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Baltimore Building of the Week: Italianate Rowhouses

Our Baltimore Building of the Week series from Dr. John Breihan returns with Italianate Rowhouses, the second entry in our three part series on Italianate Rowhouses,

Franklin Square, image courtesy Jack Breihan

Italianate rowhouses, popular in Baltimore from the 1850s until the 1880s and beyond, were particularly suited to long, uniform rows beneath uniform carved cornices. They formed stately “street walls” around Baltimore’s squares and along principal thoroughfares like Broadway. Pictured here are Waverly Terrace, circa 1850, on Franklin Square, and the north side of Union Square, circa 1880. The latter contains the home of the Sage of Baltimore, Henry Mencken, now owned by the City of Baltimore.

Union Square, image courtesy Jack Breihan

Welcome to the Friends of West Baltimore Squares

The Friends of West Baltimore Squares is a new organization dedicated to the celebration of West Baltimore’s unique historic squares and parks through events, outreach and advocacy. Launched in February 2011 by Baltimore Heritage in partnership with the Parks & People Foundation, the Watershed 263 Council and neighborhood leaders in Franklin Square, Harlem Park, Lafayette Square, Perkins Square and Union Square, our goal is to support the expanded use and appreciation of historic parks, connect West Baltimore residents and leaders interested in urban greening and historic preservation, and offer fun new ways to explore West Baltimore neighborhoods.

Please stay connected with our new effort by visiting the Friends of West Baltimore Squares website, connecting with us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter. If you are a resident of West Baltimore, interested in supporting the Friends of West Baltimore Squares as a volunteer, or interested in attending any of our fun upcoming events, please sign up for our e-mail list and keep an eye on our calendar. We have also started a small discussion list for anyone who’d like to contribute their own ideas to the project.

Finally, we invite everyone to join us for our inaugural West Baltimore Squares Spring Walk and Celebration on the evening of Saturday, April 30. We’ll walk from Union Square to Lafayette Square through five great historic parks ending with a celebration at Lafayette Square with light refreshments & music starting at 7:00 PM followed by a movie screening at 7:30 PM. We hope you can join us on April 30 for the start of this new exciting effort!

Open Houses at the 2011 Baltimore Heritage Preservation Awards

Union Square Park, 2011 Baltimore Heritage Awards Celebration

29 S. Stricker Street, Open House for 2011 Baltimore Heritage Awards CelebrationThis year, we’re trying something new to help celebrate the Baltimore’s best historic preservation projects and the people behind them–we’re holding our 2011 awards gala outdoors in historic Union Square park. We hope you can join us for a festive evening beginning with a set of private open houses around the Square, including the Hollins Street rowhouse where H.L. Mencken lived and wrote and the grand Turnbull Mansion whose restoration was a true labor of love.

Open houses will be followed by dinner, drinks and live music under the stars in one of Baltimore’s most treasured historic spaces. If you haven’t been to Union Square in a while (or even if you live right next door), please join us in honoring the great work that is going on in West Baltimore and the entire city.

Union Square, West Baltimore | Friday, June 10, 2011

  • 4:30 PM | Open Houses
  • 5:30 PM | Reception
  • 6:45 PM | Awards and Dinner

$60 for Baltimore Heritage Members ($70 for non-members. Join!)
Purchase tickets online today!

A fantastic (and wet) celebration of this year’s historic preservation highlights

This past year ushered in great historic preservation work around Baltimore, and we at Baltimore Heritage were pleased to recognize some of the best projects and the people behind them in our 2011 Preservation Awards Celebration last Friday in Union Square. With a series of thundershowers sweeping through West Baltimore exactly at the moment the outdoor program was set to begin, the event was a wet and wild time. Some call Baltimore the “City of Firsts.” We lay claim to the house of the first American saint (Elizabeth Ann Seton), the first umbrella factory (William Beehler, 1828), the first African American Supreme Court Justice (Thurgood Marshall), and the tallest building up to the Civil War (the Shot Tower). And now I think we can lay claim to having the wettest historic preservation awards event ever.

With the untiring work of a horde of volunteers and board members, and gracious hosting by the Union Square Association and many residents around the Square, 300 people from around Baltimore celebrated the best historic preservation projects of the year (listed below), and got more than a fair share of summer showers. Historic Union Square shone brightly, and despite the rain, or maybe even because of it, many of us reaffirmed our appreciation for Baltimore’s great historic places and those who work to preserve and revitalize them. This is the first in a series of posts that will highlight the people and projects that won preservation awards this year from Baltimore Heritage. I hope you enjoy learning a little more about some wonderful buildings and the great efforts that have gone into saving them.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank our hosts for the event, the Union Square Association, the gracious owners who opened their houses for house tours, our corporate sponsors, all of our volunteers, and the intrepid event committee: Jim Suttner (chair), Elise Butler, Lisa Doyle, Jean Hankey, Lesley Humphreys, Mary Beth Lennon, and Stephen Sattler. Read on for a full list of our 2011 Preservation Award Winners and check out our many photos from the evening celebration on Flickr.

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West Baltimore Walks at the 2011 ROOTS Festival

This weekend the 2011 ROOTS Festival comes to the Highway to Nowhere in West Baltimore, and we are leading neighborhood walking tours as part of it. Please join us if you can. The festival is a series of music, arts and community events, some outdoor and some indoor, starting at Franklin and North Gilmor Streets (just west of Martin Luther King Boulevard). As part of our continuing work with the Friends of West Baltimore Squares partnership, we’ll be at the festival both Saturday & Sunday, June 25-26, sharing information on upcoming programs and offering a series of West Baltimore Walks through the historic parks and innovative new gardens to the north and south of the Highway to Nowhere.

Baltimore Heritage at the Alternate ROOTS Festival

Saturday & Sunday, June 25-26
West Baltimore Walks at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm
FREE!
RSVP today!

Meet at the corner of Franklin and Carey Streets at the festival.

The one-hour walking tours, led by Baltimore Heritage’s Eli Pousson, start from the “Community Bridge” at the corner of Franklin & Carey Streets. They will go through Harlem Park & Lafayette Square exploring schoolyard gardens and soaring historic churches, and through Franklin Square & Union Square stopping by the H.L. Mencken House and innovative vacant lot projects on Brice and Carey Streets.

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