West Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201

Photograph of H.L. Mencken at 1527 Hollins Street by A. Aubrey Bodine, November 25, 1947.
H.L. Mencken, Maryland Historical Society, BCLM, B737(4)B

Join us for an Evening with Dead Baltimore Authors to hear the words of dead Baltimore authors with a selection of readings excerpted from the works of Edgar Allen Poe, H.L. Mencken, Karl Shapiro, Ogden Nash, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, Lizette Woodworth Reese, Upton Sinclair, Emily Post, Munro Leaf, Dashiell Hammett, Walter Lord, and Dorothy Parker. The evening will also feature an introduction to a few of the places these authors wrote, drank, lived and worked featured on our new Literary Heritage in Baltimore tour for Explore Baltimore Heritage.

An Evening with Dead Baltimore Authors is organized in partnership with the University of Baltimore, CityLit, the Maryland Humanities Council and the Maryland State Arts Council. Learn more about additional programs for Literary Arts Week through Free Fall Baltimore. Registration is not required for this free program. For questions or more information contact Jon Schorr at jshorr@ubalt.edu.

Bittersweet news for the Poe House

This fall has been bittersweet for Baltimore’s Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum. In November, the Poe House was honored by the Maryland Office of Tourism with a 2010 tourism award for its “Nevermore 2009” campaign. The year-long tribute to Poe’s 200th birthday generated $1.9 million in advertising equivalency, over 400 printed articles, and sold out events with people coming from as far away as Europe and Asia.

Unfortunately this fall the Poe House also received news that Baltimore City has decided to no longer provide funding for the city-owned museum. The museum’s sole staff member, director Jeff Jerome, had worked through Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) for nearly three decades. The museum and CHAP are now working to find a solution to keep the building open. They have put out a request for proposals to hire a consultant to develop an operating and financial plan for the long-term sustainability of the museum. The deadline for submissions is in early December and CHAP expects to bring on the consultant in early January 2011.