A breach of public trust. This is at the heart of yesterday’s demolition of two 1840s stone houses in Woodberry. We are shocked and angry to see the loss of these two buildings—and anxious to protect Woodberry’s historic buildings from more demolition.
Over the past year, Woodberry residents, City Councilman Leon Pinkett, and preservation organizations, including Baltimore Heritage and Preservation Maryland, rallied to protest initial plans for demolition, attended meetings, offered comments, and worked with the development team on a proposal to incorporate elements of the existing Clipper Road buildings into a proposed new apartment building. The developers presented this revised plan at a community meeting last fall and again in January 2019 at a public hearing before the city planning department’s Urban Design and Architectural Advisory Panel. Baltimore Heritage along with the community association, Councilman Pinkett, and others supported this compromise.
Then, yesterday morning, both stone houses were demolished without warning. After hearing the news, the architectural firm for the project, PI.KL Studio, resigned. The development partner, Mr. Christopher Mfume at CLD Partners, at first defended the demolitions then late yesterday announced that he had also left the project. The Baltimore Sun reported that the owner of the site, Woodberry Station LLC, and its resident agent Katherine Jennings could not be reached for comment.
We don’t want to see another loss like this one in Woodberry. We hope the neighborhood will seriously consider renewing efforts to work with the city Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) and become a designated local historic district. Proposals to demolish or alter historic buildings within CHAP districts require review by CHAP staff and, often, the full CHAP commission. Most importantly, city law requires that these reviews take place before a demolition permit can be issued. Woodberry has considered becoming a CHAP district in the past, and Baltimore Heritage stands ready to assist if the neighborhood’s residents want to consider doing so again.
You may have seen the news in the Baltimore Brew or the Baltimore Fishbowl—a local developer is seeking to demolish two of Woodberry's early nineteenth century mill workers' houses to make way for a new apartment building known as Woodberry Station Apartments. This is just one of several major changes under consideration for the neighborhood. The new owners of Clipper Mill are considering a major development for the Tractor Building—a WWI-era machine shop that has housed a parking lot for the last several years.
Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance chair Nathan Dennies will tell the story of the rise, eventual fall, and recent revitalization of this important site of Baltimore industry on a tour of Woodberry. The tour will stop in local businesses representing present day manufacturing in the neighborhood.
Local photographer Denny Lynch and the Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance invite you to bring your photographs, artifacts, and memories to an evening’s discussion concerning the Hampden-Woodberry neighborhood. This is a great opportunity to remember and share what it was like to live, work and go to school in one of America’s most intact urban mill villages. Celebrate the history and culture of this fascinating Baltimore community.
Founded in 1931 as the Society for the Preservation of Maryland Antiquities, Preservation Maryland is dedicated to preserving Maryland’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archaeological sites through outreach, funding, and advocacy. Last year, Preservation Maryland moved from their long-time home at the Old St. Paul’s Rectory to new handsome and historic offices at Meadow Mill in Woodberry.
Please join Preservation Maryland staff including new Executive Director Nicholas Redding for an open house to learn more about preservation in Maryland. Nicholas Redding is the Executive Director of Preservation Maryland. Before joining the staff he was the Executive Director of Long Branch Plantation where he successfully revitalized the organization while realizing an ambitious strategic plan for the historic house and working farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. He also served as the Deputy Director for Advocacy at the Civil War Trust, America’s largest non-profit battlefield preservation organization.