On Wednesday, July 23, over 70 preservation professionals gathered at McDaniel College in Westminster for Preservation Summer School, a one-day, one-topic conference. The title of this year’s event was “Uncovering the Untold Stories,” and the sessions built on many of the great lessons we learned at last year’s conference “Marketing Preservation to a Broader Audience.” Last year’s speakers focused on how to craft the story of your organization to attract new audiences and this year we focused on how organizations can discover and share the stories of under-represented groups at their historic sites and in their historic communities.
Did you know that as of 2004 only 3% of the 77,000 properties on the National Register of Historic Sites represent African American, Hispanic and Asian American heritage? Another 3-4% of sites are named for women, and today, only about 25 sites focus on the history of the LGBTQ community. There should not be these huge disparities in whose stories are being told through preservation efforts. All people should be able to see themselves and their ancestors in the sites we preserve and the stories we tell.
This year’s Preservation Summer School was focused on showing people how to bring those stories to light. In the morning session, “Preservation of What and for Whom?,” Shelley Stokes-Hammond from Howard University shared her experiences researching the civil rights history of the Shaker Heights neighborhood of Cleveland where she grew up. Although these civil rights struggles had a significant impact on this neighborhood and were important on a national level, the struggles are not once mentioned in the National Register nomination for the area. Rico Newman, executive director of the Maryland Indian Tourism Association, shared about the negative impacts of marginalizing a community’s history and how he is bringing to the light the history of the Piscataway people in southern Maryland. Page Harrington, executive director of the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum in Washington, DC, explained the history of this women’s suffrage site and how the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites is drawing more attention to women’s role throughout history.
One of the best ways to discover and share stories is through partnerships. In the afternoon, Mark Meinke from the Rainbow History Project, Jenny Masur from the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom and Clay Washington from the Kennard High School Alumni Association shared how they have partnered with traditional and non-traditional history organizations to share their stories and promote their preservation efforts. Once you uncover the stories and form the partnerships, the question becomes how do you get the word out to people in your community and across the state. Sarah Heffern from the National Trust for Historic Preservation showed participants how they can use social media to get the word out to all different kinds of audiences.
In addition to all these great sessions, participants had plenty of time to network with colleagues and make new friends. If you missed this year’s Preservation Summer School , be sure to check our website in the early spring for details about next summer’s conference.
July News Round-up
Anne Arundel County
MD State House restoration to be complete in December– NBC Washington 7-14-14
Preservationists, child advocates take up issue of lead-paint windows – Baltimore Brew 7-15-14
Baltimore City Council passes tax credits for apartment developers – Baltimore Sun 7-17-14
Resident unearths forgotten historic site in Catonsville– Baltimore Sun 7-7-14
Sykesville designated as 2014 National Main Street – Baltimore Sun 7-14-14
Perryville to pursue “Main Street Maryland” designation– Cecil Daily 7-23-14
Garrett heritage projects funded– Cumberland Times-News 7-15-14
Havre de Grace get $92,000 grant to extend its Promenade– Baltimore Sun 7-19-14
Historic District in Chestertown okays bank signs– My Eastern Shore MD 7-7-14
St. Mary’s County
Lighthouses still a draw in Southern Maryland – My Eastern Shore MD 7-25-14
Historic MD church built in 1773 is ravaged by fire – The Daily Mail 7-22-14
The case for preservation, not just demolition, in Detroit’s war on blight – Model D Media 7-8-14
June News Round-up
Anne Arundel County
MHT accepting tax credit applications for historic commercial properties – The Star Democrat 6-14
Kevin Plank’s Recreation Peir plans move forward – Baltimore Sun 6-9-14
UMB seeks to redevelop historic site – University of Maryland News 6-12-14
Reisterstown named a sustainable community– Carroll County Times 6-25-14
Sykesville receives Community Legacy Grant from Maryland – Carroll County Times 6-17-14
New Maryland program has revitalization element – My Eastern Shore MD 6-21-14
New Maryland program has revitalization element – My Eastern Shore MD 6-21-14
Heart of Chesapeake Heritage Awards – My Eastern Shore MD 6-21-14
America’s 11 most endangered historic places – Time 6-23-14
DEADLINE FAST APPROACHING: Help Save an Endangered Schoolhouse in Maryland!
Can you provide a good home to a charming one-room brick schoolhouse? The Locust Grove School in Rohrersville cannot stay in its current location. Preservation Maryland and the property owner need your help to find a new steward for this schoolhouse. A demolition permit has been issued for June 1, 2014. We need a plan to preserve the building before the end of the month or it will be lost.
Many one-room schoolhouses became obsolete in the first half of the 20th century and over the past 100 years many of these buildings have been abandoned and then demolished. The Locust Grove School still stands today because it has been cared for over the past 35 years by a family who believed it was their responsibility to help preserve this piece of Maryland’s history. The family can no longer care for the building and wants to give it away to an organization or individual who can find a use for this one story, brick-over-stone foundation structure. The new owner will need to move the building to a new location and make repairs to an exterior wall that started to collapse but has been stabilized. The roof on the schoolhouse is in good condition and was replaced within the last ten years. The current owners researched the cost of moving and repairing the building and are happy to share that information with interested parties.
Are you looking for a charming little building to adaptively reuse? Do you know of a historic village complex that needs a one-room schoolhouse to teach children about life in the 19th century? Does your community need a gathering place? If you could use the Locust Grove School in any of these ways or have a different idea for repurposing the building, please contact Margaret De Arcangelis today. We need to work together now to find a new location for this historic little schoolhouse or else it will be demolished.
April News Round Up
Walters Art Museum to renovate Hackerman House – AFANEWS.com 4-7-14
Crittenton mansion exterior renovations approved by city’s preservation board – The Baltimore Sun 4-9-1 Patterson Park cannons dated to 17th, 18th centuries – The Baltimore Sun 4-27-14
St. Stephen’s congregation rallies to repair historic window in time for Easter – CecilDaily.com 4-18-14
Native American house grand opening set for April 27– MyEasternShoreMD.com 4-24-14
Battle of Caulk’s Field bicentennial planned – The Star 4-15-14
Circa 1920 Crisfield-built buyboat Winnie Estelle joins Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s floating fleet – Maryland NewsZap 4-5-14
Why Gathland Park is at Gapland – Herald Mail Media 4-27-14
8 Strategies for Building a Sustainable Preservation Movement – Huffington Post 4-3-14
Public gets look at future plans for Canal Place Heritage Area– Cumberland Times-News 3-26-14
Washington Monument restoration changes atmosphere of Mount Vernon neighborhood – The Baltimore Sun 3-24-14
The historic Lord Baltimore Hotel restores its prominence as a Baltimore landmark – Travel Daily News 3-26-14
Historic District Commission hears plans for Sultana center – MyEasternShoreMD 3-10-14
Queen Anne’s County
Historical society shares history of former Gov. Samuel Stevens – MyEasternShoreMD 3-19-14
6 Practical Reasons to Save Old Buildings –Preservation Nation 03-10-14
The winter weather this season has brought us more than just snow and frosty temperatures, it’s the perpetrator of bursting pipes and miserable conditions for old structures everywhere. Rarely have I heard of more situations where historic buildings – and their owners – were facing crisis after crisis from the plunging temperatures. Usually a more moderate climate, old houses here are likely to have been built with uninsulated pipes located in exterior walls, crawl spaces and attics, leaving them more vulnerable to these very cold spells of late. In the north, houses are almost always built with the pipes on the interior of the structure in anticipation of these temperatures. Well-built though these structures may be, their plumbing is no match for what Mother Nature can deliver.
I’ve been fielding questions about replacing plaster ceilings and exterior pipes freezing, even sprinkler systems that have frozen and then exploded rendering the interiors a soppy swollen mess. So I thought I would pass along a few suggestions on how to prevent this from happening to you. First, make sure you have enough heating oil or propane in your tank, especially if you plan to be away. It sounds rudimentary I know, but it is often overlooked. It’s a new ballgame with record lows, and unless you’re on auto fill from the fuel company, it’s easier than ever to unexpectedly run out. If you’ll be traveling, have someone stop in each day to ensure everything is ship shape. One of the worst situations I saw this winter occurred when a house was vacant and an opening was left cracked. When the arctic freeze landed and temperatures plummeted to record lows, the heating oil ran out very quickly; the sprinkler system froze and when it thawed, went off and soaked the house unchecked for days until passersby saw water streaming out from under the front door! Gives you chills doesn’t it? In situations as dire as this, the old wooden floors could potentially swell so badly that their expansion impacts the masonry walls, not a situation any of us want to face.
Uninsulated and antiquated pipes typically leading to bathrooms (and kitchens), are very real culprits for freezing and bursting, almost always involving damaged ceilings and destruction to what lies beneath. Once this happens and you have to address the problem, there’s really no point in re-plastering a ceiling that lies below pipes. A purist though I am, I’m also pragmatic and bathroom plumbing can present problems at any time of the year. My recommendation is usually to dry wall these ceilings, regardless if the remaining walls in the room are plaster. This works especially well if there is crown molding in the room which separates the two materials nicely and you brush the ceiling paint giving it a little texture once it’s applied. Few will know the difference, and you will be in a much better position for managing these problems as they occur, and reoccur as the case may be! When in doubt, leave a faucet on a slow drip to help prevent freezing overnight. It prevents ice from forming and expanding inside the pipe.
This spring would be a perfect time to reassess the plumbing in your house and get an idea of just where your potential trouble spots may lie. If you can, check for deterioration, insulate the pipes (or relocate) and the space if possible. You can install heaters in vulnerable areas to help prevent freezing issues as well. On another note, it never hurts to drain the water supply to your exterior spigots and cover them with insulators from the hardware store. That way the water in them won’t freeze and burst in your basement. Last but not least, remember that while mitigation companies provide much needed relief, they are not often in tune to historic materials and how to address them. Do your homework and make sure you know what they plan to do and how quickly. It wouldn’t hurt to call in your friendly neighborhood historic building expert to advise you on assessing the damage and determining next steps for treating the historic fabric. The good news is that spring is almost here. Good luck and stay warm!