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.

St. John’s Has Left the Building: Congregation Puts Church Up For Sale

Mary Valle writing for the Baltimore Fishbowl shared a thoughtful reflection on St. John’s Mt. Washington Episcopal Church and their decision to put their 1928 Romanesque Revival church on the market for $1.8 million. St. John’s Has Left the Building: Congregation Puts Church Up For Sale:

Like many congregations, St. John’s was faced with a gigantic, resource-eating building that swallowed more of its endowment every year. Senior Warden (that’s like being the chair of a board of directors) Sara Fawcett-Lee said that, when she took the job seven years ago, the outgoing Warden told her that the church was going to have to be sold. The vestry (which is like a nonprofit board: members are nominated and elected, serve specific terms and follow bylaws) decided to offer the building for rent, and when no renters came, put it up for sale.